This “Discover Coaching” series was designed to consolidate my thoughts, experience and knowledge around coaching and present it in an accessible format for anyone who’s interested in moving into the coaching profession, introducing a coaching-culture in their organisation or simply becoming more coach-like within their everyday life. The idea was formulated after receiving several emails over the last few years which usually follow the format below:
I hope you don’t mind me getting in touch, but I was wondering if I might be able to ask for some advice? I’m thinking of gaining a coaching qualification and given your experience, I would be grateful for any thoughts/ideas you might have whenever you have a spare moment.”
Following on from my initial post that worked through my response to the question “What’s your personal coaching journey?”. This week I turn my attention to coaching resources that could provide a starting point to dig further into the details.
What coaching resources would you recommend?
If you type “coaching” into Google over 381,000,000 results appear in 0.76 seconds and I suspect this number has increased substantially since I wrote this post at the end of December 2017. This seemingly endless list of information can be a challenge to wade through and ultimately creates more confusion. I've used each resource below at some point to develop my coaching knowledge and skills; this article focuses on professional associations and websites, then looking ahead in a couple of weeks time I'll focus on books, articles, TED Talks and podcasts.
In the last twenty years, the emergence of coaching is illustrated by the emergence of different associations designed to develop the profession, support its members and ensure high quality services are delivered through the implementation of ethical guidelines, codes of conduct, accredited courses and continuous professional development opportunities.
There are currently three main coaching professional associations within the Western world: the International Coach Federation (ICF), Association for Coaching (AC) and the European Mentoring, Coaching and Counselling Council (EMCC); then a host of more regional based associations. The business community is becoming more au fait with these professional associations; observed through recent British coaching contracts that stipulate coaches must have professional accreditation, work regularly with a supervisor and demonstrate regular coaching practice through a specific number of logged hours.
In line with any profession, I’d recommend joining one of these organisations to support the development of your coaching knowledge and have the opportunity to engage with other coaches. If you’re medical professional within the UK you’re expected to be a member of the British Medical Association, likewise an engineer would be registered with the Engineering Council, or an HR specialist the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
Professional Coach Thomas Leonard established the ICF in 1995 as a non-profit organisation for fellow coaches to support each other and grow the profession. This organisation has grown from its original American roots and now has chapters across the globe and is largest global coaching association with over 20,000 credentialed members as of 2016.
The website was recently re-vamped towards the end of 2017 and offers a wide range of resources including code of conduct, ethical guidelines, coach search facilities, research carried out in partnership with PwC and blogs. There are also ten dedicated Communities of Practice (COP) that offer quarterly webinars and access to a LinkedIn community to connect with likeminded coaches, share resources and advice (note: membership is currently not required to access these webinars).
I’ve always been an active member of the ICF; initially due to working in Abu Dhabi, then Australia during my coach training, so I wasn’t really aware of alternate options, namely the AC or EMCC. Over the last seven years I’ve been involved in establishing the inaugural Dubai and Saudi Arabia regional chapters of the ICF and currently hold a co-leader role for the Executive and Leadership COP. I enjoy being involved in a wider global coaching community that reaches beyond national boundaries; I believe exposure to different cultures widens my coaching expertise and the increase in virtual coaching opens different opportunities.
The AC was established in 2002 and is a leading independent and not-for-profit professional body dedicated to promoting best practice and raising awareness and standards of coaching worldwide. It has members in over 60 countries; it is made up of professional coaches, academic institutions, trainers and providers of coaching, as well as sponsors of coaching from the third sector through to large corporates, building coaching cultures.
This association started life as the European Mentoring Centre (EMC) in 1992 and morphed into the EMCC under the tutelage of David Clutterbuck, David Megginson, Julie Hay, Eric Parsloe and Sir John Whitmore. The unsurprisingly euro-centric EMCC focuses on the three strands of Research (mentoring, the coaching process and the coaching context), Quality and Accreditation.
I’ve also stumbled across the following associations though haven’t dived too deeply into them yet:
OTHER COACHING RELATED WEBSITES
This network (as opposed to professional association) originated as an online annual global event with a series of webinars every June. Over the last five years WBECS has established itself as a solid presence on the global coaching scene through the hard work of Ben Croft and his team. Each year a specific coach and methodology is avidly championed; for example, Judith Glaser and Conversational Intelligence, Lisa Ann Edwards and Return On Investment (ROI), Dr. David Drake and Narrative Coaching, and I’m sure another concept will be promoted via email next year. The WBECS’ business model appears to operate on an initial free taster webinar with outline content; then the option to join a more in-depth webinar series or course. I’ve dipped into several free sessions; though haven’t invested further based on my decision to focus on face to face coach training.
The ICF peer coaching programme runs through this platform though non-ICF members can gain access. Every year for the last seven years I’ve taken part in round and been partnered with coaches and clients in China, Canada, America, Belgium and the UK. Both coach and client conversations have ranged across the work/life divide to focus on business development projects, family relationships, career transition, confidence and courage. I can honestly vouch every respective coach and client experience has supported the ongoing development of my coaching skills and knowledge; though I understand from conversations with other coaches their experiences have been more varied and reflects the wide variety of abilities within the coaching profession.
Hands up, I’ll admit it was initially a challenge for me to overcome the “Life” label. Nuances aside; this directory repeatedly pops up at the top of the Google search engine in the UK. After speaking to a wide range of coaches, the common consensus was the £15 monthly membership fee is definitely worth the investment.
This platform offers marketing for executive, leadership, performance, career coaches and coach supervisors. There are strict joining criteria based on professional association membership, qualifications, professional indemnity and public liability coaching related insurance, regular supervision and reference checks. I’m planning on joining this directory during 2018 to support my future business development plans.
What’s your top recommended online coaching resource that’s supported your coaching development? It would be really interesting to know, so please share your ideas and comment below.
In my next post in the “Discover Coaching” series I’ll continue to share resources that have shaped my professional development with my favourite coaching related TED Talks, articles, books and podcasts.
Thanks for taking an interest and reading through my journey into the coaching world; I’d be interested to hear your personal coaching story. If you know anyone who’s interested in discovering more about coaching; either to support their current role, or move into the coaching profession longer term I’d be grateful if you would share this post.