How to Commit to Ongoing Professional Development as a Coach
Your own personal and professional development is a key part of the coaching experience you give to your clients.
Participating in discussion on coaching or on topics related to our niche enables us to stay current on trends and new developments that can benefit our clients. Involvement can also give us a sense of certainty about our ability to provide value for our clients.
By expanding our own knowledge, we can provide greater insights for our clients. Coaching is not simply asking questions; it’s also sharing insights and ideas, and brainstorming with them.
And by committing to receiving feedback and acting on it, we demonstrate the humility and openness that serves our clients.
How to ensure you’re professionally growing as a coach in 5 steps
1. Advance your knowledge and experience in the profession
We are the sum of our experiences. The more we can expand our experiences, and expose ourselves to new and unfamiliar experiences, the more we benefit.
We develop more behavioural flexibility.
We become more diverse in our thinking.
We become more open-minded.
We learn greater tolerance for others and their views.
We become curious about differences in others.
We have more skills to draw upon.
We have more flexibility with the language we use in our coaching.
And this list isn’t complete. Successful coaches aim to be the best students they can be. No matter what their experience in coaching, they know it’s important to stay curious, open, inquiring and attentive all the time.
2. Consistently stay abreast of the coaching market, trends and developments
Like all professions, it’s upon us to stay current with knowledge and skills in our chosen field.
What we learned years ago at school isn’t enough for today. What we learned years ago in a coaching class isn’t enough for tomorrow.
Are you reading the current books on mentoring, leadership and coaching? Are you across the basic Meta Dynamics ™ model also known as the Critical Alignment Model (E.S.I.P)?
Are you reading current coaching journals and magazines? Are you contributing to them?
As we get more familiar and comfortable with the ideas, we can take in different areas of information and hear information we’ve heard before, but differently. We hear/see different distinctions. We hear/see new insights.
3. Share what you learn with your clients
Teaching is the best form of learning. If coaching is to assist clients to create the transformation they seek, then it’s upon us to demonstrate the qualities which achieve this.
Include reading materials, recommend courses to your clients and give them books and articles that you’re reading and that may be of interest to them.
There is sometimes an attitude amongst some coaches that the information we have is to be “hoarded” and kept so the client is reliant upon us.
Successful coaches do the exact opposite of that.
They want their clients to know what they know, if it is going to help them with what they want to achieve.
They are very generous with sharing their knowledge and where clients can find more answers. As coaches, our goal is to empower client to find their own path, and not to have them depend on us too much.
This way, clients can take 100% responsibility for what happens and for their results.
4. Come from a place of curiosity
When we feel certain, it is easy to assume we’re right. When we haven’t re-examined something in a while (like a belief) to assume it’s right and doesn’t need re-examination.
Sometimes we can defend the status quo because the challenge is too “harsh” or difficult.
But clients are seeking to work with someone who is open, curious and willing to learn on the go.
Let’s flip it for a second: Would you want to work with a coach who is shut down to feedback and unwilling to change their set beliefs? Not likely, right?
Before serving others, we should endeavour to be our own ideal coaches.
5. Willingly receive and accept feedback
Let’s face it – not everyone is meant to be a coach. You can learn to be a coach, do a course in coaching but it’s a different ball game to be a coach who can be there for a client and facilitate change.
The person who blocks feedback is blocking learning and is blocking the world around them. The rigidity is exhausting to maintain, and leaves little room for the client who may come along.
Arrogance blocks growth and connection. It blocks rapport (another important ingredient in coaching sessions). It also blocks progress.
If we’re too focused on the need to be validated, we are too focused on ourselves. Effective coaching is about the client, and not the coach. Our goal should be to get ourselves out of the equation and welcome all types of feedback.
Successful coaches are open to feedback, act on it immediately, adjust as needed and then integrate the new behaviour into their being.
They have fun with it, and make it look easy.
They go way beyond just acting on the feedback – they make it a joy so clients can model that behaviour and join in too.
Gracefully accepting feedback not only allows you to conduct effective coaching sessions, but also sets a standard of excellence that others admire and are attracted to.