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Clare Kirk is a participant on the Practitioner Diploma in Executive Coaching and has kindly shared with us how her learning journey with the AoEC started and how she sees it helping her current role in Learning & Development.
What brought you into coaching?
I’ve worked in learning and development for many years and latterly my role has focused more on organisational, leadership and management development. I was looking at ways to improve my own coaching skills and add value to my role by improving the conversations that I have across the organisation, with my stakeholders, customers and colleagues. I also work with external coaches so it was helpful to my role to be able to set up the conversations between the line manager, coachee and coach, to provide clarity and ensure we can achieve the best value from all our coaching relationships.
I was introduced to the AoEC through their corporate programme and also members of our Executive Board embarked on some team coaching with the AoEC so I knew a bit about the approach and the model that was used for this.
What research did you do to select a coach training company?
Although I was aware of the AoEC I still undertook extensive research into alternative options for my own coach training but these were discounted for various reasons. My main objectives for selecting a coach training company were:
- Accreditation: to ensure the company was accredited by the EMCC (European Mentoring & Coaching Council) and the ICF (International Coach Federation) as these are our minimum requirements for external coaches. Also for personal reasons it’s good to hold a recognised qualification after completing the coach training, as feel it adds credibility to your own coaching skills and practice.
- Approach: to ensure they had a structured approach to identifying and developing your own coaching model and framework.
Is the AoEC delivering on your initial objectives?
My initial conversations with the AoEC proved how accessible and flexible they are as the conversations and support I received in helping me choose the right programme was great. I also wanted to have the option to build on and broaden my coaching skills with further programmes and the Advanced Practitioner Diploma maybe ticks that box for the future. I am aware that a number of people on my program started their journey into coaching via the 2-day Executive Coaching Certificate but after discussing this with the operations team at the AoEC, I felt it wasn’t necessary as I had already experienced coaching skills training and completed another practitioner programme prior to this.
I enrolled on the Practitioner Diploma in March and after two modules I can feel the difference already when working through the coaching practice, delving deeper into coaching conversations or selecting the most suitable external coach to work with a member of my organisation. I would say approximately 80% of my peer group on the programme are individuals looking to set up their own external coaching practice and they include professional people from a variety of business backgrounds which adds to the peer learning and enriching experience. The modules so far allocate a large proportion of the time to developing your coaching skills and you are immersed in this which has been very helpful in setting up those all-important coaching conversations.
What advice or tips would you give someone who is looking for a coach training company?
Firstly ask yourself ‘Why do I want to improve my coaching skills?’ Then look for a company that fits your objectives and approach the learning with the right perspective so you can position the program in the best way for you.
If, like me, you are looking to improve your skills, as it’s a key part of your role, then look for a coach training company that offer lots of coaching practice experiences to help boost your learning and confidence when you sit in front of your coachee. Also it is important to have the option to develop yourself further and build up your coaching hours outside of the programme, so important to look for a company that recommends working with clients as part of the programme and offers stepping stones to increase your professional development.
A big thanks to Clare for sharing her story.
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