Empowering coaches globally: inside AoEC’s transformative methodology

20th May by Lee Robertson

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Just what exactly is it that makes people want to train on the AoEC’s popular Practitioner Diploma in Executive Coaching? Is it the triple accreditation with the industry’s three main professional bodies, its reputation for being hugely practical with its experiential learning design, or is it something else that resonates with people from all walks of life?

A groundbreaking foundation

When AoEC started in 1999 it was founded on the idea of bridging psychology with business concepts which was groundbreaking for the time. It was also built on something more radical and pioneering – enabling aspiring coaches to build their own personal coaching model. Twenty-five years later, AoEC has trained 15,000 people in 100 countries, by staying committed to promoting that individuality, diversity of thought and authenticity.

Focus on self-development

AoEC’s executive coach training diplomas are all underlined by the participants doing a vast amount of self-development in pursuit of becoming the best coach they can be.

The Practitioner Diploma in Executive Coaching offers a comprehensive level of coach training which begins by inviting prospective coaches to ask themselves ‘Who am I?’ and ‘How do I coach?’’. These are deep and profound questions to answer, and by introspecting their own identities and coaching styles, participants gain invaluable insights that shape their unique approach to coaching.

The impact for many participants is described as transformational, even life changing because the coach training is actively empowering them to do their best thinking. It offers a dynamic learning opportunity that accommodates people from a surprising diversity of backgrounds, but the outcome is usually the same in that it provides them with an experience that resonates with their purpose, individuality and goals.

Creating a personal and unique coaching model

In AoEC’s coach training the result is not just concentrated on demonstrating that you work within the professional competencies set by the Association for Coaching, EMCC Global and the ICF. Crucially, it is also focused on constructing a coaching model that embodies the essence of who the coach is and what they represent.

As Lucy Russell discovered: “I found the creation of a unique coaching model one of the most fascinating aspects of the diploma; it perfectly reflects the fact that, as we are all different individuals, we naturally coach differently.”

On the Practitioner Diploma, participants are exposed to a carefully curated selection of different coaching models, theories, tools and techniques and these form the framework of an individual’s coaching model. Instead of sticking rigidly to existing frameworks, participants are encouraged to blend their learnings from various models and select elements that resonate with them. In addition, the process of creating a coaching model also embraces the values, principles, beliefs, interests, firsthand experiences and passions held close by the coach.

Graduate Nora Hutson reflected: “Devising one’s own model was very daunting to begin with. Mine developed mainly from Co-active Coaching, but I had a lot of influences. As a (now rather rusty!) salsa dancer, I saw a dance metaphor in coaching. In a partnered free dance, if you have learned the steps, you can follow the lead without knowing a routine. The lead (the client) is in control but you are an integral part of the relationship: without you there is no dance and together you make up so much more than the sum of your parts.”

Adapting and evolving coaching styles

Some new coaches choose early on to remain faithful to the coaching models that served them best during training, but this can become inhibitive. As experience and confidence grows, models flex and evolve naturally to reflect personal growth and newfound insights.

Speaking of her own coach training Helen Tuddenham explained: “When I started, the thing I hung onto a lot as a new coach was the GROW model. I had come across it before at work, and it made logical sense to me. I am quite a structured person, and I found it helpful. It worked well for a while, and then I got to the point where I focused too much on the model rather than trusting the process. So, now I try not to pre-empt what will happen too much in a session.”

Fellow alumni Steve Goldstein emphasised: “The diploma introduced me to many methods and like many coaches, you usually start with the GROW model because it gives you a nice easy roadmap into it. But it also introduced me to Gestalt which was the direction I went in. Part of the reason of going in the Gestalt direction was that I was using GROW for three or four years and I was struggling with it. It didn’t gel with me, so I studied other methods like Gestalt and that has been my style since.”

Emily Gale highlighted the importance of studying multiple coaching methods to ensure you can flex your coaching muscle: “When I first started, I think it was more prescriptive as a coach as I was sticking to the principles of my coaching model which is the GROW model with elements of OSKAR and Co-Active. As I take on more clients, they don’t always have a goal and want to work on finding one, so it has meant my coaching model has become more flexible.”

If you are considering coach training, remember that a coaching model is more than just a theoretical construct and is very much part of you and your professional identity. It is that clarity of identity that will set you apart in the market and truly allow you to bring your whole self to work.