Practitioner Diploma / “The triple accreditation was a definite factor in choosing AoEC”

23rd January by Lee Robertson

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Jon Palmstrom is now certified a career and leadership coach having worked for leading organisations in the financial services and technology industry for 15 years. Now running his own successful coaching practice, Jon talks about his personal journey and experience of the AoEC’s Practitioner Diploma in Executive Coaching.  

Your come from a stellar background in the financial services and technology sectors with senior recruitment roles at J.P. Morgan and Capco. Who or what introduced you to coaching and led to you signing up for coach training with the AoEC?

I was aware of coaching as a concept to improve performance in sport but it was only working at a management consultancy where I experienced actual professional coaching.

I had a period of self-reflection whilst on paternity leave where I looked into how I could make big changes to my life and career, and coaching emerged as a profession I was drawn to. This led to me signing up to do the Practitioner Diploma.

What were some of the positives and challenges you experienced while doing the diploma?

The positives were being thrown into an environment where you meet brand new people, learn brand new skills, and are challenged to leave your comfort zone. The rate of learning was rapid because you were encouraged to leave your comfort zone.

The biggest challenges were probably around dedicating the time, alongside a demanding day job and family life, to think deeply and learn more about yourself and the expansive world of coaching. As is often the way – I found ways to create more time or get support so I could carry out what was necessary for the course.

What is your top advice to others considering coach training?

Do research around what you want to get from a programme, and, to use a cliche “Just Do It!”; it is highly unlikely you will regret challenging yourself to better yourself.

The ability to coach effectively has a huge impact on both individuals and teams/groups. Not just by being as a coach but also as a leader, or team member.

Looking back at doing your diploma, what has been its lasting impact on you as a person and you as a coach?

The Diploma equipped me with both the fundamental skills and confidence to change my whole career path, to a route that I consciously designed with coaching a core part of this.

The bonds I made from the group I trained with are strong. I still share ideas, support, collaboration and friendship with people I trained with.

Can you tell us more about your personal coaching model and how this has evolved since doing the diploma?

My coaching model evolved from my love of the mountains and winter sports.

I explored the concept of taking people on an “Off-Piste” journey, to create fresh tracks nobody had taken before. The feeling of gravity taking you down a steep slope, to reach a destination has parallels to the journey we go on in our lives.

This sense of joy and adventure has remained, but with experience I am now more conscious of the type of coaching and the type of aspirations and challenges I want to support people with.

I am inspired to help people create space to design a life and career they REALLY want, whilst providing all that comes with coaching to help them take ownership of their journey and make real life change.

The Practitioner Diploma is triple-accredited with the Association for Coaching, EMCC and ICF. How important has accreditation with one of the industry’s professional bodies been to you personally?

I did a huge amount of research when looking into coach training programmes and the triple accreditation was a definite factor in choosing AoEC.

Establishing professional credibility has always been important for me personally, to be able to serve my clients effectively but also from a commercial perspective.

Being affiliated with the ICF has been a constant for me as a professional coach and the continued mentoring and supervision keep me the journey to be the best coach I can be.

You now work as an executive coach and set up your own practice Off-Piste Coaching in 2021; can you tell us about the type of clients you are working with?

Generally, I work with successful professionals coming from banking/finance and the tech space, as this is a world, I spent 15 years in.

One of the great aspects of coaching is the variety of people you can work with, so I also support people studying MBAs at top business schools and people on the path to be chief product officers in the start-up space.

What are some of the issues and opportunities you coach people around?

Often people want support around big career topics from moving jobs, making a big career change, being a better leader or going for promotion.

Once you get under the surface of the initial tangible change other deeper topics emerge e.g. The idea of balance. Successful career so far, busy family and social life…how can we balance it all?

I am also seeing more people who want to explore their purpose in their life and career as they look to take steps to be happier so they can achieve more. With this work people are able to make what they see as more impact in their lives and careers.

How are you measuring the effectiveness of your coaching?

  1. Checking in with my clients regularly to ensure they are focused on what is most important to them, even if goals change through the coaching process
  2. Asking clients for feedback at the conclusion of a coaching engagement
  3. Ensuring I have regular supervision and mentoring (including recorded assessment / observation) to ensure I keep working to be the best coach I can be for my clients
  4. Checking in with myself to raise self-awareness of development areas

Whilst respecting confidentiality, can you tell us about a coaching situation that has had an impact on you?

I recently finished working with a client working as a senior technologist who initially wanted to explore a change of job.

As we worked together she clarified what were the most important elements in her life and career. She used her unique skills to create a blueprint for the life and career she wanted.

As a result, she stayed in her current company but developed the confidence to ask for (and get) a pay rise plus a promotion to chief product officer. She also devised a clear plan for another business she is growing.

This success resonated with me as it mirrored elements of the experience I have had in crafting the life and career I have worked towards.

What do you find most rewarding about your work as a coach?

There’s lots I could say here!

Helping people focus on what is REALLY important beneath the “busyness” of day-to-day life.

Seeing people realise there is always more they can influence than they realise.

Seeing people make tangible changes that they feel good about.

Partnering with people so they can press pause, escape the day to day and focus on what is REALLY important for them so they are ultimately happier.

Having autonomy of over the type of work I do.

Our deepest thanks to Jon sharing his personal journey of coach training with the AoEC.