Coaching & qualifications…ranty blog!!

30th April 2019

It’s not often I get angry….although maybe my family would tell you different?! It does USUALLY take a lot to really rattle me. But last week I was well and truly rattled – well more specifically irritated and yep, pretty angry…it was all happening!!!

Someone in a group that I’m part of commented that ‘you don’t need any qualifications to be a coach…I have over 30 years business experience and none of my clients have ever asked me if I’m qualified or not.’

Now that I’m rational (and over it!!!) I can totally see that qualifications aren’t the be all and end all if you’re coaching….but it does seem to me that I have a duty of care to my clients to ‘hone my craft’ and to ensure that I am ‘fit for purpose’? No?

I too have never had a client ask me about my qualifications – maybe they should – but I do take my profession seriously and feel duty bound to acquire the knowledge and skills that I need to be the best that I can be for my clients! We don’t usually ask our doctor if they’re qualified…but we know that someone somewhere has deemed that they are fit to practice??

Just because I have 50 odd years of ‘life experience’ does that qualify me to call myself a ‘life coach’? Absolutely not!! Granted I’d like to think I have some wisdom that I COULD impart…but that’s not enough. I think unfortunate comments like the one I’ve mentioned above do such a disservice to what coaching actually is;

  • Coaching is NOT about imparting wisdom and advice – it’s about working WITH another and helping them to find their own way
  • Coaching is not about assuming that “I know best as a coach.” It’s a way of working that assumes “the client knows best” and is about helping them to find their way, not me imposing mine
  • Coaching is very personal work and often shines a light on a range of deeply private and personal issues that are keeping people stuck.

Above all coaching is about personal development – it’s about them; their points of view; their patterns and their ways of being in the world. My role as a coach is to help people explore these aspects of themselves, so that they can make conscious choices about what to do next.

My own ongoing professional development and qualifications have enabled me to develop my knowledge of;

  • How people develop psychologically and what makes us tick
  • The psychological patterns and issues that can create problems and keep us stuck
  • How people interact and communicate with each other and what can be done to build more effective relationships
  • How to support people’s mental health and wellbeing in a way that is both supportive and enabling.

Without this grounding, I don’t think I would be able to provide the safe, holding pair of hands that I need to be with my clients. I wouldn’t feel equipped to sit with the tough stuff that can emerge unexpectedly. I wouldn’t be able to acknowledge the parallel patterns that emerge between me and my clients, that probably reflect what happens ‘out there’ in their world.

So, maybe more clients should check our credentials? Definitely!

I know so many great coaches out there who work hard to get qualified and maintain their CPD. It’s part of what you do if you’re serious about your profession!

If you’re thinking about becoming a coach, my best advice would be to find a suitable qualification…and a good coach supervisor!