I was recently asked to speak to a professional coaching organization about the topic, “How to coach like a Master Certified Coach.” I have always felt that mastery is still more art than science, especially in this evolutionary process we call coaching, and was a bit challenged by how to best illustrate something I feel is intuitive.
Some years ago our coach colleagues and I designed a competency grid to mark the distinctions we were experiencing in our own stages of professional development. Using this as a starting point reminded me that we – - and those leaders we serve – - grow new competencies with daily practice and increased self awareness, regardless of the profession or leadership level we hold in a company. Capturing these notions about where we focus, the way we listen, our own confidence and where we place our attention can serve as a check-list for those who coach and those who hire coaches.
Note especially the focus in each of the four stages below.
For this presentation, I teamed with a long time client and titled the lunch and learn event, Mastery, a View From the Inside Out. Our client partner, Anne Whitaker is a senior Vice President for a multi-national corporation and distinguished the work of a master coach from that of a consultant using coaching skills. She made the following observations:
- A master coach is multi-dimensional. Coaching can be either one dimensional, driving one aspect of a leadership program, a competency such as emotional intelligence, for example – - or it can be about the whole person, relevant to who the person is, what they value and who they are becoming at any stage of life. The master focuses on the whole person.
- A master certified coach will focus on the sources of any challenge, on how to build relationships, and on how to hear the many voices in our heads that compete for attention. They will artfully distinguish and articulate those voices.
- A master coach brings themselves fully to the conversation, including their experiences and life lessons. As a result they not only create safety for sharing ups and downs, they demonstrate a compatible background that informs their coaching, especially the questions they surface to challenge thinking.
As you consider taking your game up a notch, go for professional certification through the International Coach Federation,(), or determine your own search for a professional coach, you might use the competency progression and these observations from a senior executive who has used coaching extensively.