There are now a number of executive coaching training institutes and academic programs and more are likely to start up over the next decade.
Too often, training and education for coaches offers little more than a few days of workshops with some follow-up coaching. As the list of core competencies listed above implies (see the heading “What makes for an Effective Leadership Coach” on the previous page), it makes little sense to expect that an individual can become an effective executive or leadership coach in one week, or one month for that matter.
It’s a bit like asking a Master Electrician or Plumber to train any one of us to be effective trades-people over a weekend workshop for example, or asking the accountant or physiotherapist after a week long course, to make us into effective professionals capable of handling our own clients.
Those teaching executive or leadership coaches or running institutes or programs should grapple with the serious challenge of helping their clients develop a broad and deep set of organizational, psychological, business, and coaching competencies.
Who and What should it involve?
As David Hale agues in his PhD thesis (2008) titled, “Development of a Validated Core Competency Skill Set for Executive Coaches,” a coach can be developed if he or she possess the passion and desire, but he makes the point that the training is more of a personal journey than simply educational attainment.
This though is the rub. Are managers and executives really up for the journey? A personal journey?
Sure, these managers and leaders are no doubt competent people who may have gained a trade of some sort before moving up the ranks or may have gained a professional degree or diploma in their chosen field before becoming a supervisor or manager at some stage. No doubt they are technically very good. Most though would have struggled somewhat to manage others in that most would have “flown by the seat of their pants” as it were. But they survived.
Now however, they are being asked to go on a coaching journey as a way of enhancing their leadership and management skills. Skills is one thing, but a personal journey is another.
This falls well outside the “Comfort zone” of most and right into what can be called the “Courage zone.” See our video on that issue.
Hale then goes on to say that skills are teachable and learnable, and techniques may be replicated, but true understanding and proficiency only comes from carefully honed practice in real-world situations.
Coaching in a very real sense, is no different than learning any other skill – you actually have to do it. Whether it is learning to drive a car, play golf, learning to cook, learning computer software, or being a parent, you actually have to do it.
The hard truth is this – that every coach learns through doing. And “doing” is a verb, an action word, not a noun.