Guest Blogger: Brad Glass
The other day I joined more than 35 coaches on an ICFNE teleclass, where Amorah Ross offered a model for better incorporating ICF’s 11 Core Competencies into our work. These competencies are the basis of ICF’s definition of coaching as well as its evaluation process for coach certification (ACC, PCC, MCC). With 10 years as a coach, and as a holder of the PCC designation, this stuff matters to me. After all, I’m supposed to “be” this in my coaching.
Yet for as long as I’ve been a coach and a member of ICF, I’ve struggled with what I see as an obstacle to adopting some of these competencies in my work. My struggle came out during the teleclass in the form of a question about “new invention.” To me, new invention (or call it innovation) is the “breakthrough” we so want to see happen for our clients, the often-instantaneous shift from one level of perspective and perception to a new, unanticipated, and therefore previously undefinable level – yet a level which then instantly allows new choices and new ways of being.
My dilemma centers around the following distinction: If coaching is client-directed process, and if part of its client-directedness includes that the client defines both the desired outcome of the coaching session and the measures by which he/she will know those outcomes are achieved, then where is there room for innovation and/or breakthrough? Where is the room for something that could not be known or anticipated ahead of time, and whose measures could not be thought out ahead of time simply because there is nothing to measure against? That is the focus of my coaching.
A suggestion was made about becoming more intimate with the competencies. I don’t want to become intimate with the competencies; I want to become intimate with the potential my client represents, and I will follow that conversation wherever it may lead, whether it includes the competencies or not. So I’m left wondering if I’m just a bad coach, if I’m not a coach at all, or whether (as I hope) there is a way to reconcile this within the prescribed competencies. I’m very open to finding that place.
In the meantime, I will continue to focus with my clients on what I call transformation, helping them become not only who they think they can be, but also who they never thought they could be. I want the space created by my coaching conversations to become crucibles for that kind of alchemy. This often means they will notknow where they want to go next or have a way to measure it before we embark on the trail. I admit there are times when I’m left thinking: “There’s a pony somewhere in this poop, and it’s up to us to find it.” On better days, it’s more like being lost in the jungle, knowing that only our combined thought processes can light our way. For, me this is the joy of coaching.
If you’d like a more in-depth view of these ideas, please see my newsletter on or after November 1st, 2012.
Bradford Glass, PCC
The Road Not Taken
Brad is a board member of ICFNE