My experience as a coach can be divided in two parts:
1. That which I knew before I went coaching school
2. That which I learned while in coaching school
While in coaching school I confirmed many things I knew before I went to coaching school, such as the coachee is the client and I support the client in that which the client wants to be supported in. I do not give advice, as that would be consulting. As a matter of fact, I started my business as a consultant but not long after I realized that consulting is not very satisfactory; one give an advice to the client but often the client does not hear it or wants to apply it. When things did not get better I always felt as if I failed. In reality it was my client who failed. This is what motivated me to focus primarily on coaching
Once I started the coaching school I was exposed to many skills I needed to improve on, such as listening.
Though I knew that listening is one of the most important tools we coaches need to use, I learned to become a much better listener as I learned more about how to listen better while taking the classes but even more so by practicing active listening when coaching my 5 clients. I can say that listening is an art that we coaches continue perfecting the more we coach. It starts with clearing my mind of any thoughts I am holding and make it a blank slate. Often this is not easily achieved as our minds continue to move around preventing us from creating what I call an “empty space.”
I knew already that coaches only ask questions and do not offer any advice of suggestions. What I learned how to do much better is to ask the questions in such a way that I was able to move the client closer to what he/she wanted to achieve.
Before any coaching started I asked the client to fill out a Coaching Intake form so I can better understand what the short and long term goals of the client were. I also wanted to learn more about the client and the questions I asked in the Coaching Intake form allowed me the opportunity to learn more about the client. I was fortunate to have gotten this form from my coach Africa Hands and I am adding this to this document as well, so others can take advantage of it.
As a coach I always asked at the end of the coaching session for the “Take-aways.” The reason for it was to learn more how well I did, but also to learn what I could do better next time when I coach this client. This step is designed to learn and get better at what I do as a coach. This particular step I never used when I coached in the past, so ICA helped me to learn more about it.
I also learned that there are a number of ways I can interact with the client by using what I learned in the Frameworks and Theory. Some things like “Appreciative Inquiry”, “Emotional Intelligence”, “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy” and “Mindfulness” I was familiar with while I had no knowledge of “Neuro Linguistic Programming”. While investigating which coaching school to take I learned that Tony Robbins uses only Neuro Linguistic Programming” and decided that this would not be good enough for me. Once I understood that I chose ICA.