How Do I Become a Coach?Mar 8th, 2009 | By Tony Stoltzfus | Category: Top Coaching Searches
Coaching is a unique discipline with a set of skills and values all its own. The biggest challenge for people entering the field is learning not to “tell”. We’ve all grown up helping people by dispensing wisdom and advice in response to their needs. After several decades of practices, that habit is extremely difficult to break. After training over 1000 coaches, my experience has been that it takes 3-6 months of training for most individuals to break out of the telling mode to the point where they start coaching instintively.
So to coach well, you need some training. How much is a matter of what you are trying to accomplish. For instance, if you simply want to add a few coaching skills to your leadership tool kit, or supplement your communciation skills with some coaching techniques, getting an introductory coaching book and some coaching CDs can be a good place to start. In my opinion, listening to a coach at work (either live or recorded) is vital–you want really understand how different coaching is until you see it done.
To take it to the next level, you might want to be able to do coaching encounters–short, one-time conversations that use a coaching approach to help a person develop a solution or think something through. This is the skill level that lay minstry or ministry staff shoot: I can meet someone in the halls after church on talk to a neighbor across the fence and ask the kind of powerful questions that help them move forward. A good first step toward this might be an introductory coaching tele-class or workshop. Many coaches offer basic group coaching or basic training tele-classes you might be able to join.
But be realistic–a six-session class is not going to make you a pro! If you want to use coaching as a significant part of your role, or coach professionally, you want professional training. Coaching certification is the standard credential for those who want to use the title “coach”, and involves enrollment in classes with professional trainers totalling over 100 hours of instruction. You’ll also need to accumulate a certain amount of experience hours and maybe take a professional exam before you qualify for certification. If you are interested in professional training, check out our Training and Certification page as well as our Industry Calendar, which shows what training courses are being offered when.