Coaching is a Marathon, not a Sprint

Hear from Bhavani Jois, ICF coach, why she chose rigorous route for certification and how it made her a better coach.

‘There are no shortcuts to success’. Isn’t that what we tell our children through the timeless story of the hare and the tortoise? Yet, in this era of instant gratification, instant results, and Instagram, we want everything in ‘shorts.’ That might be acceptable in some professions, but not in all. And definitely not in professional coaching, where we touch lives deeply. 

We are currently witnessing an alarming trend of coach certifications  offering short, quick training programs to become a coach. These institutes are highly sought after by organisations and individuals who, naturally, would prefer to invest less time, energy, and financial resources to get a coveted ICF certification. 

But that can prove not only counterproductive but even detrimental to the seekers. Additionally, in the long run, it will reduce the quality of professional coaches and prove detrimental to the coaching profession and the community they aspire to serve.

This is best explained with an analogy. You are sick and require surgery. What would you do? You would search for the most renowned surgeon with years of experience under his/her belt, isn’t it? You would choose a medical professional who has undergone the rigour of five years and a further two years minimum to become a surgeon. Would you place your life in the hands of a surgeon who claimed to have become a doctor in 1 year? 2 years? Anything less than 7 years? No, right?

Coaching is like surgery in a lot of ways. Both are intense professions that deal with human life or the quality of human life. Both have a definite process that requires skillful mastery to be effective. A coach, like a surgeon, requires the right mindset and a zen-like mindfulness to achieve the desired result. 

Skillful mastery comes through right knowledge and rigorous practice. The right mindset and mindfulness, on which skillful mastery is based, comes through the training program. 

That’s why choosing the right coach training program is so important. There are certification programs ranging from three months to a year.

But now many organizations have converted seeking ICF certification into a race, that too a sprint. ‘Faster,’ ‘quicker,’ and ‘sooner’ may be more convenient, but definitely not better.

Here are 5 reasons why ICF certification should NOT be a sprint, but a MARATHON 

1) Building a Coaching Mindset takes time

Certification alone does not make a coach. Coaching requires the ‘coaching’ mindset. This is developed through a well-spaced-out coach training program with appropriate assignments & activities that gives time for unlearning & relearning and for practicing & deepening the required mindset. 

It’s difficult to build a coaching mindset in a short span of time, so you might not receive the complete or optimum benefit of training.

2) Coaching is much more than a skill-based profession

Coaching is not merely a skill-based profession like plumbing, where something taught must be perfected by repetitive action. Such professions can warrant a short crash course.

Research shows that even a habit takes 21 days to form and a total of 40 days to integrate into your system. Coaching goes deeper than your habits to touch your beliefs & value systems. It should become a part of your being, which requires a major system overhaul. Wouldn’t it stand to reason that a mere month wouldn’t suffice?

3) Coach transformation mandatory for client transformation

Coaching is a deeply transformative process. You cannot effect transformation in your client unless you have undergone the same transformative process yourself. And you need to give yourself the time to begin the transformation (which is a continuous, life-long process), for which less time, as we induced earlier, is practically insufficient.

Becoming a coach is a reflective journey. You need the space to pause and reflect and apply. This process triggers self-transformation.

4) Authenticity comes with time, patience & effort

Coaching is a way of life, not merely a profession. The coaching process should reflect in every aspect of your life. This authenticity then becomes inherent in your coaching conversations with your clients. Authenticity builds trust and effectiveness. 

The more robust your program, the more authenticity you build as a coach. That’s why you need to devote patience, time, effort, and energy to the process of becoming a coach. 

5) Passing the Credentialing Exam

ICF has set a high bar for credentialing with its recently overhauled credentialing exam (formerly CKA), where your authenticity as a coach is put through rigorous screening. So your chances at acing the credentialing exam are higher with a training program that allows you to build your coaching mindset, rigor, and authenticity steadily. 

Questions are application-based and test your rigor as a coach. There’s no right or wrong answer, only the best and less effective answers. Only a coach who has taken measured time to imbibe, assimilate & make the knowledge a part of their system can have a shot at cracking these mind-benders. Crash courses cannot impart the know-how as effectively as a well-spaced-out program can.

So how long should an ideal coach training program be?

There is no fixed time period as such. But ICF mentoring mandates a minimum of three months. Many ICF coach training institutes follow this pattern as they feel it gives an adequate amount of time to prepare a coach who can maintain the ICF standards of coaching.

Choose wisely

If you still decide on taking the sprint, here are a few questions you must consider – 

  • What is my objective of becoming a coach?
  • Am I in it for the certification alone? Or for something more purposeful?
  • Am I in for the long run? 

Your purpose reflects in your conversations and actions as a coach. A purpose aligned to ICF coaching ethics can enhance your authenticity, while a misaligned purpose can expose the lack of it.

Becoming a coach is like gymming. Quick results might not be sustainable or healthy. If you are seriously contemplating coaching as a career booster or career option, then better to put in the hard work to build your coaching muscles. 

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” – Beverly Sills

Are you searching for a robust, authentic ICF certification program?

Regal Unlimited’s certification programs are in high demand. Here are some of the things our alumni loved about our program.

What makes us stand out

With over 300 coaches trained in the last 8 years, these features make us a cut above the rest –

  • High-quality training by the best mentor coaches in the business.
  • 100% strike rate in credentialing
  • A program that is evenly spaced out to enable you to assimilate & internalize learning,  and begin the inner transformation necessary to develop a coaching mindset 
  • Our carefully designed assignments help you convert theory into practical knowledge
  • We provide a healthy ecosystem for aspiring coaches to flourish & excel
  • We enable you to build your coaching muscle through the ICF-mandated 100 hours of coaching practice. 
  • We handhold and mentor you through your credentialing
  • Our Coach Accelerator Program can help you quickly materialize your entrepreneurial dreams 
  • We offer last-mile support in ICF-credential renewals
  • We take your coaching quotient to the next level through our coaching intensives – Coaching Unlimited.

Select the best coach training program for yourself. Join the next cohort of ICF-ACC.

Watch our video – A Guide on How to Become An ICF Certified Coach

Related Posts: