Saturday, February 23, 2019

Using Your Intuition When Coaching

Some people are big fans of intuition and others are very skeptical of intuition. Perhaps it depends on
the definition of intuition. For the purposes of coaching, there’s at least one definition of intuition that can be very helpful: “an insight that arrives in the moment without a clear chain of reasoning to support it.”

Our brains are amazing. We make decisions in the moment on a regular basis “without even thinking about it.” Of course, we are thinking about those decisions, but it happens much faster than when we are trying to figure out something new or do something new for the first time. We often call this distinction acting with or without conscious thought. When we act “without conscious thought” it just means we aren’t aware of our thought process as it unfolds, but we can explain our reasoning afterwards if we need to. For instance, if a car comes out of nowhere and we swerve to avoid it, we can explain “I had a feeling that there was a car about to hit me coming from the left, so I moved to the right.”

When coaching, we can think of intuition in a similar way. We get an insight on what is happening in the moment which is likely based on our past experiences and our skills as a coach. However, we aren’t quite sure how to explain the reasoning behind the insight. As a result, we may doubt the value of that insight and resist sharing it.

If your intuition provides you with an insight that would have helped the coachee move forward, but you didn’t share it, that’s a shame. On the other hand, if you present an insight as an observation, you run the risk of leading the coachee astray.

When you are coaching, and your intuition provides you with an insight, consider sharing it like this:

“While we’ve been talking, I think I may have had an insight, but I’m not sure. May I share it with you to see if it fits in with what we are discussing?”

As long as you make your offer quickly and make it clear that it is up to them to decide whether your thought was truly a relevant insight or not, it is hard to go wrong. If it was useful, then they will incorporate it and move forward. If it was not useful, very little time was expended and you can move on. The more you lean on your intuition, the more your skill in presenting potential insights will grow.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Going Beyond the ICP-ACC - Becoming a Certified Professional Coach

I have decided to head down the path of becoming a certified professional coach. Specifically, I am enrolled at the International Coach Academy, pursuing the PCC level of coaching as defined by the International Coach Federation. I am doing this for a couple of reasons. First, when covering the professional coaching aspects in my ICP-ACC workshop (the coaching mode/stance from ICAgile’s Agile Coach model of coaching, mentoring, facilitating, teaching), I want to be able to do that from the position of being a certified professional coach. Second, I am planning to offer ICF certified coach training to the Agile Coaching community, hopefully starting in the beginning of 2020.

As I make my way on this journey, I would like to invite you to come along with me. I will be incorporating more of what I learn on this blog, in my ICP-ACC workshop, and in additional workshops that cover more of the ICF coaching competencies. I am hoping that some of you will want to be part of my first graduating class of ICF certified coaches as part of my ICF accreditation process, much as some of you were part of my ICP-ACC accreditation process.

As a start, in this post I will introduce you to the International Coach Federation, the professional coach certification process, and areas of the coaching competencies that don’t typically come up in the materials and offerings that most Agile Coaches are exposed to.

The International Coach Federation – ICF
The ICF is the world’s largest professional coach association. They offer a coach training accreditation process for coach training organizations as well as a certification process for coaches. You can become a member of the ICF without being a certified coach. Membership obligates you to follow their ethics guidelines and signifies to the world that you intend to operate as a professional coach. This is a good step to take along the way to becoming a certified professional coach.

The ICF Coaching Competencies
The ICF’s coaching competencies cover 11 different areas, from ethics to powerful questions to managing progress and accountability. The learning objectives of the ICP-ACC primarily overlap with the ICF’s competencies in the areas of: coaching agreements, active listening, powerful questions, presence, self-management, feedback, and coachee accountability.

Looking Beyond the ICP-ACC
Considering that the goal of the ICP-ACC is to simply introduce a few of the concepts of professional coaching while also covering many other aspects of Agile Coaching, it can only scratch the surface of professional coaching. If you are interested in learning more about what it means to be a professional coach, here are two resources I encourage you to explore. The descriptions of the ICF competencies: and the behaviors associated with coaching at different levels: