“I've rarely experienced a 'training' program that so effectively combines rigorous methodology with generous heart. I now have a living compendium of precise, relevant practices.”
“Working with Joanne and Laura has been transformational at many levels of my life. Through their Integral Coaching® training, I have come to understand what “being human” means.”
“Integral Coaching Canada provides what we believe is the most complete and comprehensive coaching program available. ”
How Do I Know I’m Ready to Coach?
Dave coaches the whole person with his whole heart. His original coaching artistry is rooted in creativity, empathy, compassion, and occasionally even song writing to help you unlock your limitless potential. Dave cares deeply about compassionate human development, conscious business practices, and inspired collaboration through connection. His clients include entrepreneurs, executives, creatives, marketers, engineers, and musicians.
Long before I signed up for coaching, I felt a calling to help others. Sometimes it was the usual help; feeding our dog, helping a friend with a project, or lifting something heavy for our 90-year old landlady upstairs. At other times, the help has been more meaningful and heartfelt; supporting the widow of my best friend, reaching out to a friend struggling with depression, and providing an ear for someone in need of perspective.
At some point things shifted for me and my reliable gut moved me to take coaching more seriously. I’ll tell you a bit more about my journey in a minute, but before rationalizing my decision completely, I had signed up for the first Module in Integral Coaching Canada’s certification program, the Associate Certification Module (ACM). I knew in my heart that coaching was the right path for me but I also had some big questions about how I might possibly be qualified to help others as their coach.
After all, I am not a spiritual guru or the proverbial bearded man in a cave. I don’t have a degree in psychology or experience as a counselor. I also have my own real struggles, edges, and shadows, and I wondered how those could show up and affect my coaching.
How many coaching books would I need to read? Would I need to start doing yoga two hours a day? I wondered how coaching would fit into my work and family life. Questions of my capacity also came to mind as I imagined keeping the lives of others in my brain and trying to imagine how many people I can coach at one time.
Before you coach another person, aren’t you supposed to have all your ‘own stuff’ sorted out? Am I healthy in all the ways I imagine a coach needs to be? Free from trauma and burnout? Right in the eyes of my own coach, or even a higher power?
When I signed up for coaching training, I had just been recruited to start a new VP of Marketing role at a Bay Area Tech Startup. The CEO loved the fact that I was studying coaching as it is such a large part of developing and unblocking teams. I wondered if maybe it would just be one more training I would undergo and stick my certification away in a drawer (with others training trophies I had completed).
Fast forward to me arriving in Ottawa in a snowy February: I listened to the other coaches introducing themselves and started feeling out of place. Many of my classmates were lifelong social workers, former counselors, or HR professionals. I felt like an instant imposter as I had been focused solely on marketing and sales for nearly two decades. As the week progressed, I began to feel more like an exotic zoo animal who had wandered into the wrong area. Later, as the wonderful facilitator drew us into the discussions, and our learning groups were formed, I found out that nearly all of us were feeling our way through the dark. We shared a common fascination and respect for human development, coaching skills, and creating the “lasting positive change” (that had eluded me in my former VP years).
What I found is that through the process of learning Integral Coaching®, you learn to leverage your strengths and, just as importantly, be okay with your own weaknesses. I found learning to coach is about leaning into growth areas and edges. Each client teaches me something important and helps me become a better coach. One of my instructors said that you get the clients you need to learn from, and I have found this to resonate nearly every time. I’ve also found that by showing up embodied in this robust coaching method, along with the good intention of helping someone, I in fact, do help them. It is such a great relief that I don’t have to have all the answers. In fact, my clients have them and my role is to help them discover these very personal answers.
Turning to you, what are your answers for why you might want to coach?
I put together a few journal prompts and suggestions to help you decide if coaching is a good fit for your goals, passions, and capacities right now, and what your motivation might look like as a coach. To encourage you to take this on I would add that even being willing to journal and reflect is often the sign of a coach in the making!
Step 1: Capture
Spend a few quiet moments breathing deeply. Take 8 – 10 slow deep breaths to support you getting in touch with your more intuitive sense. From that quieter, more spacious place, reflect on the following and write down what comes up:
- What is calling you to help others? Why is that (see if you can get underneath your initial response)?
- What kind of help or service would you most like to provide?
- How do you currently ask for help?
- How do you currently offer or provide help to others?
- What is your capacity for offering help right now? Or how much help are you able to give?
Step 2: Repeated Check-Ins
I recommend doing this a couple different times in a week or two to get a few snapshots of how this might shift as you come fresh each day to these questions. We truly feel more capacity on some days versus others.
Step 3: Summarize and Feel Into
Once you have a few days worth of entries, block out an hour on your calendar to read over your journaling about help and service.
- What themes and patterns have emerged?
- What questions do you still have?
- What feels like it needs more resourcing?
As a possible next step, it might be good to interview a working coach to learn about how they decided to coach and what their day-to-day looks like.
You might also reach out to a coaching school like Integral Coaching Canada, to see if you could speak to one of their teachers to learn about their training, and how they might support your call to coaching.
Writing this post has prompted me to consider some of the questions I wished I had asked myself when I got started so that I would have entered my coaching training with a bit more confidence. This might be thought of as a “strengths-based approach” to prime you for whatever training you opt for at this time.
If you are up for deepening your exploration, and with your own development in mind, here are a few additional journal ideas for your consideration and to inspire you:
Your Own Development Check-In
- What gifts do you bring with you as a potential coach for others?
- What development work / therapy have you already done and what were the key learnings?
- What tools, training, or resources do you currently employ?
- What growth areas are you aware of now (even if you haven’t worked on them yet)?
- What edges do you suspect might come up as you coach?
- How have you coached another informally or formally before?
- Consider a time in your life when you were in a coaching type of role. How did it feel to be in that role?
Keep in mind, there are no “right answers” to these readiness-check questions. My sincere hope in asking you to spend some time considering your current mindset, motivation, and gifts are to help you feel into what’s right for you at this time. It may be that only one of the above questions is enough to help you consider what is keeping you from pursuing coaching further.
As I reflected on my own journey, where I was largely following my own gut, I think having a little guidance on my purpose for coaching would have helped me feel less tentative from the start. I also delayed subsequent trainings as I questioned how I would qualify to serve others which I now realize was my own growth edge around self-esteem, imposter syndrome and the usual inner critic suspects.
While I am definitely proud to be an Integral Master Coach™ and all it represents in terms of my effort and commitment, the true reminder of the training I completed is my daily work with my own transformed self. Being trained as a coach, I have a fuller perspective of my own unique development challenges (and gifts) is the lasting merit of my work. Though, I do admit it is nice to be able to tell clients that I’m certified in a robust methodology with a coach training school like Integral Coaching Canada.
Should you decide to journey as a coach, you may likely feel a little out of place and/or uncomfortable. This awkwardness is often a wonderful sign that you are growing. I wish you much success on your path and hope you find a solid next step.