Spend the right amount of time on learning to coach

Before I was admitted to the seven-month Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching, I learned from my colleague Ann that she’d completed the program when it was two years in duration. Now, I love a challenge. And I wanted to get a lot out of this program. Ann’s a great coach. Was I missing something?

Before it was over, I did wish the program were longer. Not because it wasn’t rigorous and complete. I came to appreciate my instructors and classmates. Sometimes, the learning and the challenge of putting theory into practice made the assignments intense. And I was stimulated by the satisfaction of learning not just ideas, but ways to use what I learned.

The program proved to be a genuinely graduate-level challenge, but short enough to be achievable by people like me: with a demanding full-time job, a family, and a life. The program didn’t need to be longer, but I wanted the learning community to carry on and stick together. We had committed to learning with each other. We came to rely on learning from each other, too. I had not anticipated how important that would be.

Don’t shortchange practice time

In the GCEC, we spent one weekend-in-residence each month. These were two days full of learning coaching psychology. While encountering and inquiring into what motivates people, practice coaching sessions also uncovered some of my motivations. Listening for what’s not said in others’ communication means that you will learn a good deal about what you think and feel, but are not saying.

A shorter program would have left me with the impression that I’m a clumsy and inarticulate coach. We spent just the right amount of time to have plenty of experience getting it half right and recognizing that we could do better. And I experienced enough success that I completed the program with confidence that I’d acquired skills that could be refined through more practice and experience.

About John

Executive coach, learning and leadership development professional.
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