Today, I am a coach….

On May 28th, it will be exactly two years since I made the decision to become a professional coach, and make a career out of what I’d been doing naturally for years, for free, before I knew it was a career choice. I had a conversation with a fellow at ICA named Dennis Griffin in Australia. The next day, a Sunday, I took the action step of registering and virtually plunking down my money. Almost immediately, I received my welcome letter and student ID. Student ID!!! For the first time since leaving college in 1979 some 20 credits shy of a degree, I was a student! Oh, the glory! I was determined that this time would be different. I would complete this if it killed me. A virtual classroom with students physically dispersed throughout the world would assure that there would be no cafeteria food fights, dorm parties, fraternity keggers, or hot co-eds to distract me from my journey.

In those two years I took some 140 or so hours of classes, practices, and repeated classes, read volumes of material, and practicd the art of coaching one shift at a time. Going at my own pace as someone employed full time in a job unrelated to coaching, I found some people who came in after me who were able to graduate sooner than I did. I knew, though, that it didn’t matter how much time it took, as long as I completed.

Earlier in the year, I didn’t think it would happen for me in June. I knew I had a lot of classes to take, and I had not completed any of the required work to graduate. One thing I had going for me, however, was that I was a “product of the product,” as they say in network marketing. I have been paying for a coach virtually since I started in ICA. I knew that if I was to ever be able to ask someone to pay me to coach them, I’d damn well be willing to pay someone else to do the same for me! Coach Barb is with SuccessTracs, part of Peak Potentials (T. Harv Eker’s “Millionaire Mind Intensive” organization). Barb helped me to commit to graduation. She helped me to deal with any insecurities or doubts that I could do the tough, “scary” work ahead, like my research paper. I kept seeking a back door, and she kept prodding me to hold to my commitment. I became unstoppable, like “Ahnold” in “The Terminator,” getting up at ungodly hours of the morning to take teleclasses, sometimes taking a catnap afterwards. In three months I took nearly as many classes as I’d taken in the year and a half I’d been in ICA. Then, one by one, I tackled my nine assessments to graduate.

On Wednesday, May 15, I turned in my last piece of business, my record of participation. Every last class, peer coaching hour, supervised coaching class and outside client hour is reflected in this spreadsheet. Today, I got the official word that this assessment is completed.

On June 1st, I shall graduate ICA. I’ve been coaching professionally for over a year, and have a growing practice. ICA will deem me a “Certified Professional Coach.” I will be eligible for the first level of certification from the International Coach Federation within a couple of months.

I am reminded of what every young Jewish boy says at his bar mitzvah: “Today, I am a man.” Today, I am a coach. On June 1st, the virtual cap and gown will just make it official. I shall celebrate — and if you happen to be in the neighborhood… the beers are on me!

— Coach Andrew Poretz


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