Another milestone…

On Thursday, March 22nd, I had my final supervised coaching session.  The first five sessions had gone pretty well.  For sessions 2-5, I had a single client, Brian.  This was quite helpful for continuity, and for creating actual, measurable results that could be tracked.  With a few days to go, Brian sent me an e-mail informing me that he would be unavailable for my final session, as he managed to book a flight out of Florida at precisely 7 p.m. — the start time of the class.  I am pleased to say that I did not panic.  I posted on the ICA board my request for someone to be my client for this call.  Within hours, I had an enthusiastic candidate, Alexandra.  Alexandra lives in Massachusetts, but has a pronounced Romanian accent.  We had a nice conversation on Wednesday night to connect with each other and discuss the parameters for the call.

The final went quite well.  I had an excellent session with Alexandra, and received terrific feedback from the master coach instructor, as well as from the two other coaches on the call.  My oral exam followed.  I prepared for this exam by writing down in advance answers to the questions that did not refer to the final session itself.  This allowed me to be very present and not concern myself with stumbling and nervousness.  I did not read the answers verbatim, but rather, referred to them and also “danced in the moment” when the master coach threw me a curve ball or two.

I also was ecstatic to note, upon receiving my assessment on Friday, that I had hit every last sub-competency over my six sessions!  Many of these I hit multiple times, and some on every single session.  This was one of the big remaining challenges towards graduating the program.  Next stop… the research paper!

Supervised coaching, day two

I’m blessed to have great coaches. My SuccessTracs coach, Barb Robison, helped me prepare for my supervised coaching. I also got great feedback from a fellow coach, Rob Stringer. So last week, my first coaching session went very well. I wasn’t thrilled with it, but it was good, and my feedback was good. I was determined to be prepared for the rest of the sessions, so I set out to find a good client for my class. I found one in Brian, a fellow who happens to be on my “coaching team” — as it happens, I’m teaching coaching fundamentals to several men to create a coaching-based goal program in a men’s organization I’ve been in for 15 years.

Tonight was great. I prepped Brian before the call, and went over my coaching policies and procedures with him, as well as the ICF code of ethics. We had some idea of what was up for him, and I let him know we didn’t have to do anything else before the call — I’d just coach him and run with it. The call went well — I felt I was in the zone with him, and I could sense his shift as we moved along. My feedback was very specific around the powerful questions I asked, and several of the other coaches on the call gave me great feedback on a couple of specific things I did — things they intend to borrow for their own coaching. I had that feeling of just wanting to dance! I made sure to give my coach, Barb Robison, props for her great opening question: “If this session were extraordinary, what would you want to walk away with?”

I also had the opportunity to learn from other coaches, and got some great ideas to incorporate into my coaching. I learned there is a great value in being on the call for the entire session, not just my own part, as it was a great way for me to learn from other coaches, as well as an opportunity to support those coaches by being present for them as they are for me.

Supervised Coaching

This week is a veddy scary week, boys and girls, as Count Floyd used to say. Thursday is my first supervised coaching class. Twelve weeks of laser coaching, with six people coaching someone of their choice, with an ICF-certified coach watching for the 11 core competencies of coaching.

In the words of Dan Akroyd in Ghostbusters, “I’m frightened beyond the capacity for rational thought.” Here is where 19 months of classes, 11 months of actual coaching, and every moment where I was not quite in focus during any of the above all come together. In these 12 weeks I will have the opportunity to coach six times, and be deemed either competent or not competent in these, well, competencies.

I will write more about this in the days to come.

Communities of Practice

In ICA, there’s a new class called “Communities of Practice.” These are tag-team coaching opportunities whereby participants will take turns “laser-coaching” a single coachee. It’s a great opportunity to put what you’ve learned into practice in a safe environment, with a lot of support from other students and the instructor, and plenty of excellent feedback. Last week I finally took the plunge and jumped in. I had to bite my tongue when the instructor, Lou D’Alo, said my name and told me which student I’d be following in the queue. My initial feeling was to say, “Hey, I just want to observe!” But I let that feeling pass.

With some trepidation at first, I listened closely. Often on class calls my mind wanders, my attention drifts, and I have to refocus myself. In this call, however, I found myself more in the type of zone I’m in when I’m coaching a client. I was fully engaged with the “client” throughout the coaching by all the excellent student/coaches, so that when it was my turn, I was able to leap right into the coaching fray.

The experience was very liberating. Much to my surprise and pleasure, I didn’t die! Worlds did not collide, nobody stuck a tongue out at me, and I learned it’s actually pretty fun to coach this way. Hoo-ah!