Center for Coaching Certification

The When of What? When? How?

When will we begin to understand?

While many of us wish we had the ability to change history, what we can focus on now is the present and the future.  Awareness is increasing.  Understanding is growing.  Now is when we can continue that trend and support change. The What of What? When? How?

Coaches partner for understanding.

  • What is your understanding of the history of racism?
  • How does the history of racism impact you today?
  • What do you want to do with your understanding?
  • Where do you want to engage in the conversation?
  • When do you want to choose not to engage?
  • How will you take care of yourself?

When will we insist on change?

The risk now is of going back to old ways of thinking and doing.  With awareness and understanding, we must insist on change.  It is morally and ethically clear that what has been is wrong and what will be must be different.

Coaches partner to strategize change.

  • Where do you want to get involved in change?
  • How do you want to be involved?
  • How will you approach your involvement?
  • How will you balance your involvement with your self-care?

When will we start creating change?

From the present forward is what we can control.  Now is when we insist on creating change.  Change can be individual, and change can be collective.  What change do we want?  Systemic change and individual change.

Coaches partner to create change.

  • What is the change you want to see?
  • What else do you want to see changed?
  • How do you feel about the possibilities?
  • How do you see yourself engaging in change?
  • When do you want to engage?
  • Where do you want to engage in change?
  • How committed are you to change now?
  • How committed are you to staying engaged in creating change?
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The What of What? When? How?

What are we witnessing?

Where to even begin with this question?  A world pandemic.  Worldwide protesting.  Social injustice.  A new way. Emotions.  Conflicts.  Connections.  Loss.  Opportunity.  Fear.  Hope.  The same old same old.  Something different.  Hate.  Love.  Ignorance.  Budding awareness.  Separation.  Solidarity.  Change.  And more. The What of What? When? How?

Coaches partner with clients to reflect, experience and choose.

  • What are you noticing about the pandemic?
  • What are you noticing about the violence?
  • What are you noticing about what is happening?
  • How do you want to process what you are seeing?
  • What do you want to gain from reflecting?
  • How will your insights serve you moving forward?

What are we experiencing?

Much like the question above, the range of experiences resulting from what we are witnessing is both broad and deep. Thoughts and emotions are all over the place.  Add to that with the range of life experiences leading up to today and there is an even wider range of perceptions and impact.

Coaches partner to learn from experiences for awareness moving forward.

  • How are you experiencing the pandemic?
  • How are you experiencing the rioting?
  • What are you feeling?
  • What are you thinking?
  • How do you want to sit with the experiences?
  • What do you want to gain from the experiences?
  • What are you learning from your experiences?
  • How will you use what you are learning?

What does it mean?

The meaning of what is seen, felt, and experienced is unique for each person.  We can be aware that it is different for everyone, be open and accepting to different perceptions and realities.

Coaches partner with clients to discover insights and personal application of meaning.

  • What does what you are seeing and experiencing mean to you?
  • How do you want to be with the meaning?
  • What do you want to gain from this?
  • How will you use your awareness and insights?

 

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Cultural Bios

Some of you are familiar with cultural bios and for others the idea is new.  What is a cultural bio?  It is a verbal or written description of you that includes how you define yourself in terms of class, gender, ethnicity, race, culture, family, career, and more.  It means being vulnerable in sharing which in turn creates safety for others to be vulnerable in sharing. Cultural Bios

At https://penandthepad.com/write-cultural-biography-6121457.html is a great article on writing a cultural bio.  At castle.eiu.edu › standard4 › EDF2555_assign is an assignment used in schools for writing a cultural bio and interviewing someone who is different.

What are the reasons for cultural bios?

The Pros:

  • Invites Connection
  • Indicates Open Acceptance
  • Supports Rapport
  • Demonstrates Awareness
  • Opportunity to Share Who You Are
  • Helps Others Share

The Cons:

  • It can be a risk.
  • Fear of misunderstanding.
  • Some feel it is overdone.

When and where are cultural bios used?  In social media, on websites, and during introductions, a cultural bio can be a fabulous tool for a coach to put themselves out there and invite connections.

During coach training some schools start with cultural bios and others use them later on the coaching journey when there is a comfort level amongst colleagues in the coaching certification program.

When and where do you recommend cultural bios be used?

 

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Resisting and Becoming

During the ACTO 2020 conference two questions were posed:

  1. What are you resisting?
  2. What are you becoming?

The power of reflecting on these two questions is amazing.

Throughout the world and certainly throughout the coaching profession there are many conversations around the ethics of diversity and inclusion.  If we resist engaging on this topic, what are we becoming?  How can we effectively engage and support? Resisting and Becoming

Tim Wise has a great article at https://medium.com/@timjwise/code-of-ethics-for-white-anti-racists-103914639dd7 and in his Code of Ethics for White Anti-Racists gives 10 suggestions for stronger solidarity.  He talks about acknowledging privilege, developing and deepening connections, being ready to change how we do things, develop accountability structures, give credit for the source of knowledge, share access and resources, donate, get involved, connect our work with our beliefs, practice self-care.

Ibram X. Kendi wrote a wonderful book (reviewed in this blog previously) that provides additional insight and awareness, How to Be an Antiracist.

What are the key takeaways for coaches, coach trainers, and those participating in coach training?  Learn more about diversity.  Seek to understand your clients, their culture, and how they have been and are impacted by biases – theirs and those of others.  Seek to be aware of personal biases and how they show up.  Be aware and learn so that we can be culturally sensitive and ensure we effectively support clients.

 

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Center Commonalities and Differences

At the ACTO 2020 conference, one phrase that was said stood out as a real opportunity: Center Commonalities AND Center Differences.  What does this mean?  Reflect on things we all have in common from basic needs to desires and more.  Then think about ways we are different and how our differences bring value and interest and insight.  How can we support centering on both commonalities and differences? Center Commonalities and Differences

During the initial coaching certification class, we talk about different thought patterns.  One of the pairs of thought patterns we discuss is Sameness / Difference.  If someone uses a sameness thought pattern, they focus first on what is the same.  For the difference thought pattern, the focus is on what is different.  In class, we discuss meeting the client where they are at with their thought pattern and then expanding their thinking with the other.

What are the reasons for centering on both commonalities and differences?  Centering on commonalities is part of developing a relationship and building rapport.  Centering on differences is an opportunity to be curious, show respect, and learn.

The more we each recognize that we do have commonalities the more we are open and accepting of everyone.  The more we center on differences the more we learn and the more we respect others.

One of the many joys involved in coach training is how so many completely different people from completely different places and cultures come together, engage, connect, and build amazing relationships.

 

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Self-reflective Practice for Coaches

In the previous blog, the following was included: the ICF’s Core Competencies coaches learn during coaching certification, for competency number two say: 2. Embodies a Coaching Mindset Definition: Develops and maintains a mindset that is open, curious, flexible, and client-centered. With sub-point 3. Develops an ongoing reflective practice to enhance one’s coaching.  Additionally, in the blog before that, from ICF’s Code of Ethics, the definitions of equality and systemic equality, as well as ICF’s ethical standard 25, says, “Avoid discrimination by maintaining fairness and equality in all activities and operations, while respecting local rules and cultural practices. This includes, but is not limited to, discrimination on the basis of age, race, gender expression, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability or military status.” were shared. Self-reflective Practice for Coaches

One challenge we face: it is normal for each of us, when meeting someone, to have thoughts, ideas, and assumptions about who they are as a person.  It is also normal that we often make mistakes – we simply don’t know what we don’t know.

With the above in mind, you can use another fabulous idea that came out of the ACTO 2020 conference: After a few sessions with a client, reflect on what you know versus what you thought before.  Use reflection of the differences to identify your biases.

For example, current clients consider what you thought was a truth about them, and what you have since learned was inaccurate.  Reflect on those differences.  With new clients, before starting, jot a few notes for yourself about who you think they are as a person.  Then after working with them for several months jot a few notes about who you think they are at that point.  Then compare your notes and reflect on the differences.

This is such a powerful exercise I plan to share it during coach training as well as use it myself.

 

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Activity for Awareness

At the 2020 Association of Coach Training Organizations (ACTO) conference during one of the sessions, all of us who participating were asked to take a moment and write down five successes.  Then we were told we were going to be moved to one of four breakout rooms.  In the breakout room, we were to imagine a change in our identity based on which room we went to: Spades = disability, Clubs = race, Hearts = gender, Diamonds = sexual orientation.  The assignment was to look at our list of successes and based on which identity we changed to, respond to this question: How does the switch of identity impact whether that success would have been possible? Activity for Awareness

The conversations were powerful.  The bottom line is that there are many types of biases, discrimination, and privilege.  As coaches, it is incumbent on us to be aware of the impact biases, discrimination, and privilege have on your clients.  It is also incumbent on us to be aware of our own biases to ensure we are truly open and accepting of who our clients are and focus on how to best serve them.

Consider using this activity as part of your self-reflection practice.  Specifically, the ICF’s Core Competencies coaches learn during coaching certification, for competency number two say: 2. Embodies a Coaching Mindset Definition: Develops and maintains a mindset that is open, curious, flexible, and client-centered. With sub-point 3. Develops an ongoing reflective practice to enhance one’s coaching.  This means the self-reflective practice is part of our competencies.

How do you do it individually?  Write five of your successes.  Then reflect using each possible identity change in turn.  If you were the opposite in terms of disability, race, gender, or sexual orientation, how would that have impacted your ability to achieve those successes?  After completing that, reflect on your insights.  Ask yourself a great coaching question as learned in your coach training, “How will you apply your insights moving forward?”

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Name It to Tame It

At the Association of Coach Training Organizations (ACTO) conference the week of June 8 to 12, 2020 many fabulous presentations and discussions focused on the future of coach training.  One of the messages that seems significant now is “Name It to Tame It”.  What is being named?  The importance of coaching and coach training in the world and how diversity is core to the quality, ethics, and value of the work. Name it To Tame It

The ACTO stand for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging is:

ACTO is committed to creating diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in the coaching profession through calling forth, honoring, and inviting the uniqueness of all individuals and diverse life experiences.

In support of this stand, we acknowledge and are committed to eliminating the negative impact of personal and systemic bias, privilege, and oppression, which may be conscious or unconscious, intentional or unintentional, overt or subtle.

As coach trainers, we are tasked with creating the future of the coaching profession. We commit to providing dialogue, learning and resources and to cultivating personal and organizational responsibility in alignment with this stand, at ACTO, for each of our students, members, and member organizations.

The International Coaching Federation is also naming it to tame it and one of the leaders from the Ethics Community of Practice provoked a great discussion by sharing.  In the Code of Ethics these two definitions are included:

“Equality”—a situation in which all people experience inclusion, access to resources and opportunity, regardless of their race, ethnicity, national origin, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religion, immigration status, mental or physical disability, and other areas of human difference.

“Systemic equality”—gender equality, race equality and other forms of equality that are institutionalized in the ethics, core values, policies, structures, and cultures of communities, organizations, nations and society.”

Additionally, ethical standard 25 says, “Avoid discrimination by maintaining fairness and equality in all activities and operations, while respecting local rules and cultural practices. This includes, but is not limited to, discrimination on the basis of age, race, gender expression, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability or military status.

Now for the coaching questions that coaches learn to ask during coaching certification:

  • What does diversity, equity, and inclusion mean to you?
  • What will you do to support diversity?
  • How will you support and expand this conversation?
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Common Mistake #3 of 3 – Lessons Learned from ICF Assessors

The first two of three common mistakes in the previous blogs, failure to have a clear agreement and leading, are closely related to the third common mistake, telling, teaching, or advising.  During coach training, the biggest paradigm shift for most is that coaches do NOT tell, teach, or advise – instead, they ask questions.  A coach is a trained professional who holds the client as a whole person who is fully capable. Lessons Learned from ICF Assessors

In exploring the third common mistake shared by Jim Smith in his presentation to ICF’s Ethics Community of Practice, there are several key points to highlight .  From ICF’s Code of Ethics the definition for a coaching relationship includes having an agreement that defines responsibilities and expectations.  This is again stated in number 2 in the code.  In number 11 it talks about actively managing power or status difference.  Number 21 addresses accuracy around what coaching offers.  From the Core Competencies, under Embodies a Coaching Mindset, it says: Acknowledges clients are responsible for their own choices.  Under Establishes and Maintains Agreements there are four points on partnering with the client so they determine focus, what to address, and their measure of success.  Assessors are trained that if the conversation involves the coach primarily telling, teaching, or advising then it is a fail on the basis of coaching ethics.

The bottom line to all this is that it is the coach’s responsibility to ensure the coach asks powerful questions so the client explores for themself, makes their own choices, creates their own strategies and action plan, and celebrates their progress and success.  Coaching certification teaches the competencies and ethics.  Coach training includes practicing this during coaching sessions.

It is easy to tell people what to do.  Coaching them so they find their own answers takes more time, skill, and patience. Coaching is a profession that requires training and ongoing learning to best serve clients.  The good news?  It works.

 

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Common Mistake #2 of 3 – Lessons Learned from ICF Assessors

In the previous blog we looked at the first of three common mistakes made by coaches in recordings they submit to the ICF for their credential application.  The first common mistake was failing to get a clear agreement on what a client wants from a coaching session.  That leads into the second of three common mistakes: the coach leads.  During coach training, the significance of recognizing the client as capable, have the choice, and being in charge of their own plan is explored in terms of being ethical as a coach. Lessons Learned from ICF Assessors

When Jim Smith presented to the ICF Ethics Community of Practice, he explored what a coach leading means.  Here is an example: Imagine a client saying they want to address points 1, 2, and 3.  If the coach then chooses which of the three to talk about, then the coach is leading.  If the coach chooses an approach, such as brainstorming, role-playing, or listing pros and cons, instead of asking the client how they want to have the conversation, the coach is leading.  In summary, if the coach decides independently what to talk about, when to talk about it, or how to talk about it, the coach is leading.

Coaching certification teaches us that it is the coach’s responsibility is to ensure the client is in the driver’s seat.  That means in addition to the client choosing what they want from the coaching session and their measure of success, they also choose where to start and how to move forward.

In the next blog, the third common mistake is covered so come on back!

 

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