True professionals learn and hone their craft. Coaching professionals start with coach training and then want experience as they continue learning and honing their craft. Gaining experience is often one of the fears and challenges new coaches face. There are eight steps for gaining experience, learning from it, and growing as a coach.
8 Steps to Gain Experience
1. Start with practicing coaching techniques in everyday conversations – much as happens during coach training. Practice recognizing and adjusting to different styles in your conversations. Practice the listening techniques, clear and direct language, and the coaching questions. Practice inviting full descriptions of desired outcomes. Practice with goals defined by the desired outcome, internal motivation, and proactive planning.
2. Peer Coaching – much as the coaching practicum in class helps, it is a great option outside of class. Stay connected with colleagues and connect with more colleagues through our online groups. Create a barter or exchange of services so you can count it as paid hours.
3. After completing the first program, the CPC, offer a “great deal for a limited number in exchange for using a specific process and testimonials” and then set your discounted price and let your network know about the opportunity.
4. Keep your network informed about what you are doing. It is funny that sometimes coaches hesitate because they don’t want to sell. Keeping people informed isn’t selling. If they or someone they know is interested, they will reach out. If not, that is ok too – they are curious about what you are doing!
5. Website and social media – a website is most commonly visited after someone hears about you as a coach so they can investigate. Social media is one way for people to hear about you – so post fun facts, interesting insights, and share information about coaching.
6. Public Speaking and Publishing – one of the top sources for new clients is getting in front of new audiences. Look for in-person events, opportunities to give online webinars, or places to submit articles. Speaking at professional membership events is a fabulous opportunity. Being a guest presenter in a webinar, a podcast guest, or a guest blogger is a way to get in front of different audiences and demonstrate your expertise.
7. Coach Directories – online searchable directories both serve to showcase you and to link to your website so that it gets seen. The Center for Coaching Certification offers one for graduates only and ICF offers one for all credentialed coaches.
8. Coaching Firm – the Center for Coaching Certification partners with Coach-123, a coaching firm that places our graduates in contracts with organizations to coach. Information on how to be included is provided to all graduates.
Being a coach is a privilege and working with clients is an honor. Clients benefit from the coaching and coaches benefit from the experience and learning.