Coaching: Skill, Culture, Profession

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Coaching: Skill, Culture, Profession

By Cathy Liska

  • Coaching is a skill.
  • Coaching describes a type of culture desired in many organizations.
  • Coaching is a profession.

There are different types of coaching: sports, speech, vocational, and more.  The coaching we are talking about is in the areas of academia, business, career, executive, life, and wellness.

Now, explore each of the above statements with working definitions and brief explanation of the processes.

Skill is the ability to do or perform a task.  Learning the skill of coaching requires coach-specific training.

Culture is a way to describe the behaviors and ways of communicating used within a group or organization.  Developing a coaching culture calls for basic coach training throughout the organization and coaching certification for key personnel, developing new policies, and creating new behaviors.

Profession is an: an occupation that requires specific learning and ideally includes accountability to a Code of Ethics.  The coaching profession is moving toward self-regulation through the International Coach Federation, ICF, with a Code of Ethics, definition of Core Competencies of a Coach, standards for approving training programs, the requirements of 60 hours of training and accountability to the Code of Ethics to become a member, plus a process for credentialing at three levels that involves an increasing number of coach training hours, an increasing number of coaching experience hours, working with a mentor coach, and passing an exam..

This means that becoming a professional coach starts with coach training and then becoming a member of the International Coach Federation.  Advancing in the coaching profession means earning a credential with the ICF by completing additional coach training and gaining additional coaching experience or hours.  To provide an analogy, becoming a member of the ICF is much like getting a degree in the field, and then earning a credential is much like getting a masters or doctorate level degree.  Whether working toward being a professional coach or hiring a coach, ask about training and ethics

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