Is a tennis coach who has played tennis at a high level qualified to coach? In some ways, yes – and in other ways, no. An untrained tennis coach knows a great deal about technique, and still has much to learn about how to motivate different personalities for optimal performance. Many people naturally prefer a coach who has professional training – whether on the playing field or in one’s personal or professional life.
The issue regarding untrained coaches is that they don’t know what they don’t know. Generally speaking, coaches without training believe that their professional experience in a specific industry or role is qualification enough to be a coach. Unfortunately, this typically means they are a mentor, consultant, counselor, or advisor instead of a coach. Training for any professional is focused on a specific area of expertise or professional position. Coach training specifically develops the 11 Core Competencies of a coach including: how to motivate others, the parameters of the coaching relationship, and what questions to ask that create awareness so that individual coachees are empowered to decide for themselves their best next step.
So, how can trained coaches educate untrained coaches?
- One way is by example. Sharing information on coach training and ethics, and then modeling the correct coach behavior of ‘Ask, Don’t Tell’ help to raise awareness in an untrained coach on how much more there is to coaching than they thought.
- Inviting an untrained coach to a local ICF chapter meeting is another way. The other coaches, the meeting agenda, and the educational program will all impact understanding around the importance of coach training.
- Asking questions around the topics of ethics, confidentiality, liability, and the differences between the roles of coach, counselor, mentor, advisor, therapist, and trainer also sheds light on the differences between each of these roles.
The fact that more and more companies require ICF-approved coach training is likely to be the most convincing argument for coach training. This means that opportunities are growing for trained coaches and opportunities for untrained coaches are lessening.