When Vicki and I first launched the Global Coaching Institute we debated for quite a time about whether we should offer advanced or foundational coach training programs. We went back and forward but no solution really satisfied us. And so the conversations went round and round. You know the feeling!
We were caught in a false polarity. False polarities present you with an either/or scenario. They place you in a bind. To proceed with one thing you value, it seems at the surface level that you have to give up something else.
Something about the way we named or approached the two possibilities, created a distance or separation between them, positioning them for a time as polar opposites. It was a dilemma of our own making. With the benefit of hindsight I ask myself: Why didn’t we begin with the assumption that both were possible?
Yet how often do we see our coaching clients get stuck in this same way? What are the options your client puts on the table? What assumptions are they working from? How are they growing or limiting their choices.
The truth of the matter is that we wanted to offer programs that would stretch practitioners while recognising their extensive skillsets, cultivated often over decades. We wanted to meet the deep insights into human behaviour that psychologists bring and extend it through our own studies into signal awareness, those cues to the client’s innate growth. Similarly we wanted to draw on the knowledge of complex systems that facilitators and OD practitioners offer, along with the business acumen of leaders and marketing professionals.
We knew deep down that there were many skilled professionals who hadn’t yet taken the accreditation plunge and we wanted to recognise their experience, while also extending their knowledge. Honing and refining their coaching practice.
Going back to basics for us meant asking ourselves what we really wanted.
What do you really want? It’s a simple question isn’t it, yet so layered. Often we have to edge our way toward it, through layers of belief about whether we are allowed or entitled to have what we want? Whether it is possible? Whether we will succeed or fail? What comes up for you when you ask yourself this question? Stay with it. Try journaling or drawing, if you hit an obstacle ask yourself: Why not? Allow any obstacles to rise to the surface so that you can examine them in the light of day.
Designing the Coaching Foundations program in a way that met our own specifications meant taking our own power back, moving beyond what we thought we ‘should’ do – i.e. fitting into arbitrary categories we had defined for ourselves and creating what we valued.
And in that we discovered what was unique about our offering. It brought us closer to our own essence as a Coaching Institute.
Along the way we debunked several other either /or myths, such as the artificial constructs of being a beginner or being an advanced practitioner. But I’ll save that conversation for another day.
Questions you may ask yourself
What choices are you currently making?
What options are you giving yourself?
How do your assumptions inform your thinking?
What do you really want?