Last summer at a networking event one of the attendees asked me am I legit? What do you think she meant? It has had me thinking over a number of months and here are my thoughts and my interpretation of what I think she was asking me!
To be a coach, mentor or coach supervisor there are no regulations. I have met many people who have used these titles who may have only been on a weekend’s course or call themselves a coach when they are really an advisor. (With saying this there are many good coaches in Tunbridge Wells too)
My simple definitions of coaching and mentoring are as follows:
Coaching is an intelligent conversation where the coach does most of the listening and is incredibly focused on the coachee with a totally unbiased view.
Mentoring is normally passing on information from a more experienced person to another.
I have been on 2 x 2 day mentoring courses run by Government aided organisations which turned out to be coaching courses the main themes being listen to your mentee, pose questions and give them support when they need it. To be a mentor is relatively easy as long as you have had the depth of experience. After 40 years of sales, sales management, operational management and being an MD and non-executive director, I tick most of these boxes. On the other hand I wouldn’t be any use as a mentor if the topic was highly technical or a business sector I did not know.
My first introduction to coaching and thinking differently was 18 years ago when I completed my NLP practitioners course (Neurological Linguistic Programming) and then the Master Practitioners course 6 years later. Both of these courses lasted 60 hours over a six month period with plenty of assignments in between the working weekends.
I enjoyed adding these new skills to my repertoire and signed up for a coaches course of 60 hours after completing a correspondence course on performance coaching with Newcastle College. I then had the opportunity to learn from over 100 other coaches learning and practicing their new found skills.
Would I have considered myself legit then? I don’t think so as I was only learning my trade. I have seen a quote somewhere saying you need 10000 hours under your belt to be called an expert and at that time I had only completed probably 100 hours including all of the different learning.
In 2008 I then went on an intensive coaching supervision course of 49 hours which really stretched me including extensive reading and practical experience which improved my own coaching no end. I was able to see things which had previously been blind spots for me.
In 2010 I went for accreditation as a coach with the Association of Coaching and then re-accreditation in 2015. In addition I went for accreditation as a Supervisor with the same association in 2014. As it stands today there are only 11 accredited supervisors as accreditation is a complex process for candidates who have not made the grade.
In the last 10 years I have completed 226 Prism Profile Reports (see www.prismbrainmapping.com ) including coaching feedback. I have completed in excess of 1200 hours of coaching. Do I consider myself legit? Yes, I definitely do, but with coaching or mentoring you never quite achieve expertise status. CPD (continuous professional development) is vital and in that same 10 years I have completed 600 hours of it. In addition, I have group supervision every 6 weeks to ensure I am not missing anything. As a coach or coach supervisor you never get to the end of your learning which is one of the reasons why I enjoy it so much.
So, when you want a coach, mentor or supervisor of coaches, check out the person is legit! In addition, make sure the chemistry between the two of you is there so you can have a proper working relationship. Please send this to anybody who you think might require the services of a coach, mentor or supervisor of coaches. Thank you.