Recently, a prospective student asked me “What is the best question to ask coach training schools? And, if I were in her shoes, what would be my personal criteria for choosing the right coach training school to attend?” Well, that is a very tall order!
I’ve been in the coaching business for over 20 years and founded the Christian Coach Institute. There are so many changes happening in the field of professional coaching right now. which often changes what makes a good coach training school. Here are the 7 questions that I believe are critical for any potential student of coaching to ask.
Is your coaching program ICF accredited?
The ICF (International Coaching Federation) was founded by Thomas Leonard in 1995 as a nonprofit organization. The members of this professional coach community offer support, educational research, and credentialing to coaches, and accreditation services to schools.
ICF accredited schools have curriculum that meet the ICF standards set to ensure consistency among coach training programs and coaching professionals. Some clients will ask about your coaching experience and credentials and the ICF is still the gold standard for respected credentials. Keep this in mind during your search!
How many coach-specific training hours will I receive?
This is important to clarify upfront because not all ICF-approved hours are equal. Some fall into the category of “other resources,” while some are recognized as ICF-approved coach-specific training hours. My recommendation is to clarify what type of hours you receive at the end of the program.
Personally, I recommend that you look for at least 60 ICF coach-specific training hours. Then when you apply to receive your first level ACC credential from ICF, you already meet one of the ICF criteria. Our CPLC program includes 80 Coach Specific Training hours. Each of our continuing education courses is approved for additional Coach Specific Training Hours.
Inquire about the instructor(s) of the coaching program.
Please remember that just because someone has achieved a particular credential in the coaching field, does not necessarily make them an effective coach trainer. You can find out more about them and their experience by asking questions like these ahead of time:
- What is your instructing background?
- Do you have a background in training delivery, training development and/or facilitating courses?
- How long have you been facilitating coach training?
- What kind of testimonies do you have?
- Will you be working with me for the duration of my training?
- How many other instructors teach the class?
- Will you be giving me one-to-one feedback on my coaching as I progress through the program?
- What kind of access will I have to you during training?
Does this particular coach training school schedule coaching labs? Are those labs monitored with feedback provided by an ICF Coach?
Be aware of coaching schools that are primarily instruction only. You need to have time to practice your newly learned coaching skills. Coaching labs provide a safe instructing area for you to apply what you are learning. In coaching labs, you can build your coaching muscles, experiment, ask curious questions, and build your confidence and competence as a coach. If your school is an ICF Accredited school, the instructors are required to be ICF Certified AND to provide you with feedback on your coaching. Our students receive verbal feedback during all “live’ coaching labs and written feedback on the coaching recordings they do outside of the labs.
Does your coaching school provide opportunities to build solid connections and networking among coaching peers? Community after graduation?
See if other coach training schools you are researching have an active alumni group or coaching community once the program ends. As a new coach, you first may feel you are on your own without an established support group. For lots of coaches, the benefits of an established coaching network, alumni group, continued communication from the school is priceless.
Are ICF required mentoring hours included in the coach training school’s tuition fee?
Ask if the coach training school includes ICF Mentor Hours. The ICF requires all applicants to complete ten (10) ICF Coach Mentoring hours before submitting for an ICF credential. Seven (7) of the ten hours may be in a “group” setting and three (3) individuals coach mentoring hours are required . We include the seven (7) group mentoring hours in our coach training program. You receive written and verbal feedback on your coaching as well. And, when a school includes ICF Mentoring as part of the coach training, you will be in groups of no more than ten (10) student coaches so class sizes are small. The ICF requires a maximum number of ten (10) students in a class if the program includes “official ICF mentoring hours.” Check the number of students in the class and ask if the program includes the mentor hours.
Does your coach training school offer courses that qualify for CEU credits beyond the basic coaching training?
Along with the ICF accredited coaching program, it is important to find out if you can continue your coaching journey with educators and mentors you trust. As you grow in your coaching journey, Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be required to maintain credentialing, plus additional skill sets make you a better, more equipped coach. Along with the CPLC program at CCI, we offer DISC, ICF Mentoring, Group Mastery Coaching and Business Development Courses.
These seven (7) questions are extremely important to consider in advance of choosing a school because you will be working with the instructors and coaches on a daily basis. And you want to be sure you will have an effective and successful relationship throughout the course of your program.
If you are interested in possibly attending Christian Coach Institute for your coaching training, I invite you to watch our free, no obligation webinar to learn more about this exciting profession and to get your questions answered before you enroll in any coaching program.
May you be blessed as you continue your journey into coaching and may GOD be glorified in your work.