Today was exam day, the last day of the coach certification programme at the the Insitute of Coaching (IDC), where I teach. It consists of a full day of examinations, with written exams in the morning and supervised coaching sessions in the afternoon. We hold two certification programmes a year so I experience this ritual passing over a threshold every end of January and end of June. It’s a very special day that holds mixed feelings for both students and faculty.
The students start off the day with apprehension, their body language expresses a range of feelings from downright anxiety, to determination and focus. As they go through each examination questions, they lay down their ideas about coaching (and their stress), the very act of articulating their views in an exam paper is a creative process in itself that through reflection and insight helps them positively transform their inner state. Before starting the afternoon test, I invite them to take some minutes to center and mindfully create their intention for the supervised coaching session where, in spite of it being an exam, the interest of the coachee primes above everything. At the end of this second part of the exam, the students have been both coach and coachee, so spirits are high, not to mention the relief of having finished the exam and – if all goes well – completed the certification programme.
Time for celebration, we share a moment around a drink and extend best wishes to all until the result of the exams come through a month later. I’m practically certain that we’ll all meet again for the graduation ceremony! I never tire of exam day, it’s the culmination of the efforts made by our students towards becoming a Certified Professional Coach. They are mostly already accomplished professionals, who put in many hours of learning and practice to add this new skillset – being a coach – to their existing competences.
They learn during the course that it is actually much more than acquiring skills and tools, coaching is a transformative process that changes the practicing coach to start with, and then provides the means for change to occur in clients. As they master the art of holding coaching conversations, aspiring coaches stretch beyond their current worldview to embrace a new mindset, that is open to infinite possibilities, and that holds a space for coaching clients to grow and realize their potential. Coaching is extremely rewarding, …. teaching people to coach is almost unbeatable !