Excerpted from my regular column as published in, and reproduced with permission from, choice, the magazine of professional coaching. The column is called “Sticky Situations” and in each issue three master coaches respond to a scenario presented by another colleague seeking guidance.
Sticky Situation: How do I decide which courses and tools to focus on? “I am relatively new to coaching and have some fairly basic tools and techniques at my disposal. However, I’m constantly being inundated with sales pitches for courses, certifications, tools, assessments, etc. It can be overwhelming and even demoralizing. How do I ensure that I make the right choices? I don’t have money or time to waste, but I want to be the best coach I can be for my clients.
How do I decide which courses, tools, etc. to focus on?”
Answer: It’s most important for you to step back and determine
your path, your purpose and your big picture. If you’re a
life coach, your choices will be different than if you’re an
external executive coach, or an internal corporate coach,
business coach, relationship coach, or leadership coach.
Each specialty needs different tools, courses, certifications,
etc. The courses, tools, groups and networks you’ll choose
will have as much to do with your industry or specialty focus
as with your intended market. First decide where you’re going,
then craft a map to get there.
There’s also the question of whether or not to go for a
credential in addition to your training and certification as a
coach. Much of that has to do with your intended clients and
the norms or expectations in their industry and geographic
location. What does a credential mean to you? Do you need it
to do the work you wish to do in the world? Is it a symbol of
high standards of excellence? Does it express your commitment
to the profession? Does it even matter at all to you?
If you’re coaching everybody on everything, then every
course, tool, book, webinar and association seems a match,
and you’ll remain in overwhelm. Explore the following questions
to help you focus:
- Why did you become a coach?
- Who do you want to coach?
- What results will you help them to produce?
- What matters to your ideal clients regarding your skills,
tools, knowledge and pedigree as a coach?
- Do you need certain certifications or courses to best
serve your ideal clients?
- What courses, tools, associations, networks, books,
webinars and resources give you energy and align with
Once you know where you’re going, you might consider
these trusted resources to guide you further:
1. Coaching Is Calling: A guide to coach training programs
and professional career paths, by Lauren B. Weinstein
This book is for those new to coaching or considering
becoming a coach. It includes well-researched content,
worksheets, reflections, and resources to help as you begin
your coaching journey. www.coachingiscalling.com/
2. Peer Resources Network, by Rey Carr
This online directory offers a wealth of coaching resources
including literature, coach training programs, perspectives on
certification, associations and networks, and much more.
3. Library of Professional Coaching
An online, free set of resources associated with professional
coaching. It’s been referred to as “the Huffington Post of
coaching” and has a searchable database of high-caliber
Whatever you choose, it is important to follow your own path
and trust your inner wisdom about what will serve you best,
rather than succumbing to the seduction of multitudes of sales
pitches for courses, tools, materials and certifications that you
may not need. Only YOU know what’s best for you!