Initially, two coach training schools provided the training education I needed to become a coach. The second school was a year-long program, at the end we had to coach the instructor or another instructor in the school. I felt confident that I knew my subject and had good success coaching my clients…but I was nervous. Prior to the exam, I practiced, prepared, understood the process of the coaching conversation and knew the 11 Core Competencies (International Coach Federation) pretty well. However, nothing prepared me for the anxiety that I felt during the exam.
I wanted to do well. I wasn’t confident that I would.
I passed my exam, but I didn’t feel like I knocked it out of the park or made a life changing impact on my Instructor. That’s when I made a commitment to never stop learning and training.
Last week, I attended the Evercoach Summit in Southern California. If you’ve been a student of mine, you know that there’s a high value placed on continuing to hone your coaching skills. You may have gone through a coach training program, but that’s just the place to start, not a place to stop. You may know your coaching “stuff” but there is always more to learn.
After working with hundreds of coaches, it’s the ones who kept learning that actually turned their training into work they enjoy.
This is important because it takes time for you to develop your own way of coaching people to breakthrough success or to help them experience the transformation that they want for their lives. By experiencing and watching the masterful coaching of those who have gone before you, you will learn what is possible in your coaching interactions.
The “Invest in yourself” concept is not new. I clearly aware that I’m not giving you earth shattering revelation here, what I am giving you is an upfront reminder that you must keep learning and investing in your skills so that you can help the people you are called to help. They are important, but for the purposes of this most I must say YOU more important.
Matthew Jackson of Solid Wealth Advisors says it this way:
“Read as many books as you can and attend conferences that support your growth,” says Jackson. “More importantly, be sure to apply the best advice to your daily life. Few things can land you an increase in pay or new opportunity quicker than highly developing your skills.”
When you invest in yourself, you simply cannot lose. If you’re in your 20’s, it’s still not too late to go back to school, earn an important certification that could advance your career, or start over in an industry you’ve always admired.
Investing in yourself is not something you do just when you are in your 20’s. Investing in yourself is something you should be doing throughout your entire lifetime.
In terms of being the best you can be, I believe everyone and anyone can benefit from increasing their personal and professional skills. We all benefit from being better communicators, educators, listeners, empathizer’s, planners, organizers, critical thinkers, and innovators.”
Jackson’s article was written to his financial planning audience, but his advice is not limited to them it’s for you too! The more you take the time to invest in your own professional growth and knowledge as a coach the better you will become at what you do. You’ve heard this probably a million times but it’s worth repeating, especially for coaches and leaders. We never stop learning and growing, in fact it’s the ones who don’t invest in themselves that I shy away from.
More importantly, you will be able to support your clients when they seek to explore ways to invest in themselves.
This is where I could tell you how investing in yourself will pay off and lots of other stuff.
But what really matters most about investing in yourself?
It will make you a better coach who can more deeply and powerfully serve your clients. Do it for you, do it for them. Learn from those who have gone before you. As I write this, I’m looking around my work space at a stack of at least 15 books. Some, I’ve read once, others look battered and beat up because I’ve gone back to them many, many times. I learn from great teachers. Interestingly enough, not all of them are coaching books. There’s one called Unstoppable, the inspiring story of Nick Vujicic, the man who travels around the world giving hugs and speaking to thousands of people. He has an incredible life, beautiful wife, baby oh…and no arms or legs. From Nick, I learn to be resilient.
There’s also a book called Seven Thousands ways to Listen by Mark Nepo, from this book I’m reminded that listening is the best gift I can give my client or anyone in my life. Of the coaching books there is The Completely Revised Handbook of Coaching by Pamela McLean, and Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott (if you’re a mentor student you know how I love Fierce Conversations, thanks Susan for the work you’ve done!)
Every time a new client sits in front of you they bring a unique view of how they are experiencing life. Your education, knowledge, wisdom and insight can help facilitate deeper learning for them.
Two questions for you? What are you doing to advance your coaching skills? I really want to know.
And, what are you reading? What’s on your bookshelf right now?
Yes, it’s takes time and money to attend coaching conferences or to work with a mentor coach. I’ve had several coaches and have learned from each one. Before putting the mask on others, it is a good idea to put it on myself first. There is always something new to learn.
Invest in yourself, you and your clients are worth it!