Coaching is a unique service which shouldn’t be confused for consulting, therapy, training, or mentoring. The International Coach Federation defines life coaching as the process of partnering with clients in a creative and thought-provoking process aimed at inspiring clients to maximize their potential. ICF coaching seeks to establish and honor the client as the expert in their own life. An ICF certified coach must, therefore, honor the resourcefulness and creativity of their clients. The main objectives of a life coach:
- To discover what the client wants and align to it accordingly
- To encourage the client on the path of self-discovery
- To inspire client-generated solutions
- To be an accountability partner for the client
In most cases, clients know what they want to achieve and may even know how to achieve their goals. They do not hire a life coach in order to be told what to do or how to do it; they are looking for a support system and an accountability partner. This is what ICF coaching is all about. ICF certified coaches are trained not to be know-it-alls. They are trained to ask insightful and powerful questions that inspire their clients to make decisions on the best way forward. Life coaching, therefore, helps the client to seek deep within their hearts for solutions that will work.
Benefits of ICF Coaching for Professionals
The world’s top companies have embraced the power and effectiveness of life coaching. Examples of companies that have leveraged life coaching to attain their organizational goals include Verizon, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Nike, and IBM. These companies use life coaching to increase employee satisfaction, which ultimately improves their output. Coaching shifts the organizational culture from the traditional command and control environment to collaboration and creativity. Through coaching, the generational gaps are closed, thereby increasing engagement. On a personal level, professional coaching helps the individual to develop a healthier perceptive towards their personal issues and goals. Coaching also helps to boost their confidence, especially as it pertains to the decision-making process. The following are some of the key benefits that organizations obtain from professional ICF coaching.
ICF professional coaching helps professionals to maximize their potential by unlocking their latent productivity sources. A recent report by the ICF revealed that professional coaching helps employees to improve their performance at work by 70 percent.
There can be a lot of negativism and disillusionment in the working environment. Some employees think of quitting, while others keep hopping from job to job in the pursuit of happiness and fulfillment. Professional coaching can help to build employee self-confidence, which goes a long way to helping employees deal with real-life challenges at the office. This helps them to maintain an attitude of positivity even if they are not in the best of working environments.
Return on investment
According to a study completed by the ICF, 86 percent of the companies that invested in professional ICF coaching say they made back their investment. Life coaching generates clarity and learning, which helps employees to be more forward thinking while committing to outcomes that are measurable. This improved efficiency eventually pays off for the company.
This is perhaps the most important benefit of ICF coaching. The same report that showed that 86 percent of companies get their ROI on professional coaching also observed that 99 percent of clients that hire ICF certified coaches are happy with the overall experience. This amazing rate of customer satisfaction is arguably why the life coaching industry has grown so drastically in such a short time.
A good number of modern day organizations have appreciated the value of building coaching cultures in their organizations in order to offer every employee in the organization a chance to develop their skills and ultimately enhance their value. Organizations that have strong coaching cultures set themselves apart from their competition in a number of ways. Studies show that 77 percent of human resource professionals observe that they have to battle with change constantly. Because humans are naturally resistant to change, this can be a harrowing exercise. Creating a coaching culture in your organization can help your company to easily navigate the murky waters of change management.
Why Go for ICF Coaching?
The International coach federation was established in 1995 and has now grown to over 27,000 members worldwide. The federation has a presence in over 135 countries. This makes it the largest non-profit organization of life coaching experts. The four core values of ICF are what makes ICF coaching really unique. These four values are:
- Integrity – The ICF ensures that the highest standards are upheld, not just in the ICF fraternity but also by all life coaches that are ICF certified.
- Excellence – Excellence is a priority for the ICF. As such, life coaches are expected to pursue professionalism and quality. In order to ensure this happens, ICF insists on minimum core competencies and qualifications.
- Collaboration – The ICF believes in co-created achievement. This can be seen in the emphasis they place on collaborative partnerships amongst their certified coaches. The coaches must use this value when working with their clients to ensure they are not posing as teachers but rather as facilitators that will encourage collaboration.
- Respect – Inclusivity and mutual respect are of utmost importance to the ICF. The ICF coach is trained to put people first and the standards of quality shouldn’t be compromised.
Being ICF certified is not a requirement for you to start your life coaching practice. But it is definitely the best way to start your life coaching business. ICF certified coaches have undergone training that equips them with the life coaching core competencies. This means they are properly prepared to take on any life coaching challenge they might have to deal with in their professional practice. What makes the ICF unique is its dedication to continually improving the coaching profession. They do this by doing the following:
Setting high standards
The ICF is the gold standard in coaching. The high moral and professional standards that are set by the ICF help to eliminate quacks from the coaching practice. Clients can count on getting value for their money when they engage an ICF coach.
The ICF doesn’t train life coaches, but it provides program accreditation to schools that offer life coach training. The idea is to ensure the course content is good enough to prepare life coaches that can actually help their clients. ICF program accreditation is a rigorous process so no accredited school will rest on their laurels but will keep ensuring they offer quality training.
Independent certification programs
The first step in getting ICF certified is taking an ICF accredited course. The ICF then outlines stringent requirements to meet, including a minimum number of paid coaching hours that must be logged before getting the certification. ICF certification provides some barrier to entry in order to filter out the chaff in the life coaching practice.
A worldwide network of ICF certified coaches
ICF certified coaches network with other certified coaches at various networking events near their zip codes or overseas. These events allow the coaches to learn from each other and grow their respective businesses and careers.
As an ICF coach, you will become more recognized and accepted by clients. That’s because the ICF has successfully proven to clients that they can be trusted to be the mark of quality in life coaching. Research shows that 85 percent of the clients expect their life coach to be ICF certified. While it is true that you can start a coaching business without any certification, it will greatly reduce your chances of succeeding at it.
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