A Spotter’s Guide to Coaches

Posted & filed under Blog, Executive Coaching.

  1. The “Gifted” Amateur

Appearance:

Beatific smile and upright posture denoting their superiority to the common herd of coaches who have been trained in coaching.

Most likely to say:

I’m a natural coach; I don’t need any qualifications – they interfere with real coaching. My life experience is what my clients value.

Qualifications: 

As above. The gifted amateur takes a perverse pride in not devoting time, effort and money to learning about their chosen profession.

Supervision Arrangements:

None – “I bow to no-one in the superiority of my life experience.”

What to ask:

How committed are you to being a professional coach?

I wouldn’t ask an unqualified mechanic to mend my car, why would I ask an unqualified coach to coach me?

2. The Bookworm

Appearance:

Thick glasses. Probably rather dusty. Looks tired from sitting up reading.

Most likely to say:

I’ve just read this great book – I’m sure it’ll help you.

Qualifications:

None (“Why should I go on a course, when I can have all this learning in my hands?”)

Supervision arrangements:

I often have a chat to my “community” on Amazon.

What to ask:

“What stops you going into the real world?”

  1. The Consultant

Appearance:

Male and Female: short grey hair, dark suit, white shirt, no tie. Female wears high heels.

Most likely to say:

“I offer business consultancy, organisational design, project work, I’ve just finished 6 months as an interim…..oh and I also do some coaching.”

Qualifications:

Six sigma black belt

Supervision arrangements:

Sometimes attends “peer to peer” supervision group (when other commitments allow).

What to ask:

How much coaching do you actually do?

  1. The Counsellor

Appearance:

Female – a nice dress. Male – jumper, shirt and trousers. Both genders look rather earnest.

Most likely to say:

“Corporate Britain needs me – just talking is so liberating.”

Qualifications:

Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling

Supervision arrangements:

Regular monthly session with counselling supervisor.

What to ask:

Have you got any coaching qualifications or experience?

  1. The Qualification Junkie

Appearance:

Careworn expression, scruffy, may not have washed (or eaten) for some time.

Most likely to say:

“I’d love to meet you but I’m on a course.”

Qualifications (just a sample):

  • Have a Six Figure Coaching Practice with the XYZ Method – Diploma
  • Master of the Order of the Integrated Brain (working towards Worshipful Master)
  • Neuropsychology – everything you need to know (1 hour webinar)
  • Counselling Foundation Course
  • Certificate in Business Therapy from the College for Human Progress (weekend course)
  • Acupuncture for Beginners (distinction)
  • Let understanding come – the universe will help you get promotion and money (multiple choice web-based test)
  • Fresh Air and Exercise (TM) – Adrenalin at Work (distance learning from the Nevada Pumping Heart Foundation)
  • Survival of the Fittest – Business Red in Tooth and Claw (Registered Practitioner)
  • Licenced to deliver: Who’s in your team? A NEW way to assess your people using wheels with different coloured segments

Supervision arrangements:

“I just get my current tutor to kind of supervise my coaching – he’s such a great guy and I’m learning so much about myself.”

What to ask the Qualification Junkie:

Has this person ever done any real coaching?

How self-focused is he or she?

  1. The Major

Appearance:

Male: smartly polished brown shoes, cavalry twill trousers, regimental tie, navy blue blazer.

Female: no females have been spotted, but they are believed to exist.

Most likely to say:

“What do you mean you can’t manage Bill – just get on with it.”

Qualifications:

Sandhurst + 25 years in the army.

Supervision arrangements:

“Lunch at my club with Biffo – he keeps me on the straight and narrow.”

What to ask the Major:

How much will the Major listen to you and your people?

What qualifies the Major to be a coach?

  1. The Auntie

Appearance:

Female: Large smock, lots of hair, square glasses hanging on a chain round her neck.

No Uncles are known to work as coaches, although there is some evidence that the Owl (number 8) may in fact be the male of the species.

Most likely to say:

“Now dear, you look a bit glum.”

Qualifications:

Diploma in Interpersonal Relations from the College of Personal Growth, Guildford

Supervision arrangements:

Support Group/ Book Club every month.

What to ask Auntie:

How commercial is she?

What’s that qualification?

How powerful is her supervision?

  1. The Owl

Appearance:

Male: Grey suit, grey hair, generally pretty grey.

Only apocryphal reports of female owls are known.

Most likely to say:

“That happened to me in the eighties – I’ll tell you what I did.”

Qualifications:

Chartered Banker, Chartered Accountant, in fact likely to be professionally qualified in anything except coaching.

Supervision arrangements:

I don’t need supervision – been there and done it.

What to ask the Owl:

Are you a mentor or a coach?

What coaching qualifications do you have?

Why don’t you have coach supervision?

  1. The Corporate Refugee

Appearance:

Male: casual Ralph Lauren shirt, pressed chinos, “statement” socks, brown loafers (he’s really NOT corporate but he wants to look as if he works in the City). More daring ones don’t shave every day.

Female: jeans, boots, crisp blouse. Accessories – large pendant and two, three or more long necklaces.

Most likely to say:

“I just felt SO stifled by my colleagues”

Qualifications:

Weekend course – It’s EASY to make £5000 PER DAY as a BUSINESS COACH!!!!!!! – run by The London Academy of Coaching Excellence and Personal Empowerment.

Supervision arrangements:

None: “Supervision just sounds so hierarchical – I left all that behind me”.

What to ask:

No supervision – how committed is this person to coaching and CPD?

How rigorous is their qualification?

  1. The New Ager

Appearance:

Both male and female wear “ethnic” clothing, sandals, and have what appear to be old pieces of string around wrists. Beads and a crystal round the neck. Dreadlocks optional.

Most likely to say:

“Don’t think about goals, let’s just “be” in this special time and place.”

Qualifications:

“I don’t believe in qualifications; I listen to the stones.”

Supervision arrangements:

Occasional “group happening” in a yurt on Dartmoor.

What to ask:

What qualifies you to be a coach?

How business-savvy are you?

  1. The Eager Beaver

Appearance:

Seems to be somewhere in his or her mid-teens. Both genders wear skinny jeans and have probably raided their grandparents’ wardrobes. Males may be making a brave attempt to grow a hipster beard.

Most likely to say:

“My quirky approach is just what you need – I come from a position of informed naivety”

Qualifications:

BSc Psychology

Supervision arrangements:

None – they thought coaching seemed like a good idea, but they don’t really know what it entails.

What to ask:

What will my people think of this one?

 

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