Coaching Mastery — is this a thing?

How do you recognize a masterful coach? I mean, really. Not in the sense of: “which hoops do I have to jump through to get an ICF MCC or EMCC MP designation. We all know how accrediting bodies try to “measure” mastery:

  • length of experience
  • number of coaching sessions
  • number of clients
  • coach education
  • taking a multiple choice test and submitting 2 recordings for assessment in relation to core competencies (ICF) or reflecting on your practice in relation to core standards and capability indicators, client feedback and contribution to the profession (EMCC)

However, there is 20 years of experience doing something wrong and coach education is not like coach education. The endeavors of the accrediting bodies are valiant in the face of the true complexity of coaching mastery and do help buyers of coaching make decisions, I don’t want to dismiss this: the imperfect solutions of the accrediting bodies are better than no solution. But do they describe mastery? I think there is more to it.

A masterful coach could master many different disciplines:

  • being able to coach different topics
  • being able to coach so that clients achieve their goals faster
  • being able to coach so that clients are enabled to reflect more deeply
  • being able to coach different sorts of clients
  • being able to coach in different industries
  • being able to coach in a beautiful way
  • being able to coach concisely and minimally
  • being able to coach in a way that is responsive and fluid

How do we use the word “masterful”? When do we say: “Wow, this was masterful!” and how does this matter to our clients? Can we even tell from one or two coaching sessions that the coach is a master coach?

I am sorry to be asking more questions than giving answers, but I think these questions are relevant for us when we are engaging in our own development as coaches. Reflecting on how we recognize our own growth toward mastery is a very useful exercise:

  • How will I recognize that I have grown as coach in one year’s time?
  • What will my clients notice?
  • What am I really good at that I can build on?
  • What am I really bad at and how could I get better?

If you want to reflect together with us, why not join us for one of our free coaching meetups and exchanges?