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Choosing the right coaching programme

For more than 10 years ago, there was hardly any choice if you wanted to enrol for a coaching programme.

Today, however, we are spoilt for choice with the many local and foreign coaching programmes available that use all kinds of methods, be it face-to-face, distance learning or a combination of both. Plus they come in a wide range of fees, from as high as Bt500,000 to less than Bt100,000.

The purpose of this article is to educate you on how to get the highest value for your money and prevent you from getting fleeced by unethical coach-learning providers who over-claim or misrepresent what they say they can offer. Here are some considerations you need to take into account.

ACCREDITED COACHING BODY

Choose one that is solidly established and globally recognised. Taking one that is not well recognised means you will end up being poorly trained or will not get the business opportunities that are out there as clients often have knowledge of what kind of coaches they are looking for. Ask questions such as, "When was it established? How many member coaches are there and where the are coaching chapters in the world?" Always use the International Coaching Federation (ICF) (www.coachfederation.org) as a benchmark to compare coaching with them.

ACCREDITED COACHING PROGRAMMES

You need to be very careful here. Do not get quickly impressed or be deceived by the programme title. Check thoroughly whether any accredited status has been extended to the coaching programme as claimed. If you are considering an ICF coaching programme, take note that there are two main types: the intermediate, which is the Certified Associate Coach, backed by the ACSTH status, and the ultimate type, which is the Certified Professional Coach, backed by the exclusive ACTP status.

Here are the differences between the two types. Firstly, the ACSTH status is a partial accreditation that requires the student to sit for an external examination after completion of the programme, while the ACTP is a full accreditation that provides direct access to the ICF credential without the need for any further examination. Secondly, verify whether the programme with ACSTH has 60 hours of learning and the ACTP has 131 hours of learning.

The quickest way to find out whether their claim is genuine is to check it out on the ICF website. Ask questions, such as: "How many student contact hours are there? What is the basis? Can I get my ICF credential without taking any more ICF administered exams?"

LEARNING METHODS

If you are paying a lot of money for your coaching programme, it makes good "business sense" that you get more hours done on face-to-face basis than through distance learning like via teleconferencing via Skype, webinar or other channels. Remember the most effective way to being a good coach is through face-to-face learning where critical skills such as listening, observing, questioning and connecting skills are best acquired through this means and lesser through the others. Ask questions such as: "What is the percentage of face-to-face learning compared to distance learning methods? What percentage of this is through supervised coaching practice? How big is the group? What is the timing of the classes?"

LEARNING SUPPORT

Getting practical coaching hours through peer-coaching sessions with other students is required. Your peers should be easily available, accessible and in good supply as well so that you do not have difficulties getting them. Look for coach-learning providers who are well-established with a strong structure and have a large base of coach-students for peer coaching, a team of supporting staff who can attend to your needs immediately and a continuous learning infrastructure where you have various learning activities to speed up your skills and knowledge acquisition. Ask questions such as: "What is your set up like? Who takes care of my learning needs? Can I pay a visit to your office? Do you provide continuous learning support? Do I have the backing of a coach community where I can network and cross-learn from?"

PRICE

This is subjective as many factors are involved. They vary due to the strength of its branding, type and quality of accreditation, effectiveness in learning delivery, reputation and track record of the coach-trainer's reputation, etc.

You should not be blinded by low-priced offers nor should you pay more than

what is required. Ask questions,

such as: "What is the basis for your fees? Why is it higher [or lower] than XYZ? What is your uniqueness? What extras can I get?"

It pays to do your due diligence so that your journey to become a good coach is smooth and is not disrupted by unnecessary pitfalls that could be avoided when you are careful about things that matters a lot to your success.

Corporate Coach Academy is a coaching school in Asia certifying leaders of all backgrounds to become manager-coaches or professional certified coaches in this region. Log in to www.corporate-coachacademy.com or e-mail contact@corporate-coachacademy.com for details.


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