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Why more and more training won’t make you a better coach

18 September 2018 Anthony Eldridge-Rogers

Most coaches believe that good coach training is important. There′s no doubt that it is. It will help you get essential coaching skills that are crucial to effectively coaching a client. By adding good practice to that along with self reflective and supervision, you′ll get much of the rest of the way.

You′ve probably noticed many different coaching training programmes on offer and they promise new tools and ways to be a better coach. In addition, there′s been a rise in the number of university level courses in executive and business coaching.

I know coaches who invest large sums of money and time in these courses and almost without exception it′s not made them much better coaches. As a result, there′s no return on the investment they′ve made into this training. 

Why is that? 

It′s because the real value in coaching is not in knowledge of coaching theory or aptitude at using a tool. What people want and often don′t have is a certain kind of human connection that coaching allows and coaches can provide. 

Your knowledge is not what coaching is about. It is what the client knows and can learn about themselves that′s at the centre of the relationship. That′s what matters. 

Theory can actually be a barrier to engagement as it tempts a coach to theorise and diagnose which is not what they should be doing. If that′s not what a coach should do, then there′s no point in knowing it!

This may seem like a tough position to take because we′re all primed to think more is better and better means more. In fact the more courses you take, the more the returns diminish. It just can′t be an endless curve of improvement.

Clients don’t really care about endless letters after your name. 

Or do they? 

That′s a tricky one. People do tend to think that the more qualifications the better but in reality do the qualifications mean that person is a good coach? Maybe not. I′ve had quite a few coaches with degree level coaching education come through my training programme. Many of them were pretty bad at actual coaching. They could talk a good theory and debate well but couldn′t actually produce the coaching goods with a cross section of clients.

The real problem is that it is easier to retreat into theory (the head) than it is to stay in the emotions (the heart). To really connect with another human being we need high levels of EQ, confidence, compassion, communication skills and the ability to self manage. 

To coach we need all that and coaching skills. We need the least theory necessary to inform all the rest. Cluttering yourself up with endless coaching tools deflects you from the basics.

So next time you feel tempted to sign up for yet another course, ask yourself what am I going to gain from it?

Oh and if you are wondering what my courses are about, it′s simple. I cover two crucial topics. 

1. Human health as a key component of coaching

2. Meaning and purpose. How to develop it and live a life centred around it.