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Development of Coaches: VI. Does ICF Certification Make A Difference?

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Coaching and the Locus of Control

Each of these findings needs to be further verified and more carefully examined in future studies. There certainly are no results from these two surveys that can be taken as final (though some of them yielded differences that are significant at the .01 level of confidence). There does seem to be a pattern, however, that can lead us to a theme that I believe might be worth further discussion within the profession of coaching. This theme concerns the so-called “locus of control” to be found among respondents to the Development of Coaches Survey.

Substantial research has been done that suggests people differ with regard to the extent they have adopted an “internal” or “external” locus of control. Those who hold a bias toward an internal locus of control tend to believe that they have considerable control over (and accountability for) the actions they have taken as well as the environment in which they live (and have helped to create). Conversely, those with a bias toward external locus of control tend to believe that they have very little control over (and hence minimal accountability for) the actions they have taken or the environment in which they live. For those with an external locus of control, life seems to be in the hands of other people (authority) or other forces in their world (fate). The men and women who tend to embrace an internal locus of control are inclined to take responsibility for everything in their life. They are always putting in extra time and devoting extensive energy to getting everything “right.”

In examining the results obtained in this study, it would seem that those with ICF certification are more inclined toward an external locus of control, while those who are renegades tend to be inclined toward an internal locus. The certified coaches look to outside resources when preparing to be a coach and seek external verification (through ICF) regarding their own professional competence. They also might be more sensitive to their environment and might consider themselves to be more interpersonally-sensitive (personal authenticity) than are their more internally-focused colleagues without certification. The renegades, on the other hand, might (as their name implies) be loners who are “guided by their own star”, rather than relying on any external verification.

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One Comment

  1. Rey Carr

    December 30, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    What a terrific paper! And I’m not saying that because my name is spelled correctly or my ideas are accurately presented. The distinction between internal/external locus of control, the renegades/certified distinction, and the frontier town analogy are all stimulating and thought-provoking ideas.

    Reply

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