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Navigational Help for Executive Coaching’s Future

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Psychologists are known to say their understanding of behavior change processes and practices is more relevant to executive coaching success than graduate business training and practical experience. Not surprisingly, business-based coaches make the reverse claim.

The problem, however, is that buyers receiving these conflicting sales claims are perplexed about which background (business or psychology) actually is more relevant and valuable. They can be left with the unfounded idea – perhaps best described as a false dichotomy – that they have no option except to compromise and cast their lot with one set of skills and expertise, or the other.

Fortunately, consumers faced with what sound like ‘either-or’ decisions need not settle for confusion and less competent providers. Using the TEC4, they can raise the quality bar to where it should be by evaluating and identifying coaches with both skill sets.

Example 2 – Certification

Today an estimated 600 to 1000 programs globally offer coaches some form or basis of certification. These programs may meet any criteria for quality, including standards simply and conveniently defined in a homegrown ‘system’ created by a program itself. The inconsistent quality among hundreds of certifying organizations is no secret. After several decades, in many cases, being ‘certified’ or ‘self-certifying’ still takes little to no effort.

There have been positive developments and encouraging progress, however. Leading organizations such as the ICF, the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (WABC), and Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching (MGSCC) are globally respected and in some cases (e.g. the WABC) specialize in certifying business and executive coaches based on clear, extensive, and rigorous criteria.

Overall, certification steps, criteria and quality standards vary substantially, even at the master coach level. They range from credible – for instance, verifying a coach’s capabilities with written and observational tests of specific coaching knowledge and skills, and requiring certain levels of documented coaching experience and training, to questionable – for example relying on a coach’s application and client references without requiring documented experience and training, or written or observational tests of specific coaching knowledge and skills.

The TEC4 provides support for parsing excellent and lesser quality certification options. This helps coaches identify and invest in reputable programs, while also equipping consumers to confirm solid certification quality in candidate coaches.

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