On Mastery

3 min read

Author’s Disclaimer: Nothing in this article is true. It is a collection of the author’s perceptions, albeit perceptions that have served him well and in behaving as if they were true provided (in the author’s perception) a useful and productive version of “reality.”

Hours do not equal skill.

In my forties it was time to remove the accumulated flab of a decade of corporate travel, so I signed up for martial arts. A decade later I was ready to achieve the ultimate, a black belt. I was invited to attend a class I did not know existed: the black-belt-only class.

On+MasteryIt was there that I re-discovered being a beginner. Getting the black belt simply meant I had covered the basics. Now it was time to really start learning.

Yet up to that point I had still done good work. Long ago I had the satisfaction of putting my hand through a stack of concrete roof tiles. I could perform a decent kata. Even with basic skill you will do good work.

I had my basic coaching skills down, but I worried I wasn’t a good coach. I beat myself up for years before realizing that just being there and listening with no other intention than to help does help.
Like little grasshopper (for those of you old enough to remember David Carradine), by being consciously on the journey and seeking daily improvement you will do good work on the way.

I started on the credentialing ladder when my coaching log had enough hours for MCC. I found a mentor and realized I had much work to do even for PCC! Hours served did NOT equal skill.

Then came the challenge of making the shift to MCC. Like little grasshopper, the search to find someone who could explain coaching mastery in language that an ex-corporate manager could understand took me around the world.

My understanding (a perception that serves me) of what coaching mastery means is being totally in the moment and present, working at a deep level, and co-creating an environment where the client can achieve deep awareness and breakthrough.

You cannot be in a state of flow, listening and responding in the moment from your subconscious, if you are firmly in your conscious awareness figuring out the next “powerful question” or step in your model.

To quote the ICF, “The coach’s inability to move beyond standardized coaching questions or a standardized model will result in a score below the MCC level.”

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