A road to ACC- Daniela Baur

Posted On Feb 08, 2023 |

Coaching contributes to building a completely new mindset

We are more than happy to have the opportunity to interview Daniela Baur - ICF Associate Certified Coach. Starting with a title and official role of the Coach in her company, but without professional coaching experience, Daniela completed the required education, collected hours, passed the new ICF exam, and gained an ACC credential in a year.

Read about Daniela’s story, the challenges she overcame, advices she is sharing, and if you are amazed with her success as we are – be free to find Daniela on LinkedIn and connect.

How would you describe the start of your coaching journey?

I live in Victoria, Canada. I have been a licensed optician for more than 14 years, helping people to buy glasses that best meet their aesthetic and vision needs. In 2019 I was promoted to the position of Practice Coach with FYidoctors, Canada. The company had adopted the coaching model of management a few years earlier. I did not know anything about coaching, yet I had to coach my team while managing the clinic’s operations and using my “old school” life experience. A year later, the big Covid19 lockdown happened and it felt like the whole world turned upside down. The online presence blossomed and created more opportunities for work, education, and influence. There was so much uncertainty – about everything – health, work, finances, and future. I decided to enroll in some coaching training, but finding the right for me was a challenge, because – a lot of “coaches” popped up.

How you chose Koucing centar (considering your residence country and the challenge with time zones)?

I started googling the words “coach”, “coaching” and I came across the ICF as an international body for accreditation and certification. I read the requirements and realized that certain hours of accredited education were required.

ICF had a list of education providers. I started with Canadian schools and one of the problems I encountered was that the classes were during my business hours. I was not in a position to take time off work. As a native Bulgarian, I started looking for educators in Eastern Europe listed on the ICF website. And this is how I came across the Koucing Centar. I thought – Oh, maybe I can brush up on my Serbian language skills. To my nice surprise, the classes were offered in English. And because we were in a different time zone, I was able to participate. It was challenging because the classes started at 7 am, I had to be ready to do some mental work so early in the morning. The peer-to-peer coaching sessions were early in the morning, too.

It seems as program Zero2ICF was perfect for you?

For me, the program Zero to ICF was exactly what the title says – from zero - no clue at all what coaching is, to passing the ICF knowledge exam. The combination of theoretical and hands-on training, provided by the trainers is perfect for acquiring coaching skills in a 3 months time period. I was assigned a buddy – a member of the Koucing Centar team to assist me in every step of the process and answer any questions I had regarding the preparation for the accreditation. I was also assigned a mentor to help me develop and perfect my coaching skills by listening to and assessing recordings of coaching sessions I provided and giving me feedback. As with any school, relying on school materials is not enough. There was much work I had to do to prepare for the CKA, including watching coaching demonstration videos with an explanation of the ICF competencies. If you don’t apply in practice what you learn in theory, the knowledge evaporates quickly. That explains the minimum coaching hours required before sitting the exam.

Can you describe the preparation process in more detail for all of the colleagues who will take the new exam this year?

As it happened, I was of the first ones to take the new knowledge exam. There are no mock exams out there except one of a few questions posted on the ICF website. The recommendation was to study ICF’s Code of Conduct and Competencies, which is great advice. The new exam consists of about 86 questions. Each question is a description of a case and has 2 correct answers amongst 4 options to choose from– what is the best the coach can do and what is the worst the coach can do in this situation. Sometimes it is clear which is the worst one, and sometimes it is clear which is the best one. But in most questions, I had to choose the best one from a few options that looked good to me and the worst one from a few which were quite bad. What helped me was the advice I got while I was preparing for the exam to keep the focus on the coachee. When your attention is on the circumstances or the coach or leading to a solution to the problem, then the answer will be wrong.

What are your key insights and learnings from the process of enrolling to training to gaining a credential?

The process made me think that coaching requires a completely different mindset, something we don’t grow up with. By nature, we are self-centered and always turn the conversation's focus on ourselves. We have been told what to do since we were little. Thus we are quick to give advice. This discovery helped me a lot in my work as a Practice Coach. I ask my teammates for their opinions, spend more time listening to what they have to say, and pay attention to their feelings and challenges. I am enabling them to develop their potential. I do my best to make them feel valued and important. The training I received from the Koucing Centar on team coaching helped me see the team as a whole unit, made of many parts of equal value, assembled together, and interdependent.

What would be your message for all people considering starting their own coaching journey?

For those who think to take the road to ICF, I would recommend a training program that provides not just the training but also holding your hand through the whole process – a one-stop shop. I personally needed a lot of help. I am thankful to Jelena Pavlovic, PhD, PCC who explained during our discovery call how the Zero to ICF program works. The Koucing Centar has amazing educators – Tijana Karaklic, ICF ACC, Milena Nikolic, ICF PCC, Marijana Racic, ICF PCC, Dunja Milankovic-Poznic, ICF ACC, who hosted the classes and later the group mentoring sessions, which are also required by the ICF. I really appreciate my coach buddy – Adrijana Milosavljevic, ICF PCC, who answered so many questions I had – from how to collect coaching hours to how to put together my exam application. I can’t emphasize enough how grateful I am to Snezana Djuric, ICF ACC, and Anastasija Andric, ICF ACC, for partnering with me in peer-to-peer coaching sessions on their evenings and weekends instead of relaxing and spending time with their families. We walked together on the path from Zero to ICF.

I would encourage the future ICF-certified coaches to listen to the demo coaching sessions of Lyssa deHart, LICSW, MCC, BCC, and read the books – Coaching Psychology Constructivist Approaches by Jelena Pavlovic; Coach the Person not the Problem by Marcia Reynolds, PsyD, MCC; Laser Focused Coaching by Marion Franklin, MS, MCC, BCC.

Tell us more about your future steps in coaching and further development.

As an ICF ACC, I continue learning and developing my coaching skills and implementing what I have already learned. The certification is a journey of self-discovery, self-development, and helping others reach their potential and not a destination. It opens the doors to different worlds, meeting people from different cultures and opportunities to influence and bring light in the darkness. The coaching sessions provide a safe environment to open your heart, and express your feelings and thoughts without the fear of being judged or intimidated. If you want to be a coach, you need to be coachable and to never stop developing.