Journey from Zero to ICF
Me: “Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about getting certified as a coach. I’ve always liked helping people grow and I feel that I’d be good at it.”
My friend: “Oh, I know a lady who’s a coach and she does coaching training as well. Maybe I can introduce you to her.”
And that’s how it all started.
To be honest, I didn’t really sign up after that initial introduction, but that’s a great thing about timing: had I signed up at that exact moment, I wouldn’t have had a chance to be a part of the Zero to ICF program. So, when I did reach out to Milena, an instructor at the Koucing Centar, several months later, it was just the right time.
Hi! My name is Snezana and I am an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) with the International Coaching Federation (ICF). I did all my coaching training with the Koucing Centar through the Zero to ICF program and I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity. It’s been a challenging process, but I’ve learned so much through it and had amazing support all the way through.
No special reason. See, the Zero to ICF program was just perfect for me for two reasons: 1) I had no idea what coaching exactly is. While I did have a vague notion of the concept, soon enough I learned that I was completely wrong about it. 2) I had even less knowledge of what ICF is.
Basically, I took a leap of faith that Milena and the Koucing Centar were the right people to train me to be a coach. Luckily, my hunch was good. Yes, I know that you’d say I should have done more research, but I did research the basics. However, I am a people person and Milena came recommended by a close friend, which was all I needed at the time.
Nonetheless, I am more than happy that I chose that specific program and ICF as a coaching institution. The Zero to ICF program is wonderful for people with very little (or zero) knowledge about coaching. You learn everything that you need to know about coaching, both in theory and practice. The instructors are great and you get so much support along the way.
As I started the training, I got to learn more about ICF. The ICF way of coaching is structured and methodical on the one hand, but creative and extremely flexible on the other. I really liked that combination even though it took lots of practice to get a hang of some aspects. In addition, as an ICF member, you get access to all their tools and knowledge to use for your practice.
There was a tiny part of me that thought I’d never make it because the list of requirements seemed so difficult to understand and it looked like a lot. Now I know that the reason I was feeling that way was because it was all new to me and it was just so overwhelming at the beginning.
However, as we made progress through the course, the requirements became clearer and easier to understand. Plus, it really helped that the Koucing Centar staff was always there to answer any question or concern.
The reason I thought I’d never make it was because of one particular requirement: 100 hours of practice. Let me write that again: 100 hours of practice! In other words, I had to coach people for 100 hours!! How in the world was I going to collect all those hours? Who’d want to work with me as a coach when I’m just starting out AND I’m not even certified?
Well, as you can probably tell, there were people who wanted to do it and once I got started, I was really motivated to get it done. I’m a goal-driven person and those 100 hours became my first marathon.
Now, if all of this sounds confusing to you, let me summarize the process for you: you need to get your training (60 hours), 100 hours of practice (you can do this as you do the training, don’t really have to wait until it’s over to start practicing), one video recording of a coaching session to send for evaluation, and you need to pass a knowledge test. All this to get certified. Piece of cake, right?!
Not really, but eventually, the list starts looking a lot less intimidating. My advice: just get started and take it one step at a time.
What Have I Learned?
My certification process (along with the training) took a whole year. First of all, the training lasted for about four months and then it took me an additional six months to get my hours and a good video recording of a session. The last two months were all about submitting the requirements and taking the test.
Here are some of my lessons learned:
100 hours of practice stop feeling like a mission impossible once you start looking at them as one hour at a time.
Learning to be a coach means learning how to help people improve and grow. It takes time to acquire that skill!! So cut yourself some slack and enjoy the process.
Seek help and advice every step of the way. There are people who are willing to help, not only because it is their job to do it, but because they truly want you to succeed.
Ask over and over again until you’re 100% sure you’re clear on the process, tool, concept, etc.
Volunteer for practice sessions. They’re a huge source of learning plus they help you get more comfortable with being a coach in the first place.
Connect with peers. You’re all in the same boat so why not help one another row in the right direction.
Use peer coaching sessions offered by the Koucing Centar. They’ve helped me a lot to collect the hours. BUT they’ve also helped me become a better coach and a better person because I was being coached as well. AND I’ve met so many amazing people through it!
Join Facebook and LinkedIn groups/communities. They will help you get to know other coaches, get answers to your questions, practice, learn and so much more.
You don’t need to know it all to get started, but you do need to be curious about it and learn along the way.
Personally, the entire process taught me to slow down and deal with one thing at a time. It taught me that no matter how insurmountable something seems, there’s always a path that leads to the top so long as you’re willing to search for it and then just keep walking all the way up. Finally, it taught me to seek help because there’s only so much we can do on our own.
This whole experience has been such a wonderful journey of self-discovery and personal and professional growth. Over the past year, I have developed and improved many skills, but I have also been helping others to grow.
So, if you feel like being a coach or acquiring coaching skills would make your life more inspiring, I greatly encourage you to pull the plug and just do it.
I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me as a coach and I am very excited for you to join the club.