According to research conducted by the University of Wollongong, coaching is integral to the success of a team. In fact, it shows that coaching has resulted in improvements in productivity, engagement and customer service. One manager reported that coaching led to an increase in output from 35% of the target to greater than 100% within 12 months. One organisation excelled customer service by 450% within five months of introducing manager coaching.
As shown above, coaching offers many benefits. But how do you go about finding the ‘right’ one when the market seems to be over-saturated with self-identified coaches?
A few months ago, I was awarded the Master of Science in Coaching Psychology. (I would like to thank my great lecturers Prof. Anthony Grant, Dr. Sean O’Connor and Dr. Michael Cavanagh who taught me what it takes to be a coach).
Many people have asked me why I would spend thousands of dollars on a degree that you literally don’t need. Good question. It is true. You don’t need a degree to be a coach.
You can literally wake up in the morning, decide to be a coach, charge money for it and nobody would care. Currently, there are no regulations that prohibit you from doing so. And many people are doing exactly that.
However, would you send your kids to a childcare, where the staff went on a two-day crash course in babysitting? Or would you send your children to a school, where teachers had no formal education but seemed to be ‘good enough’ teachers? I mean, everyone can teach, right? Or would you go and seek help from a couple therapist who has read a few of Freud’s books? Or would you be okay to be treated by a nurse who upskilled herself on how to obtain blood samples?
I am guessing the answer is no. When we seek help and support for us or for our loved ones in regards to our health and personal development (and probably in most areas of life), we want to work with professionals who have been properly trained and upskilled.
So why is it, that people spend good money on ‘coaches’ who have no proper education in the field? Of course, there are coaches out there with no formal education, who are seriously gifted and brilliant. Though, my hunch feeling is that they didn’t just decide to become a coach overnight. Instead, they bring years and years of experience and a deep dedication for learning. Again, my hunch feeling tells me that they are the exception and lots of ‘coaches’ in the market have never even read a coaching book. Let alone a psychology book. They capitalise on the lack of regulation but more so, on people in search of substantive counselling.
This is frustrating but more so, scary.
Why scary? I’ll give you an example.
In Australia, it is estimated each year that one in every five Australians will experience a mental illness. The chances that one of your coaching clients might suffer from a mental illness are high. Not being able to recognise a mental illness, failing to address it in a very considered and sensible way and failing to make a referral to a professional psychologist is dangerous and a coach can potentially do more harm than good.
This is one of the many reasons why a proper education in coaching is so important and that’s why myself and every single one of my fellow students decided to spend thousands of dollars on a proper education in coaching. It is simply the right thing to do.
People seeking help from a coach should receive the best possible support that is evidence-based, follows ethical standards and they should be assured to receive the right referral to a specialist if needed.
If you are looking to hire a coach, ask about their experience and education, ask for their ethical standards and even ask to speak to some of their clients. Ensure that you are in the right hands.