Is the la-la coach here to stay?

Three years later, I find myself with a kind of disassociation of who I am as a professional and the way I abandoned my crusade to make coaching a legitimate profession. I was and still are bothered by the la-la coaches, but if Federations, Associations, and educational institutes do not raise the bar, I am afraid the la-la coach is here to stay. I am painfully aware that I cannot eradicate the la-la coach by myself. Also, wonder if they are a blessing in disguise.

Let me sketch my la-la coach syndrome:

I have been “drawn” by coaching since late 1990’s. I “discovered” coaching when looking for a more efficient way to support my participants and students to own the learnings of the workshops and training they were following with me. To discover and develop their leadership style and apply it to work as well as at home.

I decided to be coached; then I trained to become a professional coach, then I got certified by the International Coach Federation — ICF. Meanwhile, I founded the Dutch chapter of the ICF and was president and driving force for almost 5 years. My motivation to spend all that time, money and energy was to support coaches to become professional coaches as well as educate the market.

I was the 1st ICF certified coach in The Netherlands. I held since 2004 a Professional Coach Certification — PCC. Coached over 3000 hours and mentor more than 50 professional coaches. I saw many coaches grandfathered (got a certification without going through the whole procedure) with an MCC — Master Coach Certification. I could not believe this practice and that is when I decided to volunteer at the ICF certification and accreditation commission — for 5 years (of which 3 years I was the Chair). Slowly ICF created a professional path for people to be certified and regain some confidence in the certification.

Never did I feel motivated to go for my MCC. For many reasons, but there were 2 that bothered me a lot. One I felt ICF was moving away from its members and could not understand that they need to change if they have a right to hold the word International in front of the rest of the name. The lack of global orientation still bothers me, but to be fair they have taken little steps to change.

The second reason, which is the one that weighs the heaviest is how among others, consultants all over the world have taken possession of the word coaching. In The Netherlands, there is an estimate of 150.000+ people who call themselves a coach. Only about 7% of these coaches are trained, and an even lower percentage is certified. People are marketing themselves as coaches on their websites, at conferences and networking events over 70% of the participants introduce themselves as coach.

I was so tired. I felt pushed aside by all these la-la coaches. I was fed up with the reaction: Ah, you ALSO are a coach. More than half of the room is a coach! — Financial coach, diet coach, life coach, executive coach, family coach, career coach, business coach, performance coach, skill coach, personal coach, motivational coach, life-balance coach, systematic coach, wealth coach, language coach, transactional coach, sales coach, marketing coach, reiki coach, communication coach, team coach, leadership coach, relational coach, fitness coach, weight watchers coach. The worst one I ever saw was: Coach Wayne Corey — Making women want you, coach…

People… following a 4-hour workshop, or hanging a “coach in the house” door notice, does not make you a coach!

I started to compare my quality and qualifications as a coach with the world that was surrounding me. Clients were complaining about the quality of coaching and that they had no idea how to select a coach. That prompted me to write a series of articles on coaching: how to hire a coach, what is coaching versus what is professional coaching, wrote a book — Congratulations You Hired a Coach. Also, I started services to support coaches to become professional coaches. Also got a Mentor coach certification. Found it hard to get people into my coaching mentor programmes. In my marketing research I found out that coaches do not spend money on training for various reasons: they are not professional coaches, therefore, see no use of spending money on coach training subjects, or only trendy themes attract coaches. How it is that la-la coaches want to charge high amounts to their clients and do not feel compelled to professionalize?

Disillusioned, one day I decided to erase the word coaching from my business. Changed aNDE Training & Coaching for aNDE Leadership Solutions on Demand. I was not offering coaching services any longer: I was offering blended-learning solutions. I stopped volunteering for ICF and only occasionally I was mentoring coaches who wanted an ICF certification. I felt I was in a tight spot, on the one hand abdicating for coaches to become professional coaches and on the other hand explaining myself to the vast majority of people rampaging the coaching profession. So, I just jumped out of the bus and wished for the best.

Three years later, I find myself with a kind of disassociation of who I am as a professional and the way I abandoned my crusade to make coaching a legitimate profession. I was hiding a part, an important part of who I am, by putting the coach in me in the closet. The making up of services that were not supporting my vision — the vision of professional coaching. The looking for a new word that would cover the word and concept of coaching without referring to the word coaching. My family started to complain that I was showing disassociation behaviour and that it was not only affecting me. So after my mother’s death and a short sabbatical, I came to the conclusion that I need to reclaim ME. Reclaim my power as a professional coach. One that believes there is a difference between a professional and certified coach and a la-la coach.

Not much has changed, I was and still are bothered by the la-la coaches, but if Federations, Associations and educational institutes do not raise the bar, I am afraid the la-la coach is here to stay. I am painfully aware that I cannot eradicate the la-la coach by myself. Wonder if they are a blessing in disguise. What I am going to do is reclaim my power, my identity and my purpose of educating as many people as possible regarding the Profession Coaching.

I have started by surrounding myself with like-minded people, start stirring the conversation again, letting people know that Edmée the coach is back. She is back as the Professional Coach and Mentor for Professional Coaches. I want to create conversations among professional coaches and share information about (and then with) the different coach organisations. I want to only work with people who want to become professional and certified coaches. I have started the process of applying for a Masters Coach Certification — MCC, at the ICF, but also looking at other coach organisations like the International Coach Association. Also, I am letting my clients know that I am the professional coach to work with if they want to develop leadership, effective teams and learn how culture impacts their organisations and people.

If you want to join the conversation about Professional coaching or want to be coached by a professional coach just contact me. Coaches let’s start taking responsibility and let people know that coaching is a profession and as such coaches need to be trained, certified, follow codes of ethics and continue education, supervision and mentoring.

As a professional coach, how do you let people know you are a professional coach?

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