The importance of community as we build and sustain our coaching practices.
Coaching can be a lonely business. We go through coaching training. We finish our classes. The assignments and collaboration start winding down and suddenly, we see ourselves struggling to push forward without much energy around.
When this happens, it is easy to lose momentum and focus. Our commitment can still be strong, but somehow, it becomes more and more difficult to keep going.
We can have the support of our family and friends, but naturally, it is hard for them to help us come up with the ideas and innovation needed to maintain our practices. Even though their support is crucial, they are not coaches, and therefore, they don’t have enough knowledge of the industry to help us with the specifics we need.
As an internal coach, this can be even harder. If we are not a part of a cohort, continuing with the developmental plans and promoting the coaching opportunities within the organization can become a mammoth endeavor. Co-workers are busy with their own projects. They don’t have the time and again, the expertise to support us in our initiatives.
That is why coaches need community. It is virtually impossible to build and sustain a healthy and robust practice without being connected with a group of other coaches. Regardless of how determined we are, it is a lot easier when we tap into the power of a group.
In community, we can inspire each other, cross-pollinate, build accountability, continue to be current in what is happening in the industry, and even benefit from a little peer pressure.
Here, the purpose is not to directly get clients. Connecting with other coaches, will not necessarily bring us business straight away. But we must look beyond the immediate reward. Being in community builds excitement. It brings us to imagine new possibilities, and the encouragement to try something, to take that extra step and most importantly, to persist.
And this can be just the secret ingredient we need to succeed.
In my own practice, everything changed when I became an active member of my local ICF chapter. And I want to emphasize the word “active”, which means, I was not simply attending sporadic programs, but I volunteered to be a member of committees and board positions. I never got a single client from these gigs, but seeing what other coaches were doing, noticing the growth and development of our profession (eventually even being a part of this development), made all the difference in my energy, approach, and presence.
Another major point was when I started taking some training opportunities that eventually brought me to a faculty position at Coach U and later to become an assessor for the ICF. To this day, this connection keeps me current in my skills and with what is happening in the industry. Other coaches know they can come to me to find out details and the latest in the coaching industry. As an assessor and faculty member, I learn from my peers every single day, and this gives me confidence, reputation, and the excitement to keep going.
And isn’t this the primary reason why it is so important to become a member of the ICF and to seek certification? When we show up to the marketplace as an ICF member, we are saying that we have more than 46,000 other coaches from all corners of the world, backing us up and making our practices more legitimate, reliable, and effective. This fact alone, makes me so proud of what we as a community accomplish every day, everywhere around the world.
Whether you are a brand-new coach or someone who has been around for a while, I would encourage you to reach out, join or build your circle of coaches, contribute to each other’s growth, create partnerships, and always be open to learn more from your peers.
As a mentor coach, I am always giving feedback to my students and mentees helping them develop their coaching skills and prepare for their certification with the ICF. ForCoaches is a place where I can publicly share some of my insights and experiences. What does it mean to be a truly effective coach?