Welcome! If you found this page, you either inquired directly to us about becoming a coach, or were conducting research on your own.

Coach is a broad term that cannot be trademarked, so you will likely encounter a wide variety of opinions about its definition and application within the world of the work. An explainer about what coaching is (or isn’t) can be found on our website: https://agilekata.com/coaching/  — in short coaching isn’t:

  • Consulting/Problem Solving
  • Mentoring
  • Therapy – while a client’s historical context may be useful, we are not excavating and working with the past, just understanding it to help the client move forward

We are aligned with the International Coach Federation (ICF); any coaching done by an ICF accredited/certified coach must meet their ethical standards. If you are interested in becoming a coach, please start by reading the ICF Code of Ethic and begin to examine what interactions in your daily work may or may not be coaching — Pat Flynn explores this on an episode of his Smart Passive Income Podcast. John also discusses some leadership distinctions for Agile Coaches/Practitioners on the Agile Path Podcast #2.

For anyone considering becoming a coach, we always recommend they read the book On Becoming a Leadership Coach, an ensemble book from Georgetown University’s Coaching Program, where each chapter is written by a different practitioner who has depth in that topic. It’s a great orientation to the work of being an advocate for people, and developing a toolbox of skills to help them develop and change.

If you choose to pursue an ICF certification, we strongly recommend you focus on the ACC-level, and immediately join ICF to start building your coaching log. In addition to training, you will need 100 hours to apply for certification, which will take longer than you expect. While the PCC does not require much more training than the ACC, it will likely take years to accumulate 500 hours on your coaching log.

ICF maintains a list of accredited coach training programs on their website: https://coachfederation.org/icf-credential/find-a-training-program/. We are frequently asked for a short list of coaching programs to recommend, and while there are many great ones out there, here are the ones we know personally and stand behind:

  • Georgetown University – As mentioned above, publishes On Becoming a Leadership Coach, and has a highly reputable coach training program, best be characterized as a survey of coaching.
  • New Ventures West – James Flaherty / Integral Coaching
  • Newfield Network – Julio Olalla / Ontological Coaching
  • Coach Training Institute – Co-Active Coaching
  • International Coach Academy – ICA has been delivering ICF Accredited Coach Training since 2001 and has developed a philosophy and training framework that will equip you with the necessary skill to coach anyone, anywhere in the world.
  • Presence-Based Coaching – Doug Silsbee’s thought leadership integrates mindfulness, presence, and somatics. John and Shawn both attended PBC for their ICF certification. Doug has written several useful books including The Mindful Coach and Presence Based Coaching:

What to Expect from Coach Training

Any coach training program will challenge you to self-reflect, set and achieve goals, just as a coach would expect their client to. While there will be reading and learning, what makes these programs challenging for most people is the deep self-work where you are challenged every day to meet yourself and generate new awareness. This is not the sort of program you should rush to complete (indeed the learning happens during the journey), nor is it something like a full time MBA or law school where you should not be working and focus 100% on your studies. Your daily work-life presents numerous opportunities to practice your new awareness and skills.

Try Before You Buy

We STRONGLY encourage you to sample your short-list of coach training programs before committing to one. Most have introductory calls that are held monthly or quarterly, so check their website. Most of their thought leaders post videos on YouTube or Vimeo, which will give you a sense of their style, presence, and relatability. Another great tasting menu of thought leaders is Coaches Rising, which runs 1-2 new interview/lecture series with some of these leaders each year. This is a fantastic way to sample their work for a couple hundred dollar before you spend thousands (or in some cases tens-of-thousands). Below is a sample from their Dynamics of Change lecture series:

Coaches get coaching – as you embark on this journey, find yourself a coach if you don’t already have one. You will need to complete 10 hours of mentor-coaching to complete an ACC certification, so consider a coach who is already a registered ICF Mentor Coach (like our own John Eisenschmidt).

Advanced Coaching Topics

John and Shawn are also certified by the Strozzi Institute as Somatic Coaches. This is an advanced training and certification that is eligible for continuing education credit with ICF, but is not currently accredited for the ACC/PCC. A 1-page Q&A explaining a scenario and how a Somatic Coach might engage is here: Somatic-QandA. More resources on Somatics are available here from DC Somatics. Richard Strozzi-Heckler, author of the Strozzi Institute methodology, has written several books. We think the most relevant for new coaches and frequently their clients is The Leadership Dojo.

Adult Development Theory is a powerful skill set for meeting clients where they are at, and helping them on their developmental journey. A great way to orient to this work and its application is Jennifer Garvey Berger’s (a former student and TA for Harvard Professor Robert Keegan, a leader in this body of work) book Changing on the Job:

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