by Bob Tschannen-Moran, IAC-CC
The IAC: Sparking Conversation
If the IAC is anything, it is a catalyst for conversation. Not the least of which has to do with why we exist at all. What value do we add to the global coaching community, to coaching clients and to the world at large?
The answer, in part, has to do with the value of coach certification itself. When coaches are evaluated fairly and objectively by external reviewers with high standards, it challenges everyone to raise the bar of the game we are playing.
Being certified is certainly not a requirement for masterful coaching, nor is it the only way to promote one’s learning and growth as a coach, but it is a reliable demonstration of coaching mastery and it does represent an important professional challenge for those who decide to go through the experience. Getting certified, at least by the IAC, is no small feat.
To certify coaching effectiveness with the highest of standards (see my article in the recent issue of choice magazine) is only part of the IAC’s raison d'être for at least two reasons. First, the IAC is certainly not the only game in town when it comes to coach certification. Second, coach certification is not all the IAC has to offer.
Put "coach certification" into Google and you end up with about 134,000 results, including many sites in the realm of athletics. The IAC appears on page six (behind some of our licensees). The International Coach Federation, or ICF, ranks number one. That’s both understandable and appropriate considering the ICF’s size, tenure and visibility.
But the ICF’s approach to certification does not meet everyone’s needs. By defining a limited number of standardized paths to coach certification, all of which mandate many rigorous qualifications and demonstrations of coaching effectiveness, the ICF excludes those who may have come by their competency and professionalism in other ways.
Although some would say that’s the point of having standards, the IAC sees things differently. We don’t view coach certification as creating an exclusive club of the qualified; we view it as an opportunity for coaches from all walks of life to both demonstrate and grow into coaching mastery. Our motto, "expanding the path to coaching mastery," speaks volumes as to what we stand for and how we see our place in the wider coaching community.
Take Singapore as an example. Following years of emergence and service, coaches in Singapore—led by new IAC Board of Governors’ member Teo Jin Lee—decided they wanted to put themselves on the map in the wider coaching community. After a thorough search on the Internet as to available options, they decided to join, form a chapter and pursue certification in the IAC. Why? Because the IAC offered a highly respected standard that was not out of reach for their members.
That’s the value the IAC adds to the global coaching community, to coaching clients and to the world at large. The IAC has developed a way to measure coaching effectiveness and professionalism without regard to training, supervision or experience. It’s not that those things are unimportant—indeed, IAC certification is often unattainable without those things—it’s rather that the IAC has chosen not to evaluate those things as part of its certification process.
The IAC focuses on conscience (high ethical standards), comprehension (written exam), competence (oral demonstration of coaching mastery) and commitment (IAC Learning Agreements). No other coach certification requires such high, personalized engagement around the things that make for excellence in coaching. By making specific professional learning commitments on an annual basis, with regular review conferences, IAC certified coaches are participating in a process that keeps us sharp and evokes our very best.
The creation of the IAC Learning Agreement process is also what gave birth to the new IAC Practitioner status. IAC members have often asked for recognition of their intention to pursue IAC coach certification (a process that can take multiple tries over a period of many months or even years) before they actually receive the credential. Because having various tiers (good, better, best) is not considered a best-practice in the credentialing industry, the IAC has chosen to maintain a single, mastery-level credential (the IAC-Certified Coach) since its inception in 2003.
Now, however, there is something in between "Member" and "Certified Coach." Those IAC members who pledge to uphold the high IAC ethical standards, who pass the rigorous written exam based on the IAC Coaching Masteries®, and who participate in the annual Learning Agreement process can now earn the designation of IAC Practitioner. They are clearly demonstrating their intention to incorporate and to practice using the Coaching Masteries in their work as coaches, and the IAC is now offering to recognize and affirm that intention.
This is all part of how the IAC is "expanding the path to coaching mastery." With the highest of integrity, the IAC offers far more than just coach certification. In addition to generous and ever-expanding Member Benefits, the new Learning Agreement process represents a great way for coaches to challenge ourselves to become the very best coaches we can be. This is not a hoop for coaches to jump through; this is an opportunity for coaches to continuously learn and grow.
If that sounds like the kind of coach you want to be, and if that sounds like the kind of association you want to be in, then I encourage you to not only join or renew your membership in the IAC but also to get started with your first IAC Learning Agreement. The coaches in Singapore are not the only ones who have discovered the brilliance of the IAC. That light is sparking conversation around the globe. We look forward to including your voice as well.
May you be filled with goodness, peace and joy,
Bob Tschannen-Moran, IAC-CC, is CEO & Co-Founder of the Center for School Transformation and President of LifeTrek Coaching International. Bob has co-authored a new book, titled Evocative Coaching, which incorporates the IAC Coaching Masteries® in a coaching model designed for leaders and coaches in K-12 schools. www.SchoolTransformation.com