Lessons from the Certifiers

Inside Scoop

Ask the Certifiers: Trusting the Masteries
Natalie Tucker Miller, MMC

This month’s question is a two-parter, though the answers will overlap
somewhat. I find that the answers to all questions about masterful coaching
have one thing in common: The client is the most important aspect of the conversation.
Let’s see where the answers to the following questions lead us!

Q1: Nine masteries each deeply expressed in one 30 minute
session (plus effective use of silence!) seem like a whole lot to 'cram in.'
How is that accomplished?

I remember thinking this when I was first introduced to Thomas Leonard’s
15 Coaching Proficiencies. Before the IAC was even a twinkle in Thomas’
eye, 30 minute coaching sessions were considered the norm. Then Thomas began
demonstrating his 15-20 minute laser sessions, where evidence of all 15 proficiencies
were present! But how?

For a moment, let’s look at another skill set that is accomplished as
a whole. As a violinist, I recall wondering, would I remember how to place the
chinrest, hold my wrist in position, be conscious of the placement of my fingers
on the bow, control many strings to engage in a bow stroke, create all the right
notes on the fretless neck, keep my back straight, control my breathing while
reading music? How in the world is that possible, all at the same time?
Surely only one or two people in the entire world could fulfill such requirements!

For the first couple of years of practice, I was convinced that I’d just
have to settle with “good enough,” since I could not imagine accomplishing
all that without looking awkward and ridiculous. However, after a few years,
I was invited to state competitions and performed solo compositions at concerts.
And by the then, the least of my concerns were the techniques of actual playing
the instrument. Now, I had bigger fish to fry: Stage fright!

Practicing to become masterful at coaching can be seen similarly. It typically
begins with the coach being concerned about coaching “right,” fitting
all elements of mastery without it feeling crammed or artificial.

And just as the bow, strings, posture, and piece of music all come together
to create a pleasing concerto, so it is with the coaching skill sets. One skill
without the rest will not produce the full result. For a better understanding
of how the Mastery measures this as a whole, please refer to these
previous articles
about the interconnectedness of the Masteries.

Why is this interconnectedness important? Just as an audience might not recognize
that all elements of style were present in a concert, they surely would be aware
if those elements were absent! This is how coaching is also nuanced. Using the
Masteries E-Book as a guide, pay particular attention to “Indicators the
Coach Understands the Mastery”; this section will help you to understand
how the elements are synthesized to create a masterful session.

Q2: When considering sessions for certification, how do
you decide what to leave out? Often a client's response will suggest several
different ways to probe – so how is a decision made without a certifier saying,
"You missed that"?

In addition to “see above”, there is a simple answer to this specific

Perhaps there are certain words that are recurring, or something that was said
creates a noticeable shift in the client’s tone, or the client is highly
creative and interested in a variety of pursuits. Maybe you find something pops
up unexpectedly in the session, so you’ll need to determine if this is
the “elephant in the room,” or an additional tangent that could
be useful to explore at another time.

Don’t be afraid to bring any of this to the client’s attention.
Acknowledge its existence, test it for its significance in the session, and
make a collaborative determination as to how best to approach it. You may find
that the session takes a new, unexpected turn, or you may find it isn’t
relevant to what is most important in the moment and table it for another time.

The point is, don't avoid something if you're concerned about where it may
take you, any more than worrying that you are missing something. With practice
and experience, you’ll know just the right direction to take without even
thinking about it.

And P.S. No, I don’t still play the violin for audiences. 😉

Do you have a question that you’d like to ask the certifiers?
Submit your questions here: http://certifiedcoachblog.typepad.com/blog/ask-the-certifiers.html.

Natalie Tucker Miller


Natalie Tucker Miller, MMC, is the Lead Certifier and a certifying
examiner at the IAC, as well as Past-President. Natalie is founder
of Ageless-Sages.com Publishing (www.ageless-sages.com),
and creator of the literary genre, Picture Books for Elders™.


Please send your questions on the IAC Coaching Masteries®
and the certification process to certification@certifiedcoach.org.

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