Lessons from the Certifiers

How does Part 2 of certification work?

We occasionally receive this question from coaches who are considering certification, but would like to understand the process more fully before proceeding. In an effort to take the mystery out of the professional certification process, and hopefully put your minds at ease, here is the general sequence of events and how they work.

As you already know, Part 2 is a demonstration of the IAC Coaching Masteries™ via live coaching. For detailed instructions for Part 2, as well as support in how to know if the recordings are strong enough, please visit http://www.certifiedcoach.org/certify/certification.html

Once you submit your recorded coaching sessions, two certifiers are assigned to review both recordings. In the evaluation process, the certifiers listen to each coaching session at least twice, completing their initial notes and scoring using the Note Sheet. Please note that the sessions are limited to 30 minutes. If the recording extends beyond that time, only the first 30 minutes are considered in the review.

The Note Sheet is nothing dramatic or secret. It is simply the details and criteria for each Mastery, condensed on one page per Mastery. This makes it easier to include all aspects of each Mastery in the evaluation, plus helps the environment by saving paper.   You can find the Note Sheet here on the IAC website. We encourage you to use it as you self-score your own recordings, or with buddy coaching groups.

The two co-certifiers then meet to review the sessions, reaching consensus on the numerical scores for each Mastery. These review sessions can be lengthy – the goal of the certifiers is not to finish quickly, but to accurately assess the demonstration of the Masteries, giving the coach every chance of passing Part 2.

Following the review, the coach is sent a scorecard/summary indicating their scores for each session and each Mastery, as well as some specific information regarding how the coach did or did not demonstrate some of the Masteries. By legal definition, the IAC is not a training organization, and as such is not permitted to give the same level of detailed feedback you might expect from a training or supervision program.

As you can see, Part 2 of the certification process is quite involved, taking two certifiers several hours to score each recording. The process is not simple, quick, or cavalier, but rather it is a rigorous review of professional standards.

Lest that make you nervous, let me tell you a couple of things about the approach, or “come from”, the certifiers use.

First, IAC Certification is conducted with an appreciative approach. In many cultures, people are taught or socialized to notice what is wrong, missing, or not working – even coaches. This is, of course, to help you identify what changes need to be made. The intentions were good. The unfortunate side effect is that much of what is working or going well goes unnoticed.

In IAC Certification, the appreciative approach means the certifiers first look for what is working, what the coach is doing well. The certifiers deliberately seek to identify specific situations in which the coach demonstrates the Masteries. You can think of the certifiers as detectives, looking for indications of the coach using effective behaviors, accomplishing the measures, understanding distinctions, demonstrating the key elements, and achieving the overall effect for that Mastery. We want coaches to do well!

Second, the certifiers look for different ways the coach may demonstrate an effective behavior. Your personal style of coaching is not what is up for review.

For example, in Mastery #2 (Perceiving, affirming and expanding the client’s potential), one of the effective behaviors is “The coach offers sincere encouragement.” At first read, this might sound like the coach has to say something specific about encouragement.

Not necessarily. This effective behavior does not mean the coach has to use the words “sincere” or “encouragement”, or be overt about their encouragement, or attempt to pump the client up with compliments or lots of “Wow” comments. It also does not mean that the coach cannot do any of this.

A coach might also demonstrate sincere encouragement by the questions asked, or the tone used in asking. Another example might be via a challenging conversation in which the client is invited to see themselves succeeding, achieving a goal, or acknowledging past successes and using them as a springboard for expanded potential.

These are only a couple of examples of how a coach might “offer sincere encouragement”. There are many other ways and many other styles, but hopefully you get the point. The wording of the listed behaviors should not be construed as limiting, nor should it be considered part of the language or wording to use during your coaching session. Your style of coaching is not what is up for review, but rather, was the effective behavior evident within the coach’s style.

As with everything in the IAC, the certification process will continue to be evaluated on an ongoing basis. We will also continue to seek additional tools which will help coaches understand and utilize the Masteries™.


Nina East is the IAC’s Lead Certifier and the author of PersonalGrowthEnthusiasts.com. As a coach she works with personal growth professionals, helps coaches master the art of coaching, and coaches students and their families through the complex and emotional transition into college. www.NinaEast.com


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

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