Try, Prepare and Do – Lessons from the Youngest IAC-CC

As part of our goal to help coaches become certified, the VOICE aims to present the experiences and guidance of people who have successfully completed the certification process. This month, we'll hear insights from Mike Goonan, IAC-CC.

Linda: I understand you're the youngest coach to achieve IAC certification – how do you feel about holding that distinction?

Mike: I find it to be a great honor! I love the fact that I am spearheading the path for younger coaches in the field. I have been coaching since I was 21 years old (I'm now 26) and it has been an exhilarating journey thus far. I have made numerous long-lasting coach friends, many of who are more than twice my age.

Linda: How did things change for you once you were certified?

Mike: The biggest change I had for me once certified was the level of confidence I exhibited in a coaching call. Many times I did feel I was "too young" or "not experienced" enough to coach someone, but the second I found I was certified I was ecstatic! Just with that "Congratulations, you passed!" email I received from IAC, my confidence grew beyond belief. It is definitely a lot of work in preparing but well worth it.

Linda: What happened between then and now?

Mike: I have been maintaining a part-time private coaching practice and exploring the idea of getting licensed to use the IAC Coaching Masteries in regards to mentoring potential IAC-Certified Coaches.

Linda: What was the most useful thing you did to prepare for certification?

Mike: The most useful thing for me was re-listening to and critiquing my client audios. They provided great insight to which Coaching Masteries I was proficient in and which ones I needed to work on. It also provided me with a greater opportunity to move my clients deeper in the coaching process because I might have picked up on one or two items I missed during the coaching call and I was able to bring up what I missed the next time I met with the client. I have no problem telling a client that I had missed an opportunity during our last session to coach upon something, and to ask if it is alright if I touch upon it. I have no problem showing my clients that I am not perfect; it gives them an opportunity to see my humanity.

Linda: What did you value most about the process?

Mike: This process really gave me an opportunity to up-level my coaching skills. My biggest challenge when I first began coaching was that I "taught" more than I "coached" and as I went through coach training I moved from teaching and into coaching. I found that I had slipped back into a more "teaching" role when I was going through this certification process and it was through the help of my mentor that I became aware of this again. My mentor provided me with great insight into my coaching and gave me various techniques into improving and become more of a masterful coach. I believe that it is so important for coaches to be coached and mentored. I work with my coach on an as-needed basis and I meet with my mentor for a few weeks every year to up-level my skills.

Linda: What would you advise someone who was considering IAC certification?

Mike: Do it! It truly is a masterful process. I know for me it pushed me outside my comfort zone.

Linda: What would you say to someone who didn’t pass the exam?

Mike: First off, congratulations for even attempting! This is not an easy exam. You know the old adage, "If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!" But instead of the "try, try" I want you to add in "prepare and do." After you receive your scorecards back from the Certifiers, review and make note of which IAC Coaching Masteries you had a challenge with. Then begin doing one of the following:

  • Re-listen to your audio, listening for each IAC Coaching Mastery and scoring yourself.
  • Start a coach-the-coach roundtable with fellow IAC Certified Coach hopefuls and begin coaching and critiquing each other.
  • Hire a mentor – my mentor supported me greatly in mastering the IAC Coach Masteries.

Do one, two or all three of these steps and I am hopeful that you will pass the next time.

Linda: What is your next professional development goal?

Mike: I actually have two. My first professional development goal is to add speaker/trainer to my skill set. There are several programs on the market that you can become a facilitator for and be able to teach the material either one-on-one or in a group setting. I hope to take this leap within the next 12 months. My second professional development goal is to begin writing a book – a self-coaching book for singles/couples. I have always wanted to write a book and I feel that this project will also support me in my own relationship.

Thanks so much to Mike Goonan for sharing his time, thoughts and insights with the IAC community.

Mike Goonan, CFLC, IAC-CC, is the world's youngest Certified Fearless Living Coach and IAC Certified Coach. Mike works full-time as a Career Coach at a post-secondary trade school in the Philadelphia area.



Linda Dessau, CPCC, is the author of Write Your Way to More Clients Online. She offers ghostwriting, editing, training and consulting. If you want better results from your online writing, visit to discover Linda's content marketing secrets.



2 thoughts on “Try, Prepare and Do – Lessons from the Youngest IAC-CC”

  1. Hi Alison!
    Writing this article has really given me a chance again to be more aware of my coaching style and to continue to find ways to support in my coach development.

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