Guest blog by Mark Davidson, CEO, iCoaching.
Would you like to handle the challenges you face in your life better? Or learn to help other people deal with their life challenges better? If so, you might be interested in the brand new approach to coaching that iCoaching is launching this January.
iCoaching is a startup with a deep, philosophical understanding of coaching and a mission to make effective coaching available to everyone. Its founders are passionate about this mission because they believe the world would be a much better place if everyone, from school children to world leaders, was getting good coaching.
The iCoaching platform will work a bit like Airbnb. People looking for coaching will be able to search for coaches, read their profiles and their comments and ratings, and book sessions through the platform. This will help make good coaching more accessible. But the real key to iCoaching’s innovation is its coach training. iCoaching’s courses have their foundations in a philosophical understanding of coaching. They provides an easy path for anyone with the necessary personal qualities to become a skilled and effective coach. And the coach training is free — iCoaching’s business model doesn’t require it to make money from its courses.
The coach training path is designed to be followed by three people working together using the learning materials provided on the iCoaching website.
The training path begins with two short ‘stepping stones’ courses. Both take two hours or so to follow. The first is Microcoach Training. Here, you learn to have a simple coaching interactions through playing a game called What-And. (The whole approach to learning is experiential and game-centred.) People who’ve played What-And say that it can be a lot of fun and some have said that learning to microcoach has revolutionised the way they communicate.
The next step is to play a storytelling game called Hero Cards. Two short introductory videos introduce the game by explaining the basics of storytelling and the some of the connections between story and coaching.
A good coaching session, like a good story, starts with exposition — with building an understanding of the situation. The session then develops the coachee’s sense of what they would most like to happen (which is a bit like a character in a story finding a clear motivation to act). In the third phase of a coaching session, the coach helps the coachee find a line of strategic action to pursue. And in the final phase, the dare phase, the coach helps the coachee commit to this line of action and get ready to follow it.
Coaching helps coachees gain control of their own life stories.
Playing Hero Cards makes it is easy to make up a well-structured story together. It can be refreshing to create stories rather than just consuming them on Netflix and the game provides good preparation for the rest of the coach training.
The Coach Training course itself is made up of five modules. Each module starts with a skill-development game. You watch a short introductory video, play the game, and then discuss your experience. By the end of the course, you will have all the skills you need to deliver consistently effective coaching.
The second part of each module is a reciprocal coaching exercise in which you learn to put your skills to use. You coach each other, first just through the opening part of a coaching session, then through progressively more, till in the final module you coach each other through complete coaching sessions. The course’s pilot testers all said that they gained a lot personally through the coaching they received as part of the learning process.
Discussions, both in your training teams and through online forums, form a core part of the learning process.
At the end of the Coach Training course, you will be a qualified coach and you will be eligible to offer coaching through the iCoaching platform.