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Coach in the Spotlight - Maria Spooner

The Coaching Academy Blog

Posted: February 2016

Like many people, my journey with The Coaching Academy started with an introduction weekend which hit just the right balance between informative and fun. My background in counselling, learning & development and NLP meant that coaching felt very much a natural next step and increasingly in my work I recognised a need for the ability to coach competently.

Like many people, my journey with The Coaching Academy started with an introduction weekend which hit just the right balance between informative and fun. My background in counselling, learning & development and NLP meant that coaching felt very much a natural next step and increasingly in my work I recognised a need for the ability to coach competently.

Unable to decide which of the programmes I wanted to complete and hugely drawn to the offer of a personal coach I applied for the Protégé Programme and it was absolutely the right decision. By being a protégé I was taken way beyond the level of proficiency that I would have reached by doing just one programme – having said that, the personal coaching programme offers comprehensive coaching knowledge and skills that provides a solid foundation on which to build and grow. I loved the breadth of experience that I gained through the protégé programme and the opportunity to learn from coaches who are specialists in their own fields as well as expert coaches.

My main challenge was ‘getting going’ with the coaching sessions. I wanted to be truly competent before inflicting myself on coachees (however willing) and procrastinated like mad. Thank goodness for my coach who helped enormously with this, as well as all the other ‘stuff’ I hurled at her and I found, just as The Coaching Academy team had said, that once I’d completed my first session I was off and away. My first ‘assessed’ call was somewhat nerve-wracking but this and all subsequent calls proved to be SO valuable and it is this support that is one of the things that makes The Coaching Academy superior.

I have already mentioned my personal coach and the work that I was able to do with her was priceless and I know this is true for all protégés that I have met; it is certainly a fabulous opportunity to work with incredibly experienced coaches who would normally be beyond the reach of most of us!

I came to The Coaching Academy as an NLP practitioner so could have passed on that element of the programme but am very grateful that I didn’t as the trainers are excellent and it’s a superb course that adds so much to a coach’s ‘repertoire’; I learned an enormous amount from it and use the leanings in so much of what I do.

So, were the days of writing essays, keeping diaries, attending training, listening to CDs etc…. etc… worth it? I cannot emphasis enough how it has helped me to develop my coaching capability and hence my overall proficiency in my work as a Management Development Manager at Greencore. As well as using coaching to support individuals and teams I also teach others the basics of coaching and have been approved by the ILM to deliver an ILM5 programme in coaching. I also have a small number of private clients and am looking forward to working with the charity Key4life as a mentor.

Over the years I have worked with a number of people with coaching qualifications and I have to say that although I am sure that there are some good providers out there, I am amazed at how many do no form of assessment on actual coaching sessions or require very many hours of coaching or feedback from coachees. Yes, it is hefty! But it’s the heftiness that makes it superior and makes it truly worthwhile rather than a meaningless qualification.

I have met so many people though The Coaching Academy and there are some truly outstanding coaches who have completed their training – most are way better than I could ever aspire to be but I do know that I am so much more helpful to my coachees than I would have been without the Protégé Programme.

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