Committing to Life-Long Learning

 Each milestone you cross makes you a better leader, worker and person

I have some exciting news to share. I just received my International Coach Federation (ICF) Credential, which is the only globally recognized professional coaching certification that demonstrates a coach’s knowledge, skill and commitment to high ethical and professional standards. I am proud to have earned this distinction, but I’ll admit, it wasn’t exactly easy.  When I started it back in January 2019, I was juggling launching my consulting business, after decades spent in the corporate world, along with raising a family.

I’d been an HR leader, coach, consultant and mentor, in some capacity for more than 20 years—and I loved it—so I wanted to build something that allowed me to do the work I love and support more people across all types of organizations and industries, at various stages in their careers. Still, admittedly I didn’t yet know what it would mean to run my own consulting practice. So, I reached out to my network of local coaches for insight on the profession, the market, running a business and more. While I received so much valuable advice, one piece of advice I heard again and again was “Look into the ICF professional coaching program.” And I did.

What convinced me to start my journey to obtain the credential was ICF’s rigorous education and experience requirements, based on coaching competencies. ICF has established a highly professional code of ethics and standards. It’s not for just anyone; it’s for those people who want to be part of the best. It’s the golden standard in the coaching profession.

My thought was, “If I am going to do this, I want to be part of the best.”

Some people would opt for a less challenging program to start, as they are transitioning into an entirely new career and way of life. However, I wanted to push myself. Maybe even prove that I was making the right decision. Additionally many potential clients, including both organizations and individuals prefer to work with certified consultants.

The program, which consisted of 60 hours of education, through the Doerr Institute at Rice University, 10 mentoring hours, 100 hours of coaching experience, a performance evaluation and a knowledge assessment/exam, took me about a year and half to complete.

I credit the ICF local chapter, that was extremely supportive and welcoming, and my family and friends for helping me along the way. It was a big time investment and required quite the commitment, and I am proud of the achievement.

Life-long learning and development should be a priority for us all

Could I have started my practice without the ICF Credential? Sure. But that’s really beside the point. Self-development can definitely be vital to helping you climb the ladder, land the coveted job and make more money, but the intrinsic value is just as—or maybe even more—important. I gained knowledge and practical skills, and that boosted my confidence. With each hour, I felt more prepared to help my clients learn, grow and tackle their own biggest challenges. I got the satisfaction of finishing something that was hard, of seeing something through because of my commitment and determination. That triumph makes me a better person.

That’s why I am so committed to my own personal continuous learning and development, but also why I have made a career out of helping others learn and grow.

Choosing your next development goal

It is my firm position that we all should be constantly working on ourselves, whether that is strengthening weaknesses, building new skills for a rapidly changing work environment or learning how to enhance the skills we already have.

You can start today, simply by asking questions like:

  • “What do I need to learn to be a better employee/leader right now?”
  • “What skill would help me better manage this recurring problem?”
  • “What do I need to change to be better at my job?”
  • “What must I know to get that promotion?”

Those types of questions will help focus you on the one or two most critical areas for your growth. Then it’s just a matter of seeking opportunities to learn. Find a mentor, take advantage of training at work, talk to your boss about enrolling in a course, read articles or books, or watch videos. Or if you want one-on-one personal coaching that can help you take your skills to the next level, schedule a consultation with me today.

The goal is to just get started, learn, apply what you learn in a real-world setting and keep working until you see results.