There are thousands of 'coaches' out there who have never been trained to coach, have never been coached themselves and have absolutely no idea where to begin or indeed where to end.
Equally, there are a similar number of 'coaches' out there who are qualified and have never been coached themselves and also have absolutely no idea what they are doing.
I can only speak from my own experience, and I have found that learning how to be a coach is very much different from being a coach. And being a coach means drawing on all learnings and experiences accumulated throughout my life.
How so you may well ask. Well I have trained with five different coach training providers since 2004 and all have their own ways of interpreting coaching.
For instance, one said that once I had passed their diploma course I was a trained life coach. That may well have been true, but the course itself gave very little insight into the myriad of different strategies that can, and are, used in coaching. On passing the course I was now a qualified life coach.
Another taught me all I needed to know to become corporate coach, but again left me short of knowledge and experience when it came to working with organisations that varied in the ways they operated. On passing their course I was now a qualified corporate coach.
I have trained with at least ten different coaching organisations, and each has taught me something different. From each I have grown as a coach and learned much more about myself too. All the training I have undertaken has had its uses, and I always learned something new and worthwhile, and I can honestly say that I am highly qualified and experienced as a coach.
I have also learned over the years that my life experiences count just as much as all the coach training. Listening to my clients and knowing when to ask the right question came from practise. It is nothing that can be learned from a course or a book, it comes with experience of working with so many different people.
I love being a coach, it doesn't feel like a job to me. I find it so rewarding when I see the 'penny drop' and my clients get it, take action and change their lives for the better. It is something that I just love getting out of bed for every morning.
I also enjoy being coached, and in fact work with several coaches where we all coach each other, supervise, teach and learn. It works very well as each has something different to bring to the table. The fact that we are spread out over the world in the UK, USA and Australia causes a few time zone headaches, but we usually work it all out between us, and Skype is a fabulous tool. I have my own business coach too, and he keeps me on my toes.
So who wins in the Unqualified Coach vs Qualified Coach competition? I don't think there is a definitive answer. It all depends on the coach and the outcome you want. If the outcome you get is satisfactory to you, then I am not sure it really matters. I know there will be lots of you who will disagree, and I would love to hear from you.