The other day I read an ad in a local publication offering a 2-day course for coaches. That in itself is not unusual. The ad claimed that participants would learn everything they needed to succeed and implied that they could become a certified coach. I checked their site and it clarified that certification was possible as long as the participant passed an assessment on the 2nd day.
Let’s just say I was a wee bit (ok a whole lot) skeptical.
First of all, how can you learn ‘everything’ you need to to succeed in just 2 days? I think that statement is a bit misleading. You could learn what you need to get started as a coach, both coaching skills and basic business building concepts, but not everything.
Unless a prospective coach has previous business experience or training, it takes time to learn how to build, market and operate any business, including a coaching business.
Secondly, can a person be skilled enough to be worthy of certification after just 2 days of training?
That aspect warranted further investigation.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of certify is: “to recognize as having met special qualifications (as of a governmental agency or professional board) within a field.”
It follows that a certified coach has skills that are of a specified standard.
If you’ve been researching the profession of coach, you’ve likely figured out that coach certification designations are offered by coach training schools and by coaching associations, like the International Coach Federation (ICF) and International Association of Coaching (IAC). The standards and requirements for certification can vary widely.
Life Coach Certification vs Sports Coach Certification
I thought it would be interesting to compare entry level certification requirements in both personal coaching and sports coaching. I thought about adding counseling or therapy to the mix but there were certifications for every type and I had no idea which organization was considered the ‘gold standard’ for each type. For this article we’ll stick to life coaching and sports coaching.
The ICF offers three levels of certification with the Associate Certified Coach (ACC) being the most basic level of certification available. Anyone applying for it must have completed at least 60 hours of coach specific training and have coached a minimum of 8 clients for a total of 100 hours.
The National Coaching Certification Program of Canada has 3 levels of certification with 2 additional levels for master sports coaches. Each level has three components: theory, technical and practical. If you want to become a level 1 certified coach in field hockey, for example, you’d take a 2-day seminar on theory (approx. 12 hours), a 10.5 hour technical workshop to learn how to teach field hockey skills and strategy, and then complete 25 hours of coaching experience.
Both require more than a 2-day seminar to become certified. As with everything, there may be the occasional exception, which leads us to skill-based assessments.
What About Skill-Based Certification?
To be fair, I must mention the certification offered by the IAC. It is a skill-based assessment and has no coach training or client hour requirements. It’s ideal for those who already have masterful coaching skills perhaps as a result of previous training or work as a therapist or other helping professional. It would be interesting to see if someone with just two days of coach training could pass their assessment. Given their high standards, I somehow doubt it.
What is the Answer?
Good question. We find ourselves back at the beginning question again. Can a person be skilled enough to become a certified coach after two days of training? What do you think?
In addition, what effect could the varying standards and requirements for coaching certification have on the coaching industry and the public?
Share your opinions by leaving a comment. I’d love to know what you think!