Becoming a Master is a Passion
I opened the email and it said, “Congratulations, your application for the designation of Master Certified Coach has been examined by the ICF and approved.” I was confused and read it again. And finally one more time before the news dawned on me that I had been successful in my eight year journey of learning to achieve my Master Certified Coach (MCC) credential. In 2009 I began professional coach training and earning my first credential in 2010 I could have accepted that I had arrived and been pleased with that level and maintained it with minimal professional development activities every three years. That was never enough for me. It was a passion to keep learning.
Being a professional coach for me is a commitment to continuous learning no different than leadership is a commitment to continuous learning. Both require regular exposure to new ideas, practice, feedback, refinement, self-awareness, and crazy new explorations for the sake of our learning. During the last 8 years, my pursuit to become one of 54 Canadians with my designation has meant working with a number of different coaches over time, talking with dozens of colleagues and mentors, attending a wide range of training and professional development activities related to coaching but also business acumen, leadership, emotional intelligence, neuroscience, governance, and even shame resilience among many others. Then it came to practice and integrating my learning in being brave to explore this new thinking in practice with my clients. Sometimes awesome successes and (sorry clients!) sometimes failures which helped me learn and become a better coach for each and every client.
Applying for this credential was a learning in itself of surrendering to vulnerability. I had to shift my coaching style to meet the examiners expectations which are different from the expectations of leadership and executive clients. I had to surrender to having a senior coach whom I deeply respect listen to my coaching and give me candid feedback to help me learn and improve. I also had to step into the vulnerability of submitting my application and trust that I might not meet the mark and need to go back to learning and try again in the future.
Being an effective leader is a continuous learning leader. Learning about the perspectives of your peers, stakeholders, and direct reports. Learning about the systems, environment and processes. Learning about the decisions and strategic focus. Learning to navigate personal resilience and building strong relationships. Learning to grow and develop your team to become effective in their roles and to become future leaders. Learning to ultimately step into uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure again and again and again.
Is my learning journey over now that I’ve achieved the highest recognition possible as a Master Certified Coach? Certainly not. This fall I’ll be in Houston with Brené Brown’s organization, The Daring Way, at our professional conference learning from Brené herself but also many peers. I’ll also be travelling to Minneapolis on a biography film making course studying the Soul Biography Method with film maker Nic Askew who will give me a whole new perspective at looking at someone’s strengths and their truths. On top of all of this professional learning, I’m continuing to learn to play piano and with my instructor we’re working on a jazzy song “Softly As In a Morning Sunrise” to flex my learning in a more personal fulfillment way. None of these learnings are tied to a credential or specific goal except to keep exploring and learning new perspectives to become a better professional and fulfilled human being. That’s what passion makes you do.