10 May, 2011
8 Ways to stop yourself from qualifying! by David Tewkesbury
It’s finally arrived!
Today, in the post, arrived the culmination of two years work, when my certificate and badge from The Coaching Academy arrived, I’d passed the Personal and Performance coaching Diploma.
It’s taken me two years. So, I guess you’re probably thinking, what’s so special about that? Well, I could have done it so much quicker if only I had done things differently, and I’d like to share with you exactly what I did.
Each year, thousands of people sign up for The Coaching Academy courses, many hundreds attend accelerator days; hundreds do the coaching, but how many complete the exam, and submit their Personal Development Journal (PDJ)?
Attending the accelerator days was easy, even the coaching sessions were pretty simple to arrange, but how many people don’t get round to qualifying. Here’s how I nearly did it.
So those 8 steps to failure:
1. Be disorganised
Have a work area that is untidy, have piles of paper from various sources spread around the room, don’t file, don’t sort, don’t bin, and don’t prioritise.
Ensure that you cannot find the papers that you need when you need them, put related things in different places, in different piles and even in different rooms.
2. Don’t have a plan
You’ve got enough to-do lists and calendars and diaries without another plan. Do don’t have a plan which lists all the things you need to do in order to qualify, don’t set dates to do things, don’t mark them when they are complete. This will ensure you have no idea what to do or when.
3. Don’t take notes
When you’re at an accelerator day, don’t write down things that interest you, things that inspire you. Especially do not write down pieces of advice that resonate with you, that make you get excited about qualifying.
Never ever look at these when you return home, and especially do not type them up. Also, ensure you abide by rule number 1 and place them on a random pile in a random place in your home.
4. Don’t do things as you go along
When you’ve finished a coaching call, DO NOT complete the Coach Record Sheet immediately, whilst the ideas are fresh in your mind. Best to wait until sometime in the future when you realise you need to do it, and then attempt to refer to your scribbled notes you took at the time on the back of an envelope, assuming you can find it on one of your piles in one of your random places.
5. Don’t start with the end in mind
Best to just get on with the accelerator days and the coaching practice, and not really worry about what you are attempting to achieve. Just meander through, I mean, you are busy, right, you have lots to do and whilst you would love to qualify, you just don’t have the time to read everything before you start. Doing that would only mean you had even more things to think about, to worry about, to remember.
6. Don’t monitor your success and achievements
Don’t capture your progress on your qualification journey. Don’t measure how many calls you have done, how many accelerator days, how many write ups, how many coaching sessions or how many coaching forms you have done for your PDJ. That way, you can worry that you are 30% done, when you could be 75%.
7. Don’t have a submission date
Don’t set a date that you want to quality by, that will only put pressure on you and make you rush things. Best just to see how things go, let them happen in their own time, and you’ll qualify when you are good and ready. I mean, I know you’ve invested a lot of money in this course, but there are always other priorities and other calls on your time that mean you might have to slip the date, so best not to set it in the first place.
8. Don’t understand the process
So you’ve sat through one of Kris’s sessions on how to qualify, and at the end when he asked, you had no questions because you understood all in great depth. No? or was it that you were that confused that you didn’t want to look silly. All that talk of PDJ’s, Learning Record Sheets, monitored sessions, and the exam.
By following these rules, I had completed my modules, completed my assessment, had my exam printed and ready to go(dated 2009!), but had minimal notes, very few written up sessions or course notes, and piles of piles of paper everywhere.
On my whiteboard, I had an action written in Red. It said ‘TCA QUALIFICATION – URGENT’. Over time, it had been underlined, starred, written over again, and a number of new dates put beside it. I just kept putting it off.
Finally, something got the better of me. I’d invested a lot of money, time and effort into this diploma, I had great feedback from my clients, so it was time to qualify. So, I set a date where I set aside a day to prepare my PDJ.
I put it in the diary, I didn’t go out the night before, I told friends I would be unavailable, made sure I had food in the house, cleared a table and committed myself 100% to doing it.
And, I did the following:
- Gathered all the TCA Templates that I would need.
- Reviewed my piles of paper and extracted the Accelerator Learning Sheets
- Reviewed another pile of paper and extracted my coaching call notes
- Reviewed my online records and created a spreadsheet of what was required for my PDJ.
- And started typing.
Over the space of the six hours, I typed up 36 coaching session sheets, 6 accelerator day sheets, 6 module sheets, and printed them all. I reprinted my exam and bound it all nicely, after 4 hours I was drained, but I took a break and continued. By the end of the day, I was incredibly satisfied, also incredibly frustrated that I’d allowed myself to get into this state.
So that’s my story; that, in my opinion, is how not to do it and the steps that will virtually guarantee you being in the position that I was in. Not a nice place. I’m working on my Business and Executive Diploma now, and you can probably guess I have made some pretty significant changes in the way I work.
So here are my 8 rules for my success with the next diploma.
1. Know the process
Read the ‘how to qualify’ notes from The Coaching Academy, understand what is required of you, ask questions if you’re not sure.
2. Set an end date
Gauge how long it’s going to take you, factor in all the obstacles that may get in your way, fixed things like holiday, school holidays, anything else, maybe a little contingency, but don’t give yourself too long. Make the date a realistic one.
3. Create a Plan
Now you know what you have to do, and you have an end date. Create a plan for success in whatever format works for you, a Mind map, a simple list, an excel spreadsheet. Capture the actions you are going to do, and when you are going to do them, and set the date. Why not put milestone in your phone, on your wall, on your fridge if it will help you.
4. Write up your notes on the day
At the end of an accelerator day, write up your notes. Commit to do them there and then, when you are home or travelling if you can. Then print and or file them
5. Write up your coaching calls straight after the call
After your coaching call, complete the coaching sheet. Write down all the things that are requested on the form. You could also put some other notes on there that may be of use, the feedback you got, what you felt. Then print and file, don’t forget to update your progress monitor.
6. File things in the right place, bin things that you don’t need
Have a filing system and use it. When you have done some paperwork, print it, file it and mark up your progress sheet.
7. Monitor and measure your progress
How do you know if you’re making progress?, mark up your success in any way that works for you, it may be a highlighted line, a colour on a spreadsheet, a sliding scale, a %age complete. Whatever works for you.
8. Send it off.
Find a nice folder, bind all your sheets, add your exam and pop it in the post (don’t forget recorded or registered delivery so that you know it gets there OK).
Once you get your marks and your certificate arrives, CELEBRATE. You’ve just achieved something incredible, something amazing, something that many people set out to achieve and simply don’t. Your own organisation, drive, commitment and energy has helped you achieve your coaching Qualification.
So, which one of these are you. Are you the person in the the first part of this article, or the organised disciplined person in the second half. Maybe you’re a mix of the two.
Now you’ve read this, and as a reflective coach, why not ask yourself these four questions and see how you change your approach to ultimately lead to that certificate dropping through your door!
In your qualification journey…
1. What is working well for you?
2. What isn’t working well?
3. What will you do differently to ensure your success?
4. How will you reward yourself?
I’ve learnt from my experiences and have changed my approach, my actions and my way of working. What about you?
by David Tewkesbury