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10 May, 2011

8 Ways to stop yourself from qualifying! by David Tewkesbury

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coaching Articles|Life Coaching Articles|Personal Success

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

14 Responses to "8 Ways to stop yourself from qualifying! by David Tewkesbury"

1 | Kathryn Sassall

May 11th, 2011 at 10:24 am


Hi David, love your style!

I’d also add to your not qualifying list:- make sure that when you are at accelerator days you keep yourself to yourself , and don’t believe there is anything you could get from a local coaching group of like-minded people.

Of course to succeed it is useful to have even the most basic of business cards to share with your fellow coaches and find out their niches – you may need to refer your client’s issues/clients to them and they to you as your experience/business grows; a local group where you have a chance to share your study concerns and successes is a great spur to being proactive and making time for you. Also the non-coaching skills within the group and networks make for interesting, informative and useful resources to be able to call upon.


2 | Peter Abrahamsen

May 11th, 2011 at 12:03 pm


Kathryn gave you rule number 9. Here is rule number 10.

Avoid at all cost to nudge your reluctant and not so committed practice clients into action when they start cancelling sessions. Sure, they will come back in their own time. And whilst they are not coming back, make sure that you do not seek more clients, you already have enough names on the list


3 | Debbie Robinson

May 11th, 2011 at 12:53 pm


Great Read David! Congratulations on achieving your qualification. Debbie

4 | Margaret Hazle

May 11th, 2011 at 1:52 pm


Hi David
Very good post! Surely many of us can see aspects of ourselves embedded in your text.

So thank you for sharing your journey along the bumpy road known as ‘Life’

Keep motoring in the ‘right’ lane – I’m sure you will stay on track!

Best wishes for your future Training and Coaching
Margaret Hazle

5 | Claire Smith

May 11th, 2011 at 3:24 pm


David how true.

Thank You and well done


6 | Merete Langler

May 11th, 2011 at 4:26 pm


Wonderful David! I’m sure this is resonating in more places than you ever thought. I remember when the first of my cohort got to the point of deciding to submit. When he emailed our support group with the message ‘OK, I’ve learned my lesson, I should have done this as I went rather than waitin until now’ we all took a collective gulp realising that we were all heading that way in some form or another!
I have a client who loved the idea of ‘Eat that Frog’. However, I had to introduce the idea of ‘Vampire Frogs’ before he was motivated enough to clear them daily!

7 | Sharon Nicholl

May 11th, 2011 at 7:23 pm



A really enjoyable and entertaining read. Full of very pertinent advice for people working through their Diploma. I graduated in 2008 and I am a very organised person, but I had to be really firm with myself and even needed to enlist the help of a friend, who was not a coach, but who held me accountable and she was the first to come round with a bottle of champagne to celebrate with me when my Diploma certificate landed on the mat.

8 | Vennetta

May 12th, 2011 at 7:17 pm


Hi David

This is so me it’s unreal! What makes it ironic is my job as a teacher is to get students through their writing assignments, reflective journals and exams!

I am going to write up your steps and put them on a big poster on my wall. This should hopefully motivate me into action.

Thanks a lot!


9 | Sergio

May 14th, 2011 at 2:19 am


Good stuff David. People still fail to realize how they get in their own way. This is truly one of the many blessings of having a good coach.

10 | Jean Chalton

May 18th, 2011 at 10:58 pm


Great read David – your article really resonates with me – I have recently qualified after 3 years – the journey has been great, but the feeling of achievement is even greater! I am now going to keep your 8 steps to failure in mind whilst setting up my coaching business!

11 | Val Barclay

May 22nd, 2011 at 1:52 pm


Hi David. When I read your article I thought that I had written it. I totally agree with all of your comments and have now got to a point where I am so frustrated with myself for taking so long to qualify that I am pulling all the stops out to get my act together and get it completed. My problem is that I am not very good at working on my own and was slow to tap into a network, which I have now done and found a like minded person to work along side. Also I felt that I had lost momentum with the paperwork once I had completed all the accelelator days. I am glad that you have shared your experience and hope that it has encouraged people to keep ontop of everything: well done on qualifying and for getting stuck in to complet your next dipolma

12 | Karen Williams

May 25th, 2011 at 3:34 pm


Great post David and congratulations.

Isn’t coaching about setting goals, chunking things down, getting organised, planning etc, but do we forget to do this ourselves? – YES! Plus celebrating our achievements, remembering our successes and getting out of our own way too!

Inspiring, thank you.

13 | Top 5 tips to help you prepare and carry out your observed sessions successfully | The Coaching Academy Blog

November 30th, 2011 at 9:10 am


[...] After carrying out nearly 2000 observed coaching sessions I have noticed the odd thing or two that I thought I would share with you to help you with this part of your qualification journey. [...]

14 | Coach In The Spotlight - Glen Roughead | The Coaching Academy Blog

February 2nd, 2012 at 2:16 pm


[...] had other future based things to consider whilst qualifying but they were all to do with how I was going to make my business a success. I also had to consider [...]

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