Learning to Learn: The Secret to Becoming a Great Coach

A couple of years ago, a dear friend (and now a coach colleague) said to me, “Shelle, I know you have done a lot of coaching over the years and you may know a lot, but there is still much about coaching you don’t know. You can still learn.”

I have to admit…I was taken aback.  His comments were in response to my questioning whether I needed to devote my after-hours time to working towards a formal coaching degree.

My perspective was heavily influenced by my HR leadership role at the time. There I was, working for one of the top companies in the world, which is recognized as best-in-class at developing leaders as coaches. It seemed that I had been coaching experienced and future leaders and since entering the organization’s doors almost 20 years ago.

Not only had I participated in a litany of coaching courses at the company’s esteemed leadership development institute, but I co-designed a coaching workshop for other HR professionals to feed my passion for coaching.

Since I periodically revisited the writings of Marshall Goldsmith, Steven Covey and other Harvard Business Review contributors on the topic of coaching, it seemed redundant to get formal training in what I was practicing almost daily in my leadership role.  How wrong I was.

The learning never stops.

I have realized that the best corporate leaders (and professional coaches) are lifelong learners.

While there are a host of “tried and true” concepts and tools that have been applied successfully for many years, there are new approaches (and other variations to proven theories) that keep coaching “fresh,” increases its usefulness to clients, and makes it an exponentially rewarding profession for coaches…and for leaders.

Suffice to say, that before my recent transition to full-time coaching, I went through the formal education process and gained an abundance of new insights and resources. Most importantly, I am now committed to continuous learning to ensure that I am always best equipped to assist clients no matter the circumstances.

With the emergence of a new generation of global leadership, the effect and use of technology and the need to adapt even more quickly to an increasing demand for creative business solutions, coaching approaches have continued to evolve to keep up.

Thanks to the prodding from my dear friend, I now know that the best coaches are self-aware and committed to lifelong learning.   In addition to a plethora of structured programs, we learn as much, if not more, about how to be a better coach from those whom we are privileged to coach.

What’s the best advice you’ve gotten about coaching?

Or interested in learning more about Shelle and her background? Click here.