For the love of coaching

February 14 has become known for celebrating love. Why not celebrate another “true love” which is coaching!

In this article I share some of my coaching love story. Many of you have your own love story as well and I hope this inspires you to connect with your story (again, or now). When we connect with what we love about our life, we become more embodied in that love, and others can feel our love, our passion, and our engagement.

“I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.” ~ Thomas Edison

I enjoy hearing about, listening to, working with, and being with anyone who loves their life. This includes loving what they do. My hairdresser loves his craft, and that is who I want cutting my hair. He also shares his love for his wife – a fellow hairdresser – and for their two cats. I love that about him too because he is connected to his heart, and that is attractive energy to be around.

Coaching found me in 1997 in Australia, when a colleague now passed – Toney Fitzgerald – told me while we were staffing a personal development event in Sydney, that he was bringing the first ever coaching skills training from the US to Australia in 1998. He was in marketing mindset, and said I should take the 125 hours of in-person training.

What was he talking about? Being a participant in sport as a child and continuing with my love of sport in my adulthood playing tennis and netball for many years, I had only heard of sport coaching. He assured me there were skills of a professionally trained coach that would support people to become happier, more productive and accomplished. And it was an emerging profession that would make a difference in the world.

“Okay, send me the brochure Toney, when you have it.” And he did, about 4 months later. It was the Coach U training program to be held in Sydney in 1998. I read the brochure, and it sounded really interesting for someone already engaged in years of personal development. So I signed up.

At the time I was a co-founder of a small corporate communications company, creating communication strategies for large organizations to communicate their vision, values and strategies in fun, meaningful computer generated pictures, a form of storytelling using metaphor to explain more personally what each value meant as behavior and mindset (versus a statement on the wall poster of, “We value people” – well what did that look like as daily behavior?) Yet it always felt we weren’t making a difference, no lasting change, just lovely pictures of their strategic plan and values.

The short story is that after completing the first full week of the coaching skills training, my heart had a new love! After completing the rest of the training, I knew my life was going to change on many levels.

Sure enough; within one year of completing the training, my personal and professional “lives” were becoming very different. I sold my half of the business and committed to building my coaching business instead. My husband at the time and I decided to end our marriage. I worked with a therapist through this time, as well as a mentor coach to support me to develop myself as a professional coach, and to have coaching sessions (not just mentoring sessions with), so I could continue to experience being coached. The impact of having a coach/mentor coach was especially powerful for me, growing my confidence through practicing coaching, being coached, being mentored, and working on own development. It was an intense time of change.

I was able to create a thriving coaching business in Sydney within 2 years, at first supplementing my income with savings I had put aside for this purpose.

2000 – A New Love, and another Life Change

In 2000, I attended the ICF global conference held in Vancouver, Canada and again encountered Michael Stratford, a Coach U trainer who was already an ICF Master Certified Coach. We were both romantically “available” and began a long distance relationship (US to Australia is the definition of long distance!).

Our love blossomed and early September 2001, we were married and I immigrated to the US, just after the tragic events of 9/11. It was not an easy transition not only for that reason. Also moving countries, I felt like a “fish out of water” who had to learn the societal “rules” of this country which I found surprisingly hard and very different than as an Australian.

A lot of learning there, maybe for another time…

Many adventures occurred with my coaching, including some contract coaching work in a financial services company. Then working for a global coaching company where I was full time coaching in-person and by telephone. It was an intense period of learning, again!

ICF Assessing

In 2001, I was awarded the ICF PCC credential. In 2004, I had reached 2,500 hours of coaching clients and applied and received the MCC credential.

In 2005 I was invited to train as an ICF Assessor, and what a gift that turned out to be! Learning the core competencies at a level to assess, had me fall in love with coaching all over again! I was now aware of a whole new level of learning and application, whether it was ACC, PCC or MCC assessing.

To this day, I assess for all three credential levels, and love hearing the coaching session recordings submitted for Performance Evaluations. I’ve learned so much about culture, different approaches and coach training philosophies. And mostly about human beings, no matter where they are, at their heart wanting to be heard, to be confident, successful, giving in ways and to those who matter to them.

Mentor Coaching and Mentoring Supervision

In 2013, I co-created a mentor coaching program with Karen Boskemper, MCC. We put together something that is still going today, although Karen moved on after 5 years to her “true love” for more training and development work. I’ve carried on the program and evolved it, yet without Karen, the program wouldn’t have occurred.

Group #74 is about to commence and I still feel as passionate and in love with mentor coaching as I have in the past. Not only that, I incorporate even more “who” development in my mentoring, to support coaches to not only be more competent and capable, also to expand capacity to be more present, confident and agile to handle (almost) any coaching situation that arises.

Loving the Life Roller Coaster

The metaphor of life as a roller coaster works for me, as there are times that are scary, yet other times that are thrilling; it’s all in the perspective I’m holding at that time.

Can I be in love with my life, through the scary and the thrilling? Yes, sometimes it’s hard to remember what we love about life during the “hard” times, and they are real.


In Closing…

While I’ve given a “top line” in this article about my love of coaching, there have also been times of hard challenges, anxiety tendencies to work with, near death, and professional encounters that have been disturbing.

Through it all, I’m so grateful for that I have coaching in my life not only as a professional, also as a continued personal development practice.

What’s your coaching love story?

Written by Carly Anderson, MCC


Are you ready to upgrade your coaching skills, prepare for your next ICF credential, or renew your credential?

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I’m a long term (since 2005), experienced and active MCC Assessor. I’ve been trained by the ICF to assess using the PCC Markers. Since 2005, I regularly assess for ICF MCC, PCC and ACC credentials. I keep up-to-date with the latest ACC, PCC and MCC credentialing criteria and do my best to communicate such to all my mentoring clients in a simple manner. I’m passionate about supportive the professionalism of coaching, which includes often engaging in ICF projects as a volunteer to continue to develop and evolve our profession.

One of the unique offerings for my clients is access to an extensive, exclusive library of MCC, PCC and ACC coaching session recordings, many of which have passed the ICF credential exam process. These are an incredibly valuable self-learning tool, and will accelerate your understanding of competency distinctions at each skill level.

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