This is one metaphor I’ve used for a while, so thought I’d share it here too. It involves a helicopter and the different views it offers us depending on our coaching skills stage of development; including from inside the cockpit as pilot, or co-pilot. To viewing the terrain above, around and below. As well as from the view of being the helicopter.
As coaches, we hold the unique and honored position of being in a ‘human being to human being’ conversation. We have the privilege of being a confidante to our coaching client, listening to their hopes and dreams, listening for the gap from where they are now to where they’d ideally like to be.
As we progress in confidence with our coaching skills, we are able to expand our viewpoints of the client. We can ask questions, or make observations, from these different perspectives.
Using the perspective of a helicopter, here are some distinctions from how a beginner, competent, and masterful coach might view their client, and themselves.
Beginner, or ACC skill level coach
When I train, or mentor beginning level coaches, their perspective could be metaphorically described as this:
I’m the pilot of this helicopter (coaching session). How do I fly this thing? What are all these controls for? Where is the manual? What are the basic maneuvers? What are the steps to get this thing off the ground? What would my instructor (coach, mentor coach, coach trainer) say to do? What if the client finds out I’m a new pilot; will they trust me? There’s so many things to know. Where’s that manual that gave all the flying techniques? If I just follow the manual, I’ll be fine. I just need to show the client I’m in charge and prove that I know what I’m doing.
Competent, or PCC skill level coach
I’m the pilot of this helicopter (coaching session). Yet am I? Maybe my client also knows how to fly this thing? What if I ask them? What do they know? What are their capabilities? How high do they like to fly? Or perhaps hug the coastline? Maybe I can trust them to fly this instead of me! If I need to give some direction (on how the coaching session process works), then I can temporarily fly this thing. Maybe it’s okay for me to be the passenger sitting next to the pilot (coaching client).
Mastery, or MCC skill level coach
What a magnificent helicopter! I’d love to fly this thing. Yet even more joyful is when I get to ride alongside the pilot (my coaching client) in this amazing machine! Or what if I consider the view from being the helicopter? What does the pilot see that’s different than I see? How do they approach flying that might be different than I do? What can I learn from them? What do they need from me in order to fly this thing to their best ability? What emotions do they feel as they fly? What is the terrain below they are paying attention to most? Or maybe in front of them? What could cause them to feel overwhelmed? How do they handle unexpected situations?
I hope you get a picture of the difference between beginner, competent and masterful coaching skills. You might have more distinctions you can think of.
Mostly though, it’s Coaching Presence; how does the coach approach their coaching client. What level of trust does the coach have in themselves, the coaching process and in their client.
Each perspective is valid
In fact, there’s a ‘transcend and include’ element. Learn how to pilot a helicopter, then practice until you are competent. Then continue on to mastering all elements of piloting a helicopter, to the point where you can be the passenger and relax. Or be the helicopter! Maybe take charge of the cyclic if you momentarily need to. You know your (coaching client) is knowledgeable about themselves, and that your job is to find out what they know, what excites them, how they approach challenges, what helps them to navigate the scary aspects of moving from something known, to a new unknown.
There are always multiple perspectives the coach can take when coaching a client. Perhaps experiment with being the helicopter. What is that like? How is that different than being the pilot or the passenger? What are you aware of about yourself? What more might there be to learn?
Are you preparing for your first or next ICF Credential?
Do you want to “Sharpen the Saw” as a Coaching Professional?
Two Mentor Coaching Group Programs are now filling on a first registered and paid basis. Maximum of 6-10 participants per group.
Group #34 is PCC skill level / ACC Re-certification – February 26, 2019 (3 places remain)
NEW! Group #36 is MCC skill level – April 3, 2019 (6 places remain)
Start early with your mentoring requirements in the year of your renewal, especially if you plan to submit for your next credential instead of renew your current one. You will need to submit your application by mid August in order to accommodate the 18 week ICF process.
I offer a rich, experiential mentor coaching group and individual program that has many exclusive offerings for our participants. You can read some testimonials here
I have been trained by the ICF to assess using the PCC Markers. I also regularly assess for the ICF MCC and ACC credentials.
One of the unique offerings is an extensive library of MCC, PCC and ACC coaching sessions for participants to listen to, evaluate, debrief, and learn from, along with The Target Approach to demystifying the ICF core competencies. These are incredibly valuable learning tools, and will accelerate your understanding of competency distinctions.
Carly has created products to more deeply understand Establishing the Coaching Agreement and Ten Characteristics of MCC Skill Level.
Here’s where you’ll find more about The Mentor Coaching Group