A journey to Master Certified Coach

For the master, surrender means there are no experts. There are only learners.” – George Leonard

This goes out to everyone who is on a journey to Mastery in whatever field and in particular to coaches.

A great reference is the book Mastery: the Keys to Success and Long Term Fulfillment (Penguin Books, 1992) by George Leonard it points to Five Keys to Mastery (and there is even a documentary about it).

Key 1: Instruction -> Before mastery, it is necessary to learn and be instructed from those further on the path.

Key 2: Practice -> Practice, practice and more practice to get more masterful (more about practice below).

Key 3: Surrender -> Trust the process as one with ups and downs… Keep learning and surrender to the journey.

Key 4: Intentionality -> Use intention, note that intention remain useless without action (more about Why below).

Key 5: The Edge -> Your personal edge, add your own flavour.

I saw this in an MCC profile to other MCCs, it also captures beautifully my experience:

If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking “Oh wow, I’m an MCC. I know all there is to know.

And then you might be thinking. “Wow. I’m an MCC, and there’s so much I don’t know.

And then you might realize “Wow. I’m an MCC and I know nothing.

A coach once said mastery in coaching is when someone wakes you up in the middle of the night and you are able to have a coaching session.

I invite you to a couple of highlights of my journey to get accredited as a Master Certified Coach (MCC) with the ICF and share some learnings. The International Coaching Federation (ICF) is the world’s largest organisation of professionally trained coaches with around 30000 members, less than 3% are MCCs.

Yes, certification is a business and I also have my doubts about a lot of what is being done by several associations and individuals. Reality is -> clients are increasingly giving it importance and in a market like executive coaching where there aren’t other references, accreditation is the way clients are distinguishing who’s who.

According to the Ridler Report about executive coaching, the percentage of organisations requiring individual accreditation by a professional coaching body increased from 54% in 2013 to 68% in 2015.

Start with … Why?

Why? Going on a journey having a Why will keep you going and committed.

“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.” Friedrich Nietzsche

For a long time I postponed getting certified as a coach. Why? I thought… since starting in executive coaching 15 years ago, I was never asked for certifications. Well, that changed about 18 months ago when one big potential client that I’m really interested in working with said they only work with MCC coaches. There… I got the Why to get started.

Practice Makes Perfect (Incomplete) —> Perfect Practice Makes Perfect (Yeah!!)

It’s not only practicing 10.000 hours that makes experts. It’s getting feedback, reviewing and improving on the practice. And go through the learning cycle several times.

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”          Samuel Beckett

Mentor Coach

Mastery in anything requires practice, improvement requires practice that builds on itself. For that a mentor coach can be the support that brings your practice to the next level and then to the next. And after the mentor coach, regular coaching supervision is a way to support your development.

Coaching Supervision

I was skeptical about coaching supervision, it could be another fad, a way of coaches to make money out of coaches yet again. And yet again I was lead to supervision by clients who asked me if I was getting supervision (specially in the UK). That made me pay attention, I’m now on my third year and in the third process of receiving coaching supervision and notice significant development.

Team Work

After completing the MCC, I realised how many people helped and inspired me in the journey. Different people at different times. Who’s in your team? Who do you need to recruit to your team?

What’s Next?

Sometimes before getting engaged by a new client I continue to be asked to do a coaching demonstration. The bar has been raised and now I feel the responsibility to continue to develop myself and support others in their journeys. Been asked by a couple of coaches to mentor them. Mentoring programs for ICF accreditation are in process.

This is an ongoing journey. There are no experts, only learners.

Top Resources (feel free to add more in comments):

Peer Coaching -> Reciprocoach, ICF members can also find peer coaching inside the ICF member site, powered by Reprocoach (different rounds)

Live Coaching Calls with MCCs and PCCs -> Real Coaching Sessions Unplugged (free to listen via phone, one call per month, one free recording sent when you sign up)

Audio Coaching Demo with Carly Anderson, MCC and interview with Darcy Luoma, MCC about her preparation for the credential

Audio Coaching Demo with Suzi Pomerantz, MCC

Video Coaching Demos with MCCs (in Spanish) -> Damian Goldvarg, MCC

Audios about coaching -> Life Coaching Training (free, includes 3 coaching session recordings with Pat Williams, MCC and many other recordings)

Core Competence -> Direct Communication, video by Alan Meyne, PCC (long video with examples)

Podcast -> Becoming a MCC with Teresa Pool, MCC

Article -> Jane Adshead-Grant, MCC – The journey to MCC

Article -> The Coach’s Journey Towards Mastery

Comparison of Training Schools Grid -> Marianna Lead, MCC, as ICF MCC/Assessor, offers a FREE consultation to anyone who is overwhelmed with choosing a coach training or has questions about ICF credentialing process.

TED Talk -> Atul Gawande, Want to get great at something? Get a coach



André Ribeiro is an executive coach, team coach and mentor coach. He is Master Certified Coach by the International Coach Federation and Senior Practitioner by the European Mentoring and Coaching Council. 

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