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School’s Out for Summer!

illustration of a woman working at a computer showing the ICF logo

As a workplace coach and consultant, I am often in the role of facilitator or instructor. This aligns well with my Predictive Index pattern, which is Scholar. If you’ve taken any of my PI trainings, you know that PI measures and analyzes behavioral drives to help understand what makes a person tick — and how those unique characteristics show up on a team or within a company.

We Scholars tend to be deliberate, organized, and subject-matter obsessed. Another way of saying it: We geek out big-time over whatever it is we’re into. We’re driven by a need for mastery in our field, and we like to grow and share our expertise. 

That’s one of the reasons I decided to pursue coursework through the International Coaching Federation for my advanced coaching certification. ICF credentialing is the gold standard for the industry. I love coaching, and I wanted to continue to offer my clients research-backed, cutting-edge solutions. ICF coaches meet stringent requirements and demonstrate expertise in helping leaders and teams solve problems, grow, and thrive. 

Getting into back-to-school mode seems like a perfect fit for someone with the PI Scholar profile, right? Lots of education, new knowledge, details, and data to dig into. I did relish those parts of the journey: coursework and classes with peers all over the country, deep dives into the neuroscience of human and workplace behavior and the latest research into communication and conflict resolution.

But here’s another thing about Scholars: We don’t love surprises, spontaneous pressure, or being put on the spot. It goes back to that always-being-prepared thing: I was put back into the seat of “student,” and I had to confront situations that made me nervous and that fell outside of my comfort zone. 

This was an “aha moment” for me. It put me into the seat of many of my clients who enter coaching sessions with fears or vulnerabilities about the process or what they might learn or the hard work ahead. It is instinctual for humans to try to protect ourselves. Our flight, fight, or freeze response kicks in. Those reflexes are natural, often healthy, and are designed to keep us safe. However, they can also keep us stuck in cycles of inaction, preventing us from learning, growing, and achieving what we are truly capable of. 

This understanding led to several other key takeaways from my certification process: 

  1. My training as a workplace coach is designed to help clients cross the barriers that are holding them back. In order to learn and grow, we have to feel safe. That starts with trust, which is created through building strong relationships. In workplace coaching, this looks and feels very different than, say, the methods used by a mental health therapist or a life coach. It takes a trained professional to guide clients through these processes in a positive and structured manner. 
  2. The answers aren’t always on the surface. I help leaders lean into curiosity — to use it as a tool for understanding themselves, their colleagues, and their challenges in a new light. In our busy business world, curiosity gets edged out, has no place on the schedule. But curiosity gets you more information. In some cases, I weave in principles from emotional intelligence and Predictive Index models. From a neurological perspective, curiosity opens a highway between the fear center in the brain and the thinking brain. That’s where real progress happens! I am continually amazed by how small tweaks in a leader’s approach can transform their relationships and results. 
  3. Discovery conversation is everything. Workplace coaches utilize a unique and highly specific form of dialog that prompts clients to recognize and eventually overcome obstacles. These can manifest as insecurities, fears, unhealthy patterns, ego, or even conflict. The secret sauce is asking powerfully crafted, open-ended questions from an objective perspective. That’s what makes a workplace coach different from a colleague, friend, or partner: We’re your ally without the baggage, and our only job is to help you succeed.

Learning is growing, and my credentialing process through the IFC provided an opportunity for me to expand my skill set and toolbox. My workplace coaching packages are customized for every client’s unique needs and challenges, but all of my work includes the science-backed, research-based principles of credentialed coaching. So you know you’re getting the real deal. Ready to work together? Contact me for a free exploratory conversation. 

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