Nicola Thompson began her coaching journey with the ICS Programme and has since completed the ILM Level 7 Certificate. She now has her own consultancy business offering HR, Training, Life & Career Coaching Services. Here she reflects back over her MF experience.
What made you decide to do the qualification?
"I had been coaching since the beginning of my career in a large consultancy firm where I coached many candidates through leadership qualifications. Coaching continued as a key part of my career, both leading teams and supporting managers with people and organisational development issues. The qualification was a way to consolidate those skills and check in that my coaching style and approach was best practice."
What were your expectations of the course?
"I was very open-minded about it. The focused nature of the Intensive Coaching Skills (ICS) programme appealed to me and my learning style and was a great way to start the process. I was looking forward to meeting a wide range of people and I definitely did. It was a lovely mix of people with different reasons for being there but a shared passion for coaching. Although there were some nerves to begin with, after the first couple of hours we got really immersed in coaching and the facilitators created a comfortable environment. By day 1 felt I was on the right course and had made the right decision."
What was your biggest challenge?
"Probably getting the assignments done and balancing work and home life as a single parent. However, looking back, I’m pleased that I chose the Level 7 due to the fact that it stretched me. This meant that I felt so much more confident in my abilities and credentials when I stepped into self-employment and the marketing I needed to undertake associated with that."
And has it had an impact on your personal life too?
"Absolutely, I find myself slipping into ‘coaching mode’ with colleagues, friends and relatives all the time! An example that has had a major impact on family life is supporting my son’s application to a commercial airline academy to train as a pilot. He was just 18 and studying for A-Levels and had some doubts that he could demonstrate the confidence and life skills to stand out in such a competitive field (only 4% of applicants are successful in getting on the programme).Coaching techniques helped elicit some fantastic examples of his leadership skills and calmness under pressure from experiences in the Army Cadet Force, Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and charity challenges. He is now graduating ground school and will be off to Portugal soon for the next stage of flight training. No matter what my coaching ever helps someone achieve in a work setting, this I suspect will be my stand out success!"
Would you recommend this qualification to a colleague? If so, why?
"It’s perfect for anyone who is serious about being a professional coach and wants to underline that with sound training and a qualification that is renowned and speaks for itself. There are other cheaper qualifications on the market that are quick to complete, but I would advise someone to invest in themselves and their future in a qualification that is of such good quality."
What advice would you give other people doing a qualification, so they get the most out of it?
"To really clear and dedicate the time it deserves. The ICS is perfect for people with busy lives as the distractions are fewer and you’re immersed in it. But the assignments and case studies on the ILM Level 7 are more tricky. You need to work closely with your supervisor who is there to support you with any issues."
How will you use your coaching skills in the future?
"Whilst I was thoroughly enjoying my full-time Head of OD role during my studies, the qualification began to reawaken my desire to coach even more and, ultimately, work for myself. It wasn’t long before I had submitted a request for part-time work in order to build my coaching practice and, just a couple of years later, I felt prepared and brave enough to make the full leap. Well into my third year I have no regrets!"
How would you describe your experience with MF?
"It’s very professional but also very personal. I had a lot of faith in MF, from the promotional material, administration, course and the support throughout. The trainers and supervisors have a very acute understanding that you also have a life and that the
course is tough but worth investing in and will do everything they can to help you get there."
Would you recommend MF to others? If so, why?
"Most definitely, I already have. Whether you’re going on to be a self-employed coach or want to hone your people skills even further as a manager within an organisation, MF will give you an excellent grounding, fantastic support and increased confidence in your abilities. The prestige of the qualification also means that, if self-employed, you’ll have an edge when attracting clients and bidding for work and, if in the market for a new job, you’ll have a well-renowned qualification at a level higher than your competition."
ARE YOU FEELING INSPIRED?
We offer a number of professional qualifications in executive coaching.
To find out more, contact Sarah Campbell on +44 (0)20 7928 4841 or email Sarah on email@example.com