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ACC coachopleidingen wat zijn er toch veel coaches

So many coaches

“And, what do you do for a living?” “I’m a coach.” “Ah, another one, who isn’t a coach these days?”

Practically every coach will recognise this conversation. And, to be fair, it doesn’t come out of thin air. After all, there are a lot of coaches these days, right? Even the media regularly reports on the ‘tsunami’ of coaches, and the (sometimes questionable) reputation of the profession.

Coaching has become a very popular term in recent years. A term that seems to tire people a bit in the meantime. Here’s another one: a ‘coach’. But what exactly is a coach? And what makes someone a good coach?

In this article, we will explain why, in our view, coaching is a very valuable profession and how you can distinguish a good coach in the current market.

Coaches can play a valuable role

As the Academy for Coaching and Counselling (ACC), we have been educating – you guessed it – coaches and counsellors for the past 26 years. We too, of course, see the growing trend and popularity of the term coach. And we too are aware of the large number of people who market themselves on a daily basis as coaches, with or without solid prior education. However, we also see that coaching is a wonderful profession, with which you can really make a difference in people’s lives.

The demand for mental health care is currently greater than ever. More and more people are encountering life issues for which they need professional help. The waiting lists for regular mental care are getting longer, while the group of people seeking help for social and stress-related issues is growing. We believe that coaching can provide a good solution for a large group of individuals who are struggling with ‘moderate’ issues. That is, the people who are not dealing with severe psychological disorders, but who would benefit from guidance on themes they get stuck in on a daily basis. These people do not always need a psychologist, social worker or a psychiatrist, but they do need someone to help them organise their thoughts, examine and break patterns, and figure out which path suits them best.

A free, but serious profession

Coaching is a free profession. This means that anyone, even without prior training or solid experience, can start a coaching business. This can be risky, because as a coach you often work with people with vulnerable life issues, and sometimes even with people who are traumatised and need specific care. Therefore, despite it being a free profession, coaching is also a very serious profession. Knowing how to deal with certain issues and being able to distinguish whether you are the right coach for a particular client/issue is essential.

What makes someone a good coach?

A good coach has the talent to work with other people in an empathetic, non-judgmental way, has completed thorough education and possesses a good level of self-awareness.

As a coach, you yourself are the instrument with which you guide the other person on their path. Therefore, it is important that, in addition to proper skills and knowledge of psychology and coaching, you also know who you are yourself, what your patterns and judgments are and where your pitfalls lie. Just the experiential expertise you have gained in your life is not enough to guide people well. In fact, with just your own experience there is a risk that you will project your story onto the other person and become a know-it-all rather than a coach. As a good coach you know yourself and your own pitfalls like no other, so that you can guide a client professionally, without projecting your own issues back onto them. Good coaching education will help you become aware of those pitfalls, so you will be able to recognise them before you start working with clients.

As a client, how do you recognise (and find) a good coach?

A good coach has completed thorough (coaching) education, has the right expertise for your issue and is affiliated with a professional association. Most professional associations only accept coaches who have followed an accredited or recognised training programme and have completed sufficient client hours. Therefore, it is important to check the coach’s website to see what their background is, what education they have followed and where they are affiliated.

However, research also shows that a large indicator of a successful coaching trajectory is the actual bond between the coach and the client. So, above all, you need to feel at home with a coach and trust them. It is therefore wise to ask your network for recommendations for a good coach. Don’t just call the first coach you come across in an ad, but take some time to see who really suits you and the issues you are coping with.

What does the ACC do to 'deliver' good coaches?

At the ACC, we strive to educate professional coaches who, with a well-stocked ‘toolbox’ and the right experience, can guide people on a variety of topics. In our training programmes, we cover a wide range of methodologies and theory, and encourage (and guide) our students to dive deep into their own personal processes. In doing so, we teach our students what they can do, but certainly also what they CANNOT do. For example, if you suspect that your client has a serious psychological disorder: refer them on! Is your client struggling with an issue that is beyond your expertise or comprehension: refer them on!

With this approach we try to make a difference in the world. We want to contribute to the quality of the profession and want to make sure that the coaches who are putting themselves out on the market are well-trained and can make a positive contribution to the lives of others.

Nowadays there are more and more professional associations of coaches and mental health care workers, that have drawn up a clear professional code, regularly check their members and pay attention to professional development. As an educator in this field, we are in regular contact with several professional associations and we match our training programmes to the qualifications they require. In this way, proliferation can be avoided and potential clients can better assess whether someone is a professional coach or a ‘bungler’.

Do you think you would be a good coach?

Do you think you could be a good coach, but do you have doubts because you feel there are already so many coaches out there? Then you are not alone. But know that you as well can make a difference by professionally guiding other people. And there is more than enough work out there, since the need for personal guidance is growing every day.

If you decide to take the leap, we do strongly advise you to follow proper (coaching) education before you start working as a coach, and also to join a good professional association. By doing so, you take your future clients serious and also distinguish yourself from ‘all those people who just call themselves coaches these days’.

If you want to discover whether becoming a coach suits you, feel free to take our test ‘Do you want to become a coach?’. Should you prefer to have a personal conversation about this, you can always contact us directly. We are happy to think with you and will always give you honest advice.

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