Thursday, October 20, 2005

It's a Process...

I still have my notes from the past two eposides of Survivor - Guatemala. I promise I'll get to them. In the meantime, there's something interesting going on with regard to my coaching that I thought would be worth sharing... The International Coach Federation recently announced a change to their credentialing process, a shift that I wholeheartedly support because I anticipate this will help professionalize the industry. Hiring a credentialed coach means a greater certainty of high quality service and as the market demand for this level of quantified quality increases, the value of coaches who are credentialed will also increase. It is the sort of scenario for which the term "Win-Win" situation was invented.

As such, it only makes sense that I increase my own value and support the process at the same time by applying for my own credential. I've always actively worked toward my credential and now it's time to actually get to work on the application process.

In order to edify my clients and potential clients as to what's involved and what a credential actually means and also share my experience with other coaches considering this move themselves, I thought it might be nice to catch you up on where I've been to date and share with you the steps I take between now and January, when I intend to submit my application.

First a bit of background - As a technical support manager, I was fortunate enough to start out reporting to a person with highly developed coaching skills. Although he was not certified or credentialed in the field as I've come to understand it, he clearly had some background and a natural talent and much of what I learned about coaching that didn't come from sheer trial and error in fact came from him. I made every effort to live up to his standards during the years I spent managing, incorporating what I learned from him along with other previous experiences.

In early fall of 2002, I enrolled in a coach-specific training program and immediately began practicing the important skills I began learning in a formal training setting. I'd already been working with a coach of my own for quite some time so by this time I was seriously grounded in where I was headed and also had a great role model to follow.

By winter of 2003, I had completed my training at the Academy for Coach Training and had by this time also shifted my focus from work as an employee in the corporate world to my consulting and coaching practice. Somewhere in there, I also purchased a copy of Client Compass for tracking my coaching time and immediately started logging all relevant coaching hours.

Since then, I have devoted considerable time to the Puget Sound Coaches Association (where I am currently President) and family needs as well as my business, which includes offering workshops and consulting services in addition to coaching. I happen to like the mix and it also means I've not been in blind pursuit of the almighty credential-worthy coaching hours. I'm glad it's taken me some time to get to this point - I feel like I appreciate it better as a result and the hours I've collected have been well-seasoned ones.

A couple of days ago, the ICF website was updated with the new requirements. It took me until today to actually be able to access the version appropriate for me and looking it over this afternoon has seemed a bit like unwrapping a gift. Okay, so it's one I have to put together before I can use, but hey, it's no less special for it!

Whether you are thinking of hiring a coach or are considering applying for a credential of your own, you owe it to yourself to have an idea of what's involved in the process. My own first step was to print out two copies of the application. I know I'll have trouble getting a clean copy first time out so am planning ahead in that respect.

Next, I started looking it over and filling out blanks - my name and contact information, etc and also re-read the Code of Ethics I'd agreed to years ago. Then on to the array of attachments I'm to provide...

Attachment 1 - selected the appropriate Accredited Coach Training Program I'd completed and dug out the certificate I'd received and made a copy to submit with the application.

Attachment 2 - started working on creating a coaching log from Client Compass that looks like the sample coaching log the ICF Application Review Committee wants to see. Fortunately, the application I use does a pretty good job pulling all the information needed; mostly it's just going to be about formatting though it will still take some effort - thank goodness I'm getting this started now!

One of the first things I notice is that I'll need consent from all of my clients to release their names to the Applications Review Committee. Even though they will still maintain confidentiality, finding and reaching everyone could take a while, so I'm really glad I'm getting started now.

More on this as I make further headway on this thing. And more comments on Survivor Guatemala soon too!

If you have questions or comments of your own, be sure to send them to me at and I'll be sure to do something important with them, like respond.

What's the next step that will take you closer to somewhere you want to be?

Kimm Viebrock is a Certified Professional Coach who helps technology professionals and service-oriented technology groups develop and use their skills more effectively and increase their value within the larger organizaion, allowing them to do more, do it better and have more fun doing it. Kimm is devoted to finding the connectedness in life.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

SG – When the Going Gets Tough…

The most recent Survivor Guatemala episode shone a spotlight on a handful of concepts voted amongst family and friends as “most likely to prompt a 45-minute discussion with Kimm.” Some might justifiably argue that the discussion is just as likely to turn into a monologue but really, that only occurs if a person shows significant interest in the topic and then doesn’t hold up their end of the conversation.

Second runner up in this category – no one seems to have understood or cared what Brianna found important (“…she never once looked me in the eye”) nor did she herself seem to understand the premium the rest of her team placed on athleticism which of course was largely responsible for her subsequent dismissal from the game.

Now that she’s gone, we’ll never know for sure if a better understanding in that regard might have improved team performance. My argument is that it certainly couldn’t have hurt anyway, and may have actually held the key to winning. If past history is any indicator, when the Survivors later get to the point of voting people off the team and onto the jury determining who will ultimately win the million dollar purse, such an oversight can become critical. Every bit as critical as thinking you’re rid of a nuisance co-worker only to have that person turn out to be your new boss at a different company and all they remember about you is how badly you treated them.

First runner up was the Yaxha single-minded emphasis on athletic ability – an understandable priority given the fact that they’ve been beat in that department a number of times now. Survivor is no more about just sheer physical strength than is the rest of life though. It counts for a lot, just like high productivity numbers count for a lot but it’s not the whole story. Qualities such as ingenuity, understanding people, practical application of skills, and sense of history also matter.

My contention is that well-rounded individuals and well-balanced teams will always be more adaptable and therefore more successful in the long run than those who emphasize a single talent to the exclusion of all others. My guess is that with Jeff’s proclamation to beware of focusing just on athleticism, we’ll see more of that principle playing itself out during the rest of the season.

That said, I probably would have voted out Brianna myself even though she is one of two Washingtonians from towns not far from my own. I’m thinking that where Gary and Stephenie focused on her lack of athletic ability, I would suggest that what they really noticed was a lack of toughness that’s needed to continue to give it your all, even when you don’t feel up to that task – a refusal to give up; take Bobby Jon's determination to keep going, even when he really couldn't even move his legs, as an example of the kind of gumption I'm talking about. He may have been overdoing it but at least he wasn't wimping out (other's opinions about that aside, of course).

While such toughness (or lack of it) is particularly noticeable in physical challenges, I’ve seen it play an important role in emotional and other non-physical challenges as well. That’s perhaps the single most important quality in my book and I found more missing in Brianna than anyone else on that team. It’s just as important in figuring out puzzles and dealing with difficult people as it is in trying to play the Mayan equivalent of football so I think of it as a necessary element in almost every situation.

This is, of course, a bias of mine that others may not share. What qualities do you believe are pre-requisites for success? Send them to and we’ll compile a list.

What do you do to broaden your experiences and your skills so that you’re less likely to be seen as a “one-trick pony”?