Is It Too Late To Be A Student?
Are you afraid to go back to school?
Do you feel discouraged to finish that degree?
Do you think you’re too old to be a student again?
Maybe you think learning isn’t for you anymore.
Let me share with you my story.
These days, coaches have sprouted left and right all over the world. As a professional coach, how do I stand out?
I always tell my coachees who are transitioning careers, “How do you differentiate yourself from others? What do you have that others don’t? Differentiation and never-ending learning are important.”
Striving to practice what I teach, I always try to aim for something higher.
The teacher becomes the student
I’ve recently been accredited as an Associate Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a leading global organization for professional coaches and coaching. (Check out my ACC credentials here.)
I was a bit scared when I was just starting the accreditation process. I’ve been a teacher for more than a decade. The fear comes from thinking that it might be hard for me to adjust to becoming a student.
The process was challenging. There were a lot of field requirements.
We each had to find advanced coaches (PCC or MCC) who would mentor us for 10 sessions. I also needed the permission of my coachee if I could record our coaching session. My mentor coach then needed to check whether or not my recorded session would pass the ACC ICF standards. It took quite a number of recordings before my mentor said, “Yes, this is it!” The recordings with transcriptions were submitted to the ICF evaluation committee. Weeks went by, but there was no word if my submissions passed the standards. It was nerve-racking to wait. A weight has been lifted when I finally confirmed that my output passed.
The last step was a four-hour 155-question exam. I took it in the afternoon of Good Friday. As far as I knew from the experiences of others, after clicking on the submit button, I would instantly know whether I passed or failed. I prayed… and prayed hard! But, I wasn’t confident enough with my answers that I was ready to retake the exam and pay the 75-dollar fee. When I finally clicked on that “submit” button, exhaustion swept over my body. But after a minute, the results I saw on the screen lifted my spirits. I PASSED! Thank God!
Since it was Good Friday when I took the exam, I received on Monday the official word from ICF congratulating me for passing. I am now officially an ACC coach!
To further level up my coaching skills, I completed another globally recognized program—the Accelerating Coach Excellence (ACE) for Enhanced Practitioners.
The program required several sessions of coaching exercises and three practicums.
I struggled with one particular session wherein as coaches, we were limited to using only three-word questions in the process of coaching someone. Three words! I didn’t know it was that difficult to think of three-word questions!
In another exercise, we were limited to using just statements in the coaching process. We weren’t allowed to use questions. I kept on scratching my head.
The practicums were particularly scary, especially since you didn’t know with whom you’ll be grouped. Many of my “classmates” were more experienced coaches from all over the world. Some were executive coaches on a different level.
There were voices in my head saying, “Sino ba ako para makihalubilo sa kanila?” (Who am I to interact with them?)
Thankfully, a stronger voice within prevailed. “How will I learn? When will I start learning unless I interact with people like them?”
I was grouped with people from Dubai, the USA, and Australia. We worked on timely and personal issues. I really had to prepare in order to keep up. I felt like a student all over again.
Some sessions and exercises were so unique that they drove us to think hard and be creative in our approach. Some were so tough that I ended up asking myself, “Bakit nga ba ako sumali dito?” (Why am I doing this again?)
I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone.
Did I have to do it? No. But I wanted to do it. It’s about never-ending learning.
Today, I am proud and blessed to be an ICF Associate Certified Coach and an ACE Enhanced Practitioner. Both courses have expanded my knowledge to a whole new level. They provided me with more tools to help people through coaching.
My new credentials also hold me to a higher set of standards. I am accredited as a coach who has sworn to a code of ethics and a level of excellence set by global organizations. I will strive to live by these standards every day.
I hope my story encourages you to do the same.
It’s never too late to be a student. It’s never too late to learn.
LIVING IS LEARNING.