Today, I want to talk about quality coaching. I got the idea of writing this article last August 8th at 11h23 ; I was sweating and had only about 50 minutes to finish a challenging test. It has been 55 days since I have received the green light to pass the test that would allow me to obtain the certification PCC (Professional Certified Coach) from the ICF (International Coach Federation) ; validating hence my 750 hours of training.

Although I had received this test 60 days ahead of the deadline, I must admit that I left aside. There was always something more urgent, clients to meet or to marvel, articles to write, coaches to accompany… This is why those 60 days have gone by so fast and I was only left with 5 days to take that test. See for yourselves its conditions:

  • The test lasts 3 hours with no breaks
  • Once started, you must go through the test completely
  • It consists of multiple choice questions (1 out of 4 is right)
  • The local ICF representative had recommended me to have a second read of the competency document as well as the ethical code. I have those two documents printed on my table.

I started taking the test at 9h15 knowing that at 12h30 I had a meeting with a client 20 kilometers from my office. However, I was under the impression that I could pull it off in under 3 hours. Hence, I sit down and click on the link…

There are 155 questions ! Moreover, you need at least 70% to pass the test. That meant answering correctly at least 109 questions in the next 2 hours and 59 minutes if I still wanted to be a coach once this test was over. Damn… ! A shiver goes down my spine!

Question 1 : Good, this is exactly what I have read in one of the paragraphs in the competency document. One down.
Question 2 : I’m hesitating ; I look through, I assess, I compare , good, here I go.

The worst is that the Wi-fi was not working properly that day. Consequently, whenever I would click on « next », everything would slow down and it would take several seconds before I was able to see the following question. Then, after 50 minutes, I had only a mere 35 questions done. I progressed very slowly. I was slowly getting more and more nervous ; I change spots so I could be in the area where the Wi-fi was the strongest and I decide to answer the questions without even looking at my notes.

Facing questions regarding behaviours, I remember then of the coaching basics. Some that I have experienced on a regular basis, others less.

From now on, it would take me around 20 seconds to answer each question. I quickly noticed that I would be late for my appointment ; I then asked Viviane to let them know of the possible delay.

I have 10 minutes left from those 3 hours and 12 questions to answer. When there will be only 80 seconds left, I will have time to come back to a question that I would have left unanswered. 30 seconds is what I have left, proofread, and send.

Congratulations ; test passed ! 74.80%
3 weeks later, I had the certificate in my hands. I don’t like to brag about my achievements but this certificate is proudly exhibited on my wall… and you know why now.

It has been 6 years since I have taken my last exam (the latest was another coaching diploma). What a relief !

Thanks to this incredible experience, I realized that

  1. I have the priviledge to have a wonderful job : coach. I have to admit that I feel very lucky.
  2. I think that along with the other 26 000 coaches of the ICF around the world (but also coaches affiliated with other federations), we help make the world a better place.
  3. Thanks to the ICF and its international partners to pursue the building of such a great profession and the promotion of QUALITY COACHING
  4. Separate requirement and excellence ; Knowing when to have empathy when we deem appropriate to proceed this way or that way with someone, give something back, put ourselves in the uncomfortable position even if that means saying things that the other person doesn’t necessarily wish to hear.
  5. My teacher and friend Pascual Montañés once said that when smart people stop thinking, they think about bright things. We coaches believe everyone is intelligent. All of us. And our job is to establish a space where the other person can be free to think, put things in perspective, make decisions…
  6. This « thinking break » makes sense when everything is fast paced; In our case, we define commerce, shops as a privileged environment, in which everything is going fast : clients, products, rebates, trends…
  7. My main responsibility is to carry on training, watch my behaviour, to give each coach, each client, whether they are CEO or a a salesman…the best in me as a coach.
  8. I once again say how proud I am of the coaches from CapKelenn, not only as professional coaches but also as retail experts.
  9. Our job is not to counsel nor is it to pretend to be intelligent people, but to give you the best of ourselves, judgment free without expecting anything from you. Sometimes, it is mandatory to recognize that it is more valuable to polish the diamond without adding any fluff to allow it to shine as bright as it can. Our world needs that ! We are diamond polishers.
  10. It is clear that being a coach has an impact on our personality as well as our capability of being parents, spouses. Have a say on what is better for the other person. Sometimes, the mere fact of being here and now, listening to the other is sufficient.


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