Joseph: [00:00:00] Hi everyone, a very warm welcome from myself, Joseph Grech on our latest episode of our podcast Coaching In Focus. On today’s episode, I am in conversation with a very wonderful Irene Broomfield. Irene is an ICF accredited coach. She’s recently got her a acc. And also completed both the Diploma and Advanced Diploma in Integrative Coaching with Become, and it was actually [00:00:30] Irene who got in touch with me to, uh, be a guest on this podcast episode because she wanted to share some of her experience in terms of choosing a coach training provider.
On this episode, we talk about some of the challenges in choosing that provider. For example, the sure amount of co-training providers that are. And the importance of finding one that feels right to you, that resonates with your values. Irene also talks about the importance of having that support from your [00:01:00] training school, alumni, communities, mentoring, supervision that can help you even after the program ends.
So without further ado, let’s listen into the conversation.
And it’s really nice to be here, Irene. Um, I know I’ve been begging you to be on the podcast for some time, so , it’s finally you’ve accepted.
Irene: Absolutely, and I’m not a reluctant participant. It’s lovely, [00:01:30] lovely. It
Joseph: was actually your idea. Remember you were like, I want to go book us now,
Irene: I was like, I’ve got an idea. So Irene, for those
Joseph: of you who don’t know you, I’ll give a bit of an another. You. So Irene, you have changed direction actually. You are originally working in hr. You took bit a career break and you decided to do something new and that’s how you found coaching. Um, you’re now a career coach.
You’re I C F accredited, you got your a acc, uh, very well done. Uh, and your [00:02:00] work is predominantly with met career women, um, to work under their careers to find careers, you know, create careers. They, that they love. Tell us a bit more about you.
Irene: Absolutely. So, um, so yes, so I was 50 a couple of weeks ago, so I feel that I very much fall into this mid-career category.
And having done decades in hr, I was very much looking for. For, um, a new opportunity, a new challenge [00:02:30] after I’d had a career break with both my boys who are now 23 and 13. So I’d always wanted to, um, learn to coach and I had re I really enjoyed my career in hr. , but I wanted to start to step away from the dismissals, the, the harder side of hr and to really focus more on starting to make more of a positive, um, difference in people’s lives.
And so I was looking for something very much for me that [00:03:00] I could take forward for the sort of the next phase of, of my working life, something that I was really gonna enjoy and. and the pandemic brought a perfect period in time that I could start to, to pursue this passion remotely. And so that was, I was really excited about that and it was something that I really will always look back on that period of time, um, as something that I really, really enjoyed doing.
So yeah, so I was on a search for a [00:03:30] coaching course and I suddenly discovered quite how complicated. Finding a coaching course is, in fact, this morning I Googled just for a bit of research. I Googled to see what came up. If you searched for coaching courses and in North Point 54 seconds, it produced 395 million coaching courses.
that I could have, you know, [00:04:00] chosen from. And so this was the point that I found myself in, you know, several years ago now when, when I was trying to find a coaching course. And, um, and it’s something that I get asked about a huge amount, um, sometimes by my clients who have also decided that they would like to pursue, um, a coaching.
and you know, and also by lots of people who have, um, reached out on LinkedIn and it’s been lovely to hear from them that are hoping to start to [00:04:30] pursue a coaching, um, you know, course in the near future. And, you know, and they all want to know how do you go about it? How do you find the right one? So I thought that would be an interesting topic to discuss today.
Joseph: that’s the focus of our conversation, right? You know, how do you navigate this? In increasing the compass world of coach training. So what do you do now? Tell us a bit more about, you know, so you’ve done your coaching program, um, you’ve done a few coaching programs, and what type of work do you do now?[00:05:00]
Irene: So I very much now focus on helping mid-career professionals. The majority of my clients are female. Mm-hmm. . But I do also have some lovely men that, um, that I get their privilege of coaching as well. And, and I help them very much sort of like rediscover who they are now, you know, work out what it is that they want for the next phase of their career.
Because all too often, um, you know, my generation, you either fell into a career. Or you [00:05:30] made some career choices back when you were 1821. Mm-hmm. 16, whatever age you were. Um, and, and you carried on down that path and you know, and you reach a point sometimes, certainly I did, where you suddenly think, this isn’t for me anymore.
Mm-hmm. , I want something different. I want something more. You might want something that. aligns better with your life or your passions or your interests. And so I have the exciting opportunity to to partner with my clients [00:06:00] and really get to work to discover what it is that they want so that we can then create some new career opportunities and things that, you know, career possibilities that they will go on and enjoy going forward.
Because I love the fact when people find a new career, , you know, really lights, lights up their worlds again. And, you know, has that ripple of effect of going out and, and making them happier. Fantastic,
Joseph: fantastic. And that’s why you created Simba Coaching as well to support these individuals. [00:06:30]
Irene: Absolutely. Yes.
Which is a whole new venture for me. I’ve never worked for myself before, so, um, so yes, when I was, when I went out, you, you referred to that fact, I did a couple of coaching courses. When I went out to learn how to coach, it really mattered to me that I, you know, I could find coaching provider that could give me sort of like an end-to-end.
Mm-hmm. experience. Mm-hmm. so that, you know, it was something, I think anybody that knows me knows, I’m not the sort of person that goes in for sort of a half-hearted [00:07:00] approach. It’s if I go to do something, I, I have to do it properly. Yeah. And, um, it’s a, it’s a theme that’s run through my life. So Yes. So I went out to find a coach.
Trained provider and course where I felt that I could learn to coach properly and that it would give me an accreditation. That I could go on and, and use as, you know, throughout my life. Mm-hmm. , um, you know, so that I could start to get some associate work plus [00:07:30] also run my own business. Fantastic. So
Joseph: let’s kind of start perhaps that discussion from that point.
Um, You know, you mentioned earlier, you know, a few years ago you went on Google, you searched for coaching programs. Mm-hmm. , and you, you know, stumbled on so many. Now, how did you start shifting and making some, you know, thinking about like a selection process of these different training providers? Yeah.
What did you do? .
Irene: So, well, first of all, I mean, it is, it feels really [00:08:00] overwhelming. There’s, because I think because coaching as a profession isn’t regulated yet. Yeah. Um, you’ve got the extremes of, you know, like, Really highly sort of like professional coaching companies through to the fact that you, you can literally log on and do a five day course online and you suddenly get this certificate sent through to say that you’ve become a coach.
Mm-hmm. . So I think. , my first awareness was the fact that there was [00:08:30] this polarization mm-hmm. and, and then I became aware that, you know, there were a number of, you know, accredited coaching bodies. Um, so because my circle was, you know, the HR circle, I started contacting lots of my HR colleagues and had many conversations about, you know, that this is the direction I was now thinking of taking my career.
what did people think? What were their views? What did people know about it? And the thing that kept coming back to me was, [00:09:00] oh, you should get your icf. Mm-hmm. credentials. Mm-hmm. , you should go and get your ICF credentials. So that then led me to the ICF website where, you know, it comes up even as you start to search for it, that it’s the, the gold standard in coaching.
And then as you go through and you find you. Who the I I C F are, you know, you get this, you know, um, statement about them being like this huge global coaching provider. So I [00:09:30] felt then that I was on the right track. I felt like I was starting to find my way. Mm-hmm. That this. , this was going to lead me to an accreditation that would be seen as credible.
Yeah. And trustworthy. And one that, you know, um, that it really mattered to me that. , my coaching clients would be able to work with me and feel that this accreditation gave them a basis that, you know, that I was a credible [00:10:00] coach. That really did matter to me. Yeah. So
Joseph: that was your first step really kind of, that’s was your first shifting, shifting matter to look at, you know, which ones are accredited and which ones are not, and I’m thinking about that.
It is still confusing because it is not just about being I CF accredited. There are some I CF courses that lead to that much more. For C P D, it’s actually finding ICF courses that are accredited that lead to the credential, to the A acc, to the PCC and the mcc,
Irene: for example. . Absolutely. And I did, and that was probably, [00:10:30] I didn’t discover that till a bit further down the line when, um, I was trying to sort of, to to work out then, you know, that there were multiple routes mm-hmm.
That there were multiple qualifications. Um, and at this point I think it, it’s can really easily start to feel too much. I think this, I feel with people. Sometimes people get to this point and then it’s almost like, okay, let’s just abandon the mission. Let’s just give up because this is all feeling far too much and far [00:11:00] too complicated.
Yeah. Um, and that’s when I started to look a bit more at, um, I’m sure other people must do this. I can’t be the only person that when you are starting to look for that new career, when you start to get that interest, you know, I was starting to. Get to know who different career coaches were, sort of like, you know, online and you know, there’s me stalking various websites and [00:11:30] things like that, thinking you’re doing your homework.
Oh my goodness. , yeah. Doing my homework, thinking, oh my goodness, how could I ever become somebody like that? Or how could I ever achieve that? Um, oh my goodness, they’re absolutely amazing. And, and so I started to then, See how they were qualifying, what they were doing, how they were studying, you know, that type of thing to give me more and more information about it.
Um, and then I think for me it became important to think, right, okay, I’m all in now. I’ve [00:12:00] decided I want to become, um, an I C F. , you know, accredited coach that go towards, you know, working towards my credentials. Mm-hmm. , but now it’s important for me to find the right training provider for me. Yeah. Um, and that was one of the best pieces of advice that I was given.
That either you are still, you are, you are like, you know, I’m of the Woolworths generation where you used to be presented with that pick and mix. Yeah. And any, and there’s so much choice. And so it’s [00:12:30] starting to work out what is the right. , what’s the right selection for you? Yeah,
Joseph: and that’s, I feel when things get a bit confusing, right?
Because you can very quickly go, oh, I want to pursue the I CF qualification. I wanna do an I L M. , but then you stumble onto that block. I remember when I did my own certifications, when I looked into all of these different providers and I looked at the content, it was all kind of similar, but also slightly different in a way.
And then what happened? You know, so, so you [00:13:00] got to the stage where you were like, okay, I need to find a right, um, provider for me. Like, what was your reason? You know, what, what kind of things did you do?
Irene: So I, I think this, even as you say that, I can feel my stomach clenching cuz I can so clearly remember thinking, okay, now I know what I want.
Mm-hmm. , and, you know, and, and you start to sort of like realize that this is an investment. We’re not talking about spending a hundred pounds. You are, you are talking about investing, [00:13:30] you know, a significant amount of money in yourself if you now want to go down this path. So I think for me, that then increased the sort of, the, the seriousness of it, of I’ve got to get this right.
You know, I’ve, I’ve got to make sure that, you know, I can’t keep doing multiple, you know, courses of this level. I need to make sure I get the one that’s right for me. So I think the next thing I then really drill down to was thinking, okay, what is it then that really, really matters to me, and [00:14:00] I think.
What mattered to me was, well, obviously it was during the pandemic. Mm-hmm. , so I needed to know I could access remotely, which, you know, back at that point in time was a new thing. Nowadays, it’s that what everybody wants, but at that point in time, it was really important that I could access remotely. Um, and then I wanted to think about how I like to learn and, and I like to do some doing.
I didn’t want to just sit and, and read about it or be lectured about it. I wanted to make sure that I was gonna get a chance to practice some [00:14:30] coaching, to actually do some coaching and get some feedback on that coaching so that I could, I could learn along the way. So I remember that being really important.
Um, I wanted to know if I was going to get some clients to practice on because, um, I sit on the more introvert end of the spectrum, so, you know, actually taking those first steps out into the big. wide world and saying to somebody, can I practice coaching on you? That sat in the, I’m not even gonna say slightly [00:15:00] terrifying that sat in the that sat in the really, really terrifying category at that point in time.
So, you know, um, so I was looking to see what support they would be on that side of things in terms of, you know, those first few steps. as you take, as you sort of start to make that, that journey on your, your coach training. Um, I also, I really felt passionately that I did not want to go somewhere that I was gonna get taught one coaching [00:15:30] model.
Mm-hmm. , I didn’t, I, I wanted a, you know, a broader experience. I didn’t want to just go and learn one coaching model and be expected to then deliver that as a lifetime, you know, to every client that I met. . So yeah. So that, that was where I got to in my, on my first search. So what we’re
Joseph: saying here is that it is important to know what you want from your coaching program.
Mm-hmm. . Um, and that can help, that could be like your [00:16:00] selection criteria. When you’re looking at all of the different training providers, do they offer, um, an online version of the program? Do they provide with mentoring, do I get to practice all of these things in there? Were there any other criteria that you were thinking?
Irene: So I think for me, I really wanted, I think by this point in time, I’d got enough information together that I really wanted sort of like an end-to-end process. Mm-hmm. , because, um, my, my goal was to get [00:16:30] my, my credential. Mm-hmm. , I really, really wanted to get my credential. So I think for me, it then also became, um, important to me is to think, you know, how else am I going to learn what other support will be in place?
You know, am I going to get some, you know, some mentoring? Is there going to be a variety of coaches that I can learn from? Mm-hmm. . Um, cuz when I first started, started out, you know, I had an inkling that career coaching, you know, might be [00:17:00] an area I’d be interested in, but I didn’t want to. Train in that area.
I wanted to get experience the fact that, you know, that I could, you know, as you say, you can coach anyone. To start off with that, I wanted to make sure that, you know, that I got a really sort of broad experience, but also that there was depths to it as well. Yeah. So that, you know, I could, I didn’t have to make that decision really upfront because I think the first coach training provider I started to look [00:17:30] into was purely career coaching.
and that’s when I thought, no, that’s too specific to start off with. I need some, I need some more breadth. Uh,
Joseph: and actually something that came to mind as you were talking about this is the, the, the fact that the content can be very different between each provider. So for example, our program focuses on those psychological approaches to supporting people.
you know, in a coaching context, but you can have programs that are more [00:18:00] clearly focused, like you said, on career coaching or mm-hmm. executive coaching or a particular style of working, uh, with clients, like a cognitive behavioral approach to coaching or whatever it is. And you can just qualify it in that.
So it is, and, and the assessment process also. Is a bit more flexible because we’re assessing behaviors. We’re not. It’s not like when you go to school and you’ve got a curriculum and a syllabus and you know, you get taught all this stuff and you have to then show knowledge [00:18:30] against this. But it’s actually things around, well, how are you showing up with your client?
You know, what behaviors are you showing? So it doesn’t matter if you’ve been thought model X or model Y. Ultimately, what is important to develop are your coaching behaviors and choosing. a course that lends itself to, you know, the behaviors that you see are important in coaching is also key. I think sometimes people look at the content in a lot of detail, not [00:19:00] necessarily around, well, who is it that I am as a coach and you know, what can I develop in me?
Irene: and that’s, that took a while for me to work out mm-hmm. , that there was so much more to it, because I think the bit that I really, really underestimated is the fact that in reality you are not just choosing mm-hmm. a coaching. Provider, a coaching course to learn how to co to coach, because you [00:19:30] know, when people talk to me, there’s lots of, you know, there tends to be a number of reasons people will say to me that they’re looking for a coaching course.
They either want to like learn the coaching skills. Mm-hmm. , they want to improve their coaching skills. Um, you know, they want that credibility or they want to, um, they want a coaching qualification to give them. more career opportunities because, you know, a coaching company’s looking for it, or there’s, there’s something they’ve got in mind, which is, is why they want that, you know, that [00:20:00] actual credential.
But I think, you know, for me, the bit that I really had underestimated was how much I as a person would, would change. through the process. Yeah. Yeah. And, and I think when I talk to people about what course to choose, for me the, one of the reasons. , it’s so important to take some time to get it right and to think who it is, because this is quite a transformational journey that you go on, and I know [00:20:30] that sounds, you know, that can sound a bit crass and a bit naf and nobody could have explained this to me beforehand.
Mm-hmm. . , but it, but you yourself do go on, yeah. Quite a process through this and, um, well, and, and my whole coaching cohort, and you, yourself, Joseph, you’ll have seen, you know, I was really nervous when I started, you know, I had come from, from, you know, quite a long career break with my boys. I mean, Even trying to learn Zoom and goodness knows [00:21:00] what, at that point in time, felt like a challenge.
And so I think, you know, it really mattered to me that the coach training provider that I chose to work with was somewhere that would see me as Irene, not just another, I wasn’t just another delegate coming through their process. Irene, and you know, it was Irene that didn’t have a huge amount of confidence at that point in time and.
And also Irene, who had been an HR [00:21:30] manager who, you know, all respectable HR professionals, but we are really good at telling people what to do. Mm-hmm. You know, we are, we are an expert at giving advice. I had spent decades at being. , the knowledgeable one who shared her HR expertise with whichever organization, you know, I was lucky enough to work in and suddenly I had to not give advice.
Suddenly I was learning a completely new skill. That was hard. It was [00:22:00] hard and, but hard and challenging in a really good way. So I think for me it was, you know, really important to be in a, in a safe and protective space where you could make those mistakes. Where you got that mentoring, where you could, you could learn and go on this journey from, oh my goodness, my first recording, I probably just told, told the poor person what to do throughout, you know, right through to the.
That you [00:22:30] are, you know, you are being recorded for your I C F credential and, you know, and that the transformation that takes place is
Joseph: enormous and just spot on. You know, having that continuous continued support even after you finish the program, whether it’s via mentoring, you know, alumni, ups, uh, supervision, whatever it is, catch up sessions.
is really key because sometimes people come in and they’ll say, oh, so once I do the program, I get my ICF accreditation. I’m like, well, [00:23:00] there is another step, you know, you need to practice. Um, and it’s different to another training course where you might get a qualification and then you go, actually, you get the qualification, then you need to practice, get your mentoring, and after that you get your a.
So it’s important to see
Irene: that. Yeah, I think you’re so right. Yeah. You know, I, I think it’s a really good question to ask is what happens when you get to the end of your program, you know, what support is in place. And, and I have been supported from, [00:23:30] you know, from day one. Right. And, and I’m still being supported in terms of, you know, with each step forward that I take, you know, the support has been there throughout.
And, you know, so what I always say to people is, you know, really drill down into the coaching, um, training provider that you are considering, you know, Are they who they say they are? Do you get to meet any of your, you know, any of that coaching company before you sign up? Mm-hmm. . Um, can you speak to any of the alumni, [00:24:00] you know, are they who they are?
You know, that whole Ron Seal, you know, tin test is, are they who they say they are? Yeah. Um, . And you know, and that’s why I’m, I’m always happy to, to have a conversation with anybody that’s, you know, that’s, that’s considering signing up because, you know, I think it’s nice for them to see, you know, that, that you are real, that there’s genuine, that you have walked that walk, um, you know, along the way.
And, and I think it’s, you know, it’s also like really, really, I. That when you are, when [00:24:30] you are looking at that provider that you are constantly, you know, asking yourself whether or not they’re the right. You know, are they the right provider for me? Will the support be there throughout mm-hmm. , are they going to, you know, um,
I certainly, I know when I was working up to my, my accreditation, you know, it’s, it’s hard. It is hard. And suddenly, you know, you are reaching out for support because you know, you’ve got an exam set or there’s, you know, , there’s things in place and, and I think for [00:25:00] me, that continuity of knowing. that, you know, that the support does continue.
That there, there, there are alumni meetup meetups, there’s, you know, there’s supervision that I can access. That’s all been really important to me. And, um, and also, you know, what are the quality of the learning materials as you go along? Yeah, I mean, I had this incredible, um, Learning portal. Okay. and , which, you know, it’s, it’s, uh, I can honestly say it’s the best learning portal I’ve ever [00:25:30] had access to on any training, um, program.
And, you know, and it’s there to accompany you every single step of the way. And to go back to, and to reflect on, um, with all, you know, everything from some of the tools you need, the letters you need. I mean, every single thing that I’ve needed has been, I’ve been able to find on there. , and, you know, and that really, really was an enormous support to me along the way.
Joseph: I, I thought that came to mind as you were saying this. It’s [00:26:00] about establishing whether your training provider is also adopting those coaching competencies that we would see in a coach. Right? Are they being honest? Yeah. Are they being genuine? Are they being quite directive and salesy, or are they letting me make up my mind in terms of the, like, are they showing those same competencies that I would expect?
Because ultimately they’re. .
Irene: Yeah. And that’s such, that is such a good, um, you know, a good point to make. And, and you know, and all I can say is from my experience with every, [00:26:30] every single coach that I have worked with, um, you know, from, um, the cuff mm-hmm. training and coaching, they have all absolutely displayed those, you know, those competencies and those traits.
But what I love about it is the. Every single coach and trainer is, is different, and they’re all, you know, completely unique. It’s not like a, a cookie cutter approach of coaches, you know, every single person. And I’ve, and that’s what I’ve really loved in [00:27:00] the fact is, you know, getting to. To work alongside so many mm-hmm.
um, different coaches, all of which have, they’ve got their own interests, they’ve got their own coaching practices that run alongside and you know, so there’s just such a huge wealth of information that you can sort of learn. Yeah. You know, just. Just by sort of seeing different people’s different styles, which
Joseph: is also another great, I mean, thanks for that feedback.
It’s really valuable. And I’ll pass a message to the rest of the team. . Um, uh, it’s about [00:27:30] this idea around do we, you know, do I get one approach? Do I get to work with one person or will this open up a number of different doors and windows and everything so that I can work with different people doing all sorts of, uh, learning from different.
We’re getting quite close towards the end, Irene, of our podcast today. And you know, we could keep on talking about this, but if you had to kind of summarize what could be some of the key takeaways, if somebody’s thinking about, um, becoming a coach and they’re [00:28:00] at that point that you were a few years ago, going online and feeling a bit overwhelmed, what would be some tips that you might have?
Irene: my first tip is to do it. Mm-hmm. if. Because often as you, as you start to consider doing something new that you know that, that inner voice inside of you can start to shout really loudly to say, oh, don’t do it. It’s all too scary. It’s all too much. Um, so my first piece of advice is [00:28:30] to, you know, to really believe in the fact that this is something that you want to do.
then absolutely. Pursue, pursue your dream of being a coach. It’s, it is the best, um, decision that I made. Um, and then my second tip is the fact is, you know, take your, take your time to make sure that you get an, an accredited, you know, training provider. You know, I have heard too many horror stories of people spending [00:29:00] huge amounts of money on courses that are not going to give them.
What, you know, what it is that they want. So go back to that core basis of, you know, what is your why, why do you want to coach? What’s your aim of coaching and what you need to be successful in the coaching area that you want to one day work in? And, and I think as long as you keep revisiting that, then you know, you’ll make, you know, you will find it the right path.
[00:29:30] And. and you know, and hopefully you will find a coaching provider that you know, that you too could be working with several years down the line. And you know, and you’ll be delighted to volunteer to go on a podcast and say, , I wanna talk about my story, , I wanna talk about my story because I wanna help other people, you know, take that step and you know, and feel confident about doing it that I have.
In themselves and they’ve made the right decision.
Joseph: That’s brilliant. What a positive way to end the podcast [00:30:00] today. Oh, thank you so much, Irene, for, you know, giving us a little bit of your time to tell us about your experience and I wish you many, many more years of success in coaching.
Irene: Thank you so much. A pleasure.
Joseph: I hope that you’ve found that conversation. I really resonate with some of the points that Irene mentioned because I experienced them myself as I was choosing a [00:30:30] co-training provider, um, years ago. It is important to note though, that just by following a co-training program, it doesn’t mean that all of a sudden you’re gonna become this fabulous coach.
Actually, it takes a bit of time. Practice is really key and practice is important and so is super. If you have liked this episode, it would be great if you could rate it, leave a comment, and also share it with your friends. And in the meantime, I hope to see you soon on the next episode of Coaching and Focus.[00:31:00]