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Factors to Consider When Choosing Between University and Other Business Coaching Programs

Aug 17, 2007
Professional coaching in this day and age is a set of cross discipline methods and techniques to facilitate change at both, individual and organizational level. The age-old traditional coaching methods are out of step, with the rate and kind of change witnessed today and the consequent learning needs. These outmoded methods are not in line with the expectations and needs of the present clients or the assumptions, interests and characteristics of business change required in this century.

Coaches need to be well trained and qualified in the use of the latest technology and should be able to explain, if asked, the reasons behind the selection of a certain methodology. Simply put, a number of people know the basics now and you need to be well informed enough to justify your choices and actions to them, if called upon to do so. You must be able to identify the resources necessary and to organize and then allocate the said resources. You must recognize the kind of information you need, acquire it, organize and analyze it to use it to the optimum. You need to understand the structure, the nature and the complex relationships within the businesses and the organizations you intervene for and design and manage the appropriate coaching program to fit the systems at work. You must also be able and willing to work with multiple coaching technologies and learn the new technology available.

Business coach training is available from three sources. There are the self-styled coaching federations or associations, which mass-market open-program courses and are basically just mills churning out credentials with little recognition, to anyone willing to pay their fees. There are some Industry-centric, focused courses that are designed and run by people who are experts and have a certain amount of workplace experience or are successful coaching practitioners. And then, there are some certificate courses designed and delivered by various universities and their franchisees.

Choosing the course to take is a major decision and there are many things that must be considered. First of all, consider the cost-value-return equation and look at the time factor and the final level of the course. Take the time to learn about the various facilitators and their relevant experience, field of expertise, qualifications and the expectations of the school.

You should question the value of a certificate course from a university. A short certificate course may not be comparable to a degree-status course. Studies show that clients are less impressed with the certificate than the repertoire of proven change tools and resources in the bag of tricks of the coach, his relevant business experience and track record or the value addition achieved by the coaching initiative.

Industry based specialist courses may be better able to provide timely training and enable the direct application of knowledge to address the most important issues.

The procedure applied to developing a curriculum by a university can be extremely slow and the available teachers and academic patterns may not be able to keep up in this fast changing field. Most companies prefer industry specialists for their coaching initiatives.
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