Coaching seems to be a trend that is catching on among working professionals these days and it is getting fairly common to hear these professionals referring to themselves as Coaches. One thing that usually sets professional coaches apart from the rest is the coaching certification that they have acquired. It is important to pursue a coaching certification in order to sharpen our skills and make us more effective coaches. Below are some of my personal tips on what are the important point of considerations when come to pursuing a coaching certification.


  1. Pick a reputable coaching institutewhich has an established pool of experienced trainers and offers coaching programmes that are preferably recognized by International Coaching Federation (ICF). Sharpening of coaching skills requires a skilled trainer who themselves have been certified and has an in-depth coaching experience to offer. I was fortunate to have Mike Heah from Corporate Coaching Academy as my Coaching Guru during my certification process who consistently challenges me to stretch my coaching skills during the classes.


  1. Focus on the Journey, not the destination – During my certification process, I have witnessed classmates who were approaching the certification with a ‘Checklist Mindset’ whereby their goal was mainly to add the certification to their list of credentials or to fulfil their company’s requirement when comes to mandatory training. In order to maximize a coaching certification, it will make a difference if we challenge ourselves to step out of our comfort zones in order to transform ourselves to be more effective coaches. The journey of listening to (and accepting) feedback about our coaching, applying those feedback in a coaching conversation, mindfully changing our habits just to have a more impactful coaching conversation, failing a coaching conversation badly and trying again are all part of the necessary experiences that will enable us to be a more effective coach. Afterall, how are we as coaches to transform others if we were unable to transform ourselves? While having the certification certainly has its advantages, but it does not automatically mean that you are a great coach if you do not learn and relearn consistently.


  1. Let Go of One’s Ego– Mike Heah repeats this quote quite often in his classes and after my own journey, I understand what he was trying to tell us. In my opinion, Letting Go of One’s Ego here means several things:
  • You are not here to tellsomeone what to do – Having a mindset that you are a coach and hence you know best or know what your coachee should do can actually be driven by an inner ego. A good coach asks questions to help the coaches achieve realization on what they want to do. We are not here to dictate or influence what a coachee should do.


  • Listen, REALLY listen – There is a saying that “A lot of times we listen to respond, not listen to understand.”. Do we often find ourselves formulating the next question to ask or statements to make when a coachee is still talking? Do we find ourselves jumping to assumptions or perceptions about the coachee without seeking clarifications? This approach is called “Listening to Respond”and it is not REAL listening. Real Listening involves putting away our own biases or judgements and really try to understand what the coachee is trying to say. It is about being mindful and fully present to listen to our coachees’ intrinsic challenges and allow them enough time and comfort to tell us who they are and what they want to achieve. This is Listening to We need to give them our full attention when they speak even if we disagree with their views or opinions because a coaching conversation is about the coachee, it is not about us.


  1. Surround yourself with those who are passionate about learning and coaching– I have to admit that when I was pursuing the certification as a working mother, I would not have been able to cross the finish line without a consistent support from a group of peers in my class and mentors in the coaching circles. I had a steady group of classmates who were always meeting up for coaching assignments whether virtually or in person after working hours. We could be tired from a day’s work or a hectic weekend but we were always there to encourage each other on the journey and laugh together when we delivered a terrible coaching conversation.


Good luck to future coaches who would like to embark on a coaching certification and remember to Coach On!

Written by Tan Siak Teng, Danaher Human Resource Manager, Certified Associate Coach (ACC) (

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