My most transformative learning journey was the Advanced Practitioner Diploma at the Academy of Executive Coaching. Understanding why and how this experience impacted me so much more than all the others felt like a sensible step to take to create effective learning journeys for my clients.
When I applied for the Advanced Practitioner Diploma, I was an experienced coach, with over 600 hours training in various leadership, coaching and therapeutic approaches and 15 years of individual and team coaching experience. The only thing I missed was a proper coaching diploma and accreditation, which was becoming critical on an increasingly saturated coaching market. I was advised to “buy a coaching diploma”, which would have been easy on an equally competitive coach training market.
Instead, I chose the AoEC, and I did it for 3 reasons:
The first thing I noticed from the start, and that made a significant difference with my learning experiences in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy, was the time and energy invested in creating a group dynamic. On approximately 400 hours work I invested in my learning journey over 13 months, approximately 45% were spent in collaborative group or subgroup activities, half of which at our initiative, without any intervention from the faculty.
Assessing a significant part of our own learning needs, identifying resources within the group and managing our own learning agenda bonded our cohort as I had never experienced before.
This program was nothing like “pay your fees and you will get a certificate” as I have experienced in most training environments. The admission process to the APD was long and challenging. At the end of the program, a “Pass” was required on each of the 4 final exams we had to take (a theoretical essay, a presentation of our coaching model, a coaching demonstration and a learning essay) to graduate. It was definitely hard work and I admire the full-time workers, especially the working mothers, who were brave enough to make 400 hours in a year’s calendar to do it.
What made it manageable was the way the AoEC faculty designed, organised and followed up our learning process with a list of course requirements, assessment-oriented training, individual tutorials and thoughtful reminders. The path to success was well paved, but it was down to each learner to cross the finish line.
I don’t only feel a sense of personal achievement and pride. I also feel I was supported to make the right effort to get maximum results. “Winning with” feels much more rewarding than “winning against”.
- An international network of trusted professionals and friends,
- An integrated, academically approved coaching model,
- A strengthened code of ethics,
- 50% business growth v/s 2019 despite the Covid crisis.
- Engage with the learner before the journey starts, to assess and arouse their motivation,
- Create a learning process the learners will fill with their own content,
- Invest time and energy in creating a strong group dynamic,
- Make it clear what success looks like and structure the path forward,
- Don’t say or do anything the learners can say or do themselves,
- Always be there to help and encourage.
Sophie Hanrot and Pauline Kiejman for helping me find my motivation, Jan Liska and all my fellow learners from the APD 2020 cohort for great memories and pictures, Melanie Martinelli and Shilpa Subramaniam from The Learning Gym for introducing me to the "High Performance Learning Journey" model.
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