Logo Bridge the Gap with Cécile Guinnebault

The Advanced Practitioner Diploma, my most impactful learning journey

Mis à jour le : 27 May 2020

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.

Meeting my purpose and motivations before I embark on my learning journey.

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 Advanced Practitioner Diploma  is accredited by the International Coach Federation (ACTP), which met my need for a diploma and accreditation,
  • The AoEC is a British academy, with an international presence: learning to do a job I had been doing for 15 years in English in an international environment made this investment more valuable for me, as I thought - wrongly - I had little to learn about coaching itself.
  • I was welcome to enter the APD without having passed the Practitioner Diploma, as long as I passed an admission test. In other coaching academies I had considered enrolling in, it was not an option. This admission process did justice to my experience and it did a lot to strengthen my motivation.

Creating a collaborative group dynamic to fuel the learning process. 

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.

Fostering  a consistent “we’re here to help you succeed” mindset.

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”. 

Stretching the learning journey over time, space, relationships, learning activities and tools.

My business takeaways

  • 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.

My learnings as an adult-learning professional

  • 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.

Special thanks to

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.

To read further

Accelerated Learning: a journey you won't regret

Development programmes: keeping the best from both worlds

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