My path into a coach training program
Eight years ago I found myself entering a life transition. Up to this point I was making a living as a technical consultant, working just enough to stay financially stable, while I devoted the majority of my time to nonprofit work. Specifically, I was part of organizations that worked to create a more just and loving world. One of those organizations did (and still does) this through developing tools for individuals and businesses to understand their connection to labor slavery and the practical steps they could take to end this shadow economy. The other provided learning experiences to support people in integrating their spirituality and life with God in practical, sustainable, and transformational ways. It was wonderful, challenging work. I was once glad to be a part of it and felt an inner restless—calling, if you will—that had me question my participation.
Honoring my place (privilege) in the world
Before all this I had studied engineering to the point of earning a masters degree. After finishing graduate school I decided engineering was not for me. The world (people, environments, etc.) was suffering in many ways, and I wanted to be part of alleviating this suffering—being the change I wanted to see in the world. So, I eschewed my technical training and entered nonprofit work. In order for life to work I took on minimal technical consulting work. All was fine and good. I viewed my life as a whole and the consulting was a way for me attend to the majority of my financial needs and the other work was to help create a different a world. Fine, right? Well, yes, for a while ... and then no.
There came a point where I realized I wasn't completely "owning" my place in the world. I started to see that in my consulting work people interacted with me in a more open and curious way than with other colleagues and consultants. I was waking up to my influence and had a growing sense of my responsibility to step into and steward this influence.
Simultaneously, I began questioning how I relegated myself to a particular way of living (two means of work, each addressing a different concern) and how this also was a way in which I wasn't being responsible. In the current structure of the world, with my race, socioeconomic upbringing, talents, education, etc., I saw how I could be a funder of good work in the world rather than a requestor. With all of this swirling inside of me I knew a transition was in order.
I'm simplifying the story here, but what presented itself as a way of stepping into myself more was coaching. I was doing this in some capacity already, though I didn't call it coaching, and now felt life inviting me to do this more formally and with more rigor and intention.
The next step, then, was to find a coach training program. Little did I know this wouldn't be as easy as I thought. There are A LOT of options out there. If you've been looking for a program you've probably noticed. One of the most confusing aspects of my search was the disparity in how long the programs were, ranging from 24 hours to 1 year in length. Being a frugal person I first opted for a shorter program and in the first hour knew it wasn't what I was looking for. Having been working with people in nonprofits and leading learning labs on life integration I had firsthand experience with the complexity of supporting humans in their desire for change. In this first exposure to a coach training program I found the concepts too basic and not addressing the dynamism of being human.
Back to my search. After much googling, attending free intro calls, etc. I did a web search that ended my quest. I was a student of the Enneagram and thought, "if there is a school that uses the Enneagram, perhaps it will have enough depth in its approach to work more fully and effectively with people." So, I searched "enneagram and coaching" and found two schools. After a bit of investigation of each, you won't be surprised to read that New Ventures West stood out.
The main thing I'll say about why has to do with the way in which the method is infused with 1) a great appreciation and respect for the individual person, 2) a studied and refined way of understanding how people change and 3) a tried and true way of supporting people in their life. Coming from a background of working with people and change, what I found in the Integral methodology addressed the questions I had about how and why my previous work sometimes worked and sometimes didn't. I found it—and continue to find it—to be an effective way of supporting people.
My hope in sharing a bit of my story is help you as you search for your next step in (possibly) becoming a coach. You can join a Free Intro Call to get a better sense of whether New Ventures West is a fit. Whatever the next step is for you, please step into it with all of you.
Adam is a leader of the Professional Coaching Course and the Global Graduate Director for New Ventures West. He is dedicated to bringing more justice, love and creativity into the world.