I was present for a truly delicious conversation a few days ago on the Coach Credentialing SIG teleconference. Hosted by Suzee Ebeling, PCC, and facilitated by Jan Austin, MCC, the discussion explored elements of masterful coaching.

This topic has been hotly discussed for several years, in no small part due to the difficulty candidates experience in passing the master level credentialing exam for the International Coach Federation (ICF). It is no secret that only a small percentage of applicants have received the somewhat exclusive – if only by the small representation in the global market – Master Certified Coach credential.

However – it’s also no surprise to me this is so because –

 Masterful coaching IS, to some degree, a moving target and – 

this is entirely appropriate.

 Here’s what I mean: In 1993, when I completed my initial coach training, there were no competencies, no credentialing and no ICF. In those days, “good” coaching meant your clients achieved bigger goals more quickly. End of story.

 Our perspective on what constitutes coaching mastery has evolved along with the profession. And continues to do so: Coaching is still a very young profession – possibly entering adolescence, which as we all know, is a time of seeking identity and redefining limits.

Now add this to the mix: If you embrace the notion we are expanding souls in an expanding Universe, then it seems entirely appropriate the coaching profession should reflect this.

We now have some very clear guidelines on what is “effective coaching” and what it means to “improve your coaching skills.” Our profession has evolved to include mentor coaching as an integral part of any committed coach’s development.

If you look at the timeline of our profession and the related shifting perspectives on coaching mastery, then, yes:

Masterful coaching IS a moving target simply because of the process of evolution and maturation.

 Perhaps the question needs to change from

What IS mastery?


Where is mastery telling us it wants to grow?

And how are we, as coaches, called to grow into that?

Watch this space for a continuing thread on mastery in coaching. And please share your thoughts on where you see this evolution is leading us as a profession, and you as a coach.