Reflections on my maiden voyage as coaching teleclass trainer

As one of the learning opportunities in the ICA Train the Trainer class, I had the chance to lead a normal ICA teleclass.  I had the wonderful experience of working with Michael Monitz as my mentor coach/trainer.  He generously supported me leading one of his classes – Getting Started –  and gave me solid, supportive feedback and encouragement both before and after the class.  Thank you Michael!

While I’ve done training by conference call in the past, usually as a fallback when in-class training was not possible, it was always in the context of a consulting contract in which I already had a relationship with at least a few of the participants, and I already knew their challenges and corporate culture.  

In contrast, the ICA model is pre-designed to support adult learning in the teleclass medium.  It’s not a “second best” approach.  Participants can come from a variety of backgrounds, time zones, cultures, first languages, visions for coaching, styles and types of coaching, business backgrounds, and so on.  So there were a few new elements to the training that I knew were necessary to work on:

  • Because it was a Foundation Level class, some of the learners might be in their very first ICA class – I wanted to warmly welcome them into the community and support their courage in taking the first steps
  • I had never met the learners before, nor had they met each other: it was necessary to build a safe learning space, trust and rapport in minutes rather than the hours I might have as a consultant
  • The training I do with my consulting clients is very familiar to me – I’ve done it for years and have had enough feedback from clients to know they like my approach and it works; in contrast, leading the coaching class meant new material, new learner types, new lesson plans, competencies, assessment approach, etc. – there was really no common element except the human one

The class was a Saturday afternoon class, and very small.  There was, indeed, one person for whom this was the first class at ICA, and one person who had started months ago, took a break, and was back to start again.

The lesson plan is in another post, but in essence, it’s all about what it will take for you to start coaching, to begin to build your model and approach, and feel confident enough to make and keep supportable agreements with clients.

I was humbled by the power of silence and the “aha” moments for the learners.  My supportive  silence allowed them to think, think again, go deeper and share with each other.  The sense of trust was palpable by the end of the class.

All in all it was a fantastic learning experience!  Thank you ICA!


Train the Trainer Week 3 – Lesson Plan

Learning Objectives and Outcomes  
What is the lesson designed to accomplish? 
  • To help students frame the process of thinking about their practice
  • This thinking will lead to the achievement of ICF core competencies for establishing the coaching agreement
  • Outcomes of this class will also feed deeper discussion in AC100 and 200 classes on Creating Structure, Trail Session, etc.

What is the standard for successful learning? 
See the following competencies:

See ICF Professional Core Competencies:
A2 Setting the Foundation: Establishing the Coaching Agreement
Ability to understand what is required in the specific coaching interaction and to come to agreement with the prospective and new client about the coaching process and relationship

Target Audience     
Who is in the lesson? 
  • Adult learners who have recently joined ICA and:
  • have just started thinking about their coaching practice or
  • have been coaching for some time or
  • wish to complete the class to meet graduation requirements
What are the characteristics of the audience? 
  • Adult learners
  • Variety of backgrounds and experience
What will trainees need to be able to do before they 
can benefit from the course? 
  • No pre-requisites
Who is qualified to be in the program? 
  • Registered students of ICA
Who is qualified to be trainer? 
  • employees of ICA
  • supervised students of ICA Train the Trainer course

Lesson Outline      
What topics will be covered? In what sequence?
  • Describing the ideal coaching practice in general terms
  • Why do you want to coach?
  • Who will your clients be?
  • What are your business goals?
  • When will you coach?  7-7 Mon to Sat or 12-6 Tues, Wed, Thu?
  • How will you coach?  Telephone, chat, email, in person
  • What assets do you need to be able to coach?  e.g. computer, telephone line, email, website, chat, office, car, etc.
  • Recognizing the doubt loop and how it affects your ability to manage customer expectations come to a mutually beneficial agreement with a client
  • What is the doubt loop?
  • How does confidence affect you ability to make an effective agreement with a client?

How much time is devoted to each part of the lesson? 
For the first class:
  • 15 min check in and wins and shares
  • 15 min why coach and who are your clients
  • 15 min how and when
  • 10 min doubt loop
  • 5 min takeaways
What will trainees and trainer’s role be during each topic 
  • Trainer: Welcome, inspire, create safe space, ask questions, role play, suggest activity
  • Trainee: Participate, think, write

Support Materials     
What materials and/or equipment is needed for 
delivery of instruction or to facilitate instruction? 
  • Bridgeline
  • Headset
Is a certain size or arrangement of bridgeline necessary? 
  • Class may be up to 25 learners
Do the trainees have homework that needs to be completed 
before the lesson? 
  • Participants should read materials for module
What does the trainer need to do? 
  • Read materials for module
  • Prepare questions
Lesson Topic      
What topic is the lesson going to cover? 

  • Getting Started Week 1
  • Introduction to thinking about practice structure by focusing on unique gifts and interests of the coach, and the role confidence plays in reaching agreement with client
  • What are the gifts you bring to coaching?
  • What are 3 of your objectives as a coach?
  • Business structure – what kind of clients, what time of day will you coach, how many days per week, telephone/in person/chat/email, 
  • Doubt loop and confidence
How will learning be assessed (tests, role plays,etc)? 
  • During class, learners will write and if they want to share, can share their thoughts with the class
  • At the end of the class, ask every person for 3 words that summarize what they are taking away
Transfer and Retention     
What will be done to ensure that training content is 
used in their life, job, etc 
  • Reading and reflections in module
  • Also, ask friends for ideas and help
  • Ask peer coach for ideas and help
  • Design Your Life exercise
  • Will be followed with more detailed modules on structure, confidence, etc.

Reflections on Train the Trainer Week 2 – Competencies

Target class: Getting Started

Planned Delivery Date: Saturday, Nov 29 4 pm EST


See ICF Professional Core Competencies:
A2 Setting the Foundation: Establishing the Coaching Agreement
Ability to understand what is required in the specific coaching interaction and to come to agreement with the prospective and new client about the coaching process and relationship
a. Understands and effectively discusses with the client the guidelines and specific parameters of the coaching relationship (e.g. logistics, fees, scheduling, inclusion of others if appropriate)
  • Can articulate personal coaching goals and business objectives
  • Can describe ideal business structure, fees, coaching schedule, and outline desired coaching relationship
b. Reaches agreement about what is appropriate in the relationship and what is not, what is and is not being offered, and about the client’s and coach’s responsibilities
  • Can describe a typical fee negotiation and value to the client
  • Can describe inclusions and exclusions  of the coaching relationship (is spiritual coaching included or is it only business coaching?  Is chat included or only phone and email contact?)
  • Can articulate coach’s and client’s responsibilities (e.g. client will document session outcomes; coach will provide an online form in which that can be done)
  • Can recognize “doubt loop” and how doubt and confidence influence coming to an appropriate agreement with a client
c. Determines whether there is an effective match between his or her coaching method and the needs of the prospective client
  • Can articulate how to discern a good fit between coach and client and one that may not be a good fit

Reflections on Train the Trainer class Week 1

I am undertaking a Train the Trainer class from the good folks at International Coach Academy.  They are some of the most intentionally professional trainers I have ever met.

As part of the course, the Trainers in Training have been asked to reflect on the topics we cover in class, so I am going to share my reflections here.

Week 1



What outcome would I like from this Train the Trainer class?

I would like to become more adept as a trainer through learning from trainers I admire, and practicing new skills in a safe environment.  The ICA teleclass is a fantastic learning environment, and I feel very comfortable trying new skills there.

I also want to learn about the specific skills needed when training using a new medium – teleclass – in order to provide accessible training and coaching to more clients.  My corporate clients are increasingly limited in their travel options, both their own travel and expenses for coaches and consultants.  Teleclasses can provide an alternative to face-to-face meetings and classes.

I’m also excited to hear from and connect with other trainers about their experiences and ideas in order to expand my trainer’s toolbox.  There’s always something new to learn! Curiosity is one of my core strengths, and this class lets me build those muscles even more.


How do I create a safe space for students?

I do a welcome/check in to allow people to share what has happened to them since we last met, to connect, and to settle in to the training class and become present.

I model the behaviour I want the students to have through sharing where I’m at, and becoming present with them.

I also try to keep things positive through acknowledgement, appreciative inquiry and giving people space to share throughout the class.  I make sure every learning opportunity is acknowledged and people’s different styles of speaking and learning are welcomed.

In the case of telephone training, I keep the tone of my voice welcoming and easygoing.


What do I do to be present before I begin class?

I review the notes I’ve made about the upcoming class so I can stay “out of the page” and in the moment of learning.

I makes sure any technology I may be using is working correctly; the bridge line is working or if I’m training in-class the projector and computer are hooked up and functioning.  I even run through some slides or specific tasks to make sure they will work when the time comes.

Finally, before the class starts, I take 5 minutes to breathe and focus and think about the outcomes I want.  I also remind myself of my own capabilities as an instructor so I can be fully present and not self-focused.


How and what would I do in my first training session to insure that I provide the opportunity for learners to take that first step in participating?

There are always people who are very comfortable participating and speaking in class, others who are very uncomfortable with participating or speaking in public, and others whose participation is very situational.

Because different people feel more or less comfortable speaking, I would provide opportunities to write responses, and share them later if the student wishes to, and even to create visuals like mindmaps or diagrams.

Several times I have had trainers who ask students to write a response and then read it out later, which lets them share in a prepared way; another great opportunity is to ask people to say in one word how they feel after the class or what they are taking away.  Any activity like this can give people the chance to become more comfortable participating.

As an in-class trainer I frequently use modified games like Jeopardy or Mad Dash to get people’s blood pumping, lighten things up and increase attention on the concepts we’re discussing.

Additionally, some people might not learn from thinking about/theorizing but may learn from an activity in which they can practice a new skill.  So  I might give the students a chance to practice the skill we are talking about by asking for volunteers to work in class, either role-playing with roles of their choice or pretending to be players in a pre-defined scenario.

Similarly, some students may wish to connect outside of class time on something they are passionate about, so they could work on a project separately and post to the discussion board or present a report to the class the next time we meet.

I always make sure that people know they can pass on any activity, to reinforce the safety and freedom of the learning environment.