Practice DOESN’T Make Perfect – The Journey to Becoming a Professional Coach

Nov, 20, 2019

You decided to develop yourself or people in your organization to become a professional internal or external coach. Now the challenge is to select the ‘right’ coach training institute that helps you achieve that in the best possible way.

What ‘best possible way’ means for you could be different than what it means for others.

Here are 10 questions you might want to ask yourself that might guide you in this journey to select the ‘right’ program for you:

  1. What focus are you going to have? Focus on personal/life coaching or on business/executive coaching or a combination of both?
  2. How important is the level of proficiency you expect to reach in comparison with your willingness to invest in time and $$?
  3. How comfortable are you to get parts or all of your coach training delivered in a virtual/digital setting vs. classroom setting?
  4. How important is it for you to attain internationally recognized coaching credentials?
  5. How can you assess the quality of any program out there that you might consider?
  6. What is your willingness to invest time and $$ to travel to different locations to attend classroom sessions?
  7. How important is the background of peers that you study coaching with? 
  8. What other added value do you expect from any such program (e.g. usefulness beyond practicing coaching, support beyond the program scope, etc.)?
  9. Which of the above factors matter most to you?
  10. And ultimately, how would you choose one program over another? (hopefully this question answers itself after answering the first 9 questions)

Getting Internationally Certified?

Progress-U was founded in 2002 and has started developing coaching skills since 2004. Progress-U’s Coach Certification Programs got Level 2 accredited by the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches (WABC) in 2011 and got approved by the International Coach Federation in 2014. Currently, to our knowledge, Progress-U’s coach certification program is the only professional coach training program worldwide holding both accreditations at the same time. This benefits participants in two ways: 

  1. Guaranteed quality as the program was assessed and shaped by two international independent accreditation bodies
  2. Ability to achieve 2 internationally recognized credentials with WABC and ICF.

What Works?

Based on my very own initial coach training back in early 2002 and the observation of close to 1,000 people attempting to learn coaching, I found that the fastest and most profound learning progress happens if a blend of learning activities are integrated into a meaningful learning journey. For Progress-U’s coach training programs, that includes:

  • Harrison Assessments (measuring paradoxical behavioural tendencies)
  • Virtual Workshops
  • Coaching Practice with Peers
  • Coaching Practice with Non-Peers
  • Teleclasses (virtual sessions to address successes and challenges when practicing coaching)
  • Supervised Practice Sessions (practicing under the supervision of an experienced coach)
  • 1:1 & Group Mentoring (deeper dive into coaching principles and competencies
  • Book Assignments (deepen and broaden knowledge foundation)
  • Final Essay (reflect on coaching journey and anticipate the way forward)
  • Digital Micro-Learning App (self-study of coaching models, theories and initial understanding of competencies)
  • Research on Coaching Related Topic including writing a research paper (only in our advanced program)

Practice Makes Perfect – Really?

We found that one of the weaknesses of most coach training programs is that either they don’t include sufficient coaching practice, and/or worse, there is hardly any supervison of practice. The proverb “Practice makes Perfect” is potentially wrong, because if you keep practicing in the wrong way, you actually become perfectly wrong. Supervision of practice, especially in the early stages of becoming a coach, has proven to be absolutely crucial for aspiring coaches.

Digital Micro-Learning

We found that the integration of Digital Micro-Learning (DML) achieves a significant leap in learning effectiveness and efficiency. Through DML, participants don’t need to spend much time in workshops (classroom or virtual) understanding and discussing concepts, models and theories, but can spend significantly more time with supervised practice.

Going Forward

Combining multiple learning approaches from classroom to digital micro-learning has proven to accelerate the learning curve in becoming a proficient professional coach. If you want to learn more about Progress-U’s innovative ways of developing coaching excellence, please do join our complimentary previews.


Charlie Lang
Charlie Lang
Founder and Chief Content Architect
Founder and Chief Content Architect – Charlie Lang is a C-Suite coach and a pioneer in the coaching industry in Asia Pacific.


Dec, 9, 2022

How to Sustain Performance Under Pressure

More than two decades of research, and our own experience of coaching leaders and executive teams, shows that it’s easy to lead when conditions are positive. However, strong leaders differentiate themselves when the organisation or…

Jul, 28, 2022

3 Ways to Boost Talent Retention Through Coaching

3 Ways to Boost Talent Retention Through Coaching There are two major concerns that seem to be keeping leaders up at night right now. The first is the spectre of an economic downturn. The other…

May, 12, 2022

Being Non-Judgmental & Why Judgment is the Coach’s Best Friend

One of the first things any professional coach in training learns is that it’s important for a coach to be non-judgmental. It’s a mindset adopted from therapy and is aimed at ensuring that the patient (coachee) feels 100% safe to open up and be vulnerable.