When thinking about an advanced coaching qualification, we have to take into consideration that there are assignments to be done. The ILM makes efforts to clarify what these assignments are. Sometimes the level of detail they put in means that it’s not easy to understand exactly what is required in the assignments. What is needed is a brief summary.
This blog is that brief summary about the ILM level 7 certificate in coaching for executives. This gives an overview of the assignments, and to explain a little about the purpose of them. It is a sister blog to one written about the ILM level 5 coaching qualification.
Level 7 certificate in coaching: what is being tested with the assignments?
For advanced qualifications that are at level 7, the ILM is rigorous in its process. These are flagship programmes, equivalent to a masters (in level, if not in the amount of work required!). So the expectation for the level 7 coaching qualification is that you:
- Can understand and explain various aspects of coaching, within an organisational context.
- Have done some reading and research and can draw on this in your writing.
- Have carried out the required number of coaching hours.
- Have reflected, in writing, on your coaching competence.
They are not testing the quality of written English or grammar. Although level 7 programmes are equivalent to a postgraduate qualification, allowances are made for writing styles that isn’t at postgraduate level. They, and we, don’t want to exclude good coaches simply because their academic experience isn’t that strong.
Level 7 certificate in coaching: what are in the three assignments?
All ILM coaching qualifications have three assignments, that have the appropriate level of difficulty. For the level 7 certificate, the assignments are:
- 1. An essay. “Understanding the context of coaching in a strategic environment”. The essay is broken down into 11 sections, each with their own title. Effectively, it is a series of shorter texts (3-400 words each). It is an opportunity for you to show your knowledge of these areas. A level of referencing is needed, to show that you have done some research and can use it.
- 2. Undertaking 20 hours of coaching at a senior level. To complete your coaching practice, and to produce a log and other supporting paperwork. Some of your coachees need to have levels of seniority in their organisation. It will give you insight into coaching people with these pressures and challenges. (If you don’t have access to senior people, we can help you with that!)
- 3. Reflecting on your coaching: After completing the coaching, to analyse various aspects of how you coach. Also, to develop an action plan for continuous improvement
All quite logical and sensible. When the assignments are completed, you will have:
- carried out some coaching
- been able to analyse your coaching and have a plan for improvement
- and will have been able to write about coaching as a skill
Who is the level 7 qualification for – typical candidates
Since 2014 we have been running ILM level 7 qualifications as open courses and in-organisation courses. Looking at participant profiles we see some interesting figures:
- 30% self-employed, 70% employed
- Sectors: education; transport; retail; NHS; local authorities; regulatory bodies
- Role titles: lots of head teachers; HR senior staff; department leaders; heads of…
- Self employed roles: trainers; coaches; writers; marketeers
What unites them all, of course, is a passion for coaching. And what separates them is how they plan on deploying coaching. Some will use it as part of their daily job – head teachers and HR managers certainly do that. Some make it an “add on” that they can offer out to colleagues. And some use it to develop their freelance businesses. In all cases, being advanced in both skills and qualifications makes a huge difference.
Is our coaching assessed by the ILM?
As with the level 5 qualification, the ILM doesn’t set up specific evaluations of the coaching skills that learners have developed. They leave this evaluation to individual ILM centres to do. At Love Your Coaching we think this is a fundamental aspect of the learning process. As coaching is such an observable skill, we take great care to analyse each coach, to get them to this level.
We use the International Coach Federation’s core competencies matrix as our assessment tool. It is highly practical and allows us to analyse a coaching session to ensure that it hits all the competencies. Since 2014, we have seen all of our coach’s progress to an advanced level of coaching competency. This is a very important principle – people who want to become coaches want to be good or very good!
Support offered by ILM centres
Each ILM centre offers different levels of support for the assignment part of the qualification. Some devote much of the training room time to assignment writing. Others provide tutorial support after the training days have finished. Others outsource all of the support back to the ILM. At Love Your Coaching we ensure that the needs of all learners are met, with a combination of 1:1 and group tutorials, feedback on assignment drafts, all the resources needed, and extra support for those who haven’t studied for a while, or at all since school! And we have a very high success rate – no fails so far and less than 1% of candidates not completing.
For advanced coaching qualifications, the assignment element needs to be considered in advance. Part of the reason that we offer ILM level 7 qualifications is that the assignments are quite rigorous, but not overly. They allow for testing of the quality of the coaching. They ensure that a reasonable number of hours are fulfilled in coaching practice. And the qualification is well respected, which is why it is worth undertaking. It is a good, advanced coaching qualification that gets coaches to the next stage of their coaching career. Now that you understand the assignments, you’ll be able to decide if this is the right path for you!
Happy qualifying and happy coaching!