ILM Level 7 coaching qualification – is this the right one for me?
If you are reading this blog, you are likely to have some experience in coaching. You’ll have a good understanding of how the whole coaching qualification minefield works. (if not, see my blogs on coaching qualifications and on the ILM level 5 qualification). You may be considering different ways of investing in yourself and furthering your coaching career. So, the question to be answered is – should I sign up for an ILM level 7 course? Read on and decide for yourself.
Advanced qualifications for experienced coaches
There are plenty of early access points to coaching for people who are getting started. Taster courses, in-company training, free programmes, online study and entry level qualifications. These, of course, vary greatly in quality. Most should give you the rudiments of coaching skills.
Advanced qualifications look different from entry level ones. For a start, they are offered by fewer providers. Only a handful of training organisations, and fewer than 10 universities offer courses that can be described as advanced. Next, they require a greater time and financial commitment than an entry level course. Typically, they cost between £2,000 – and £4,000 for a course (ignoring the overpriced ones!). And finally, the accreditation for advanced courses always comes from a reputed qualification body. If it doesn’t, then it is not worth considering!
Why become and advanced coach?
Many coaches learn their skills and start using them in coaching sessions, for work or for their business. And for many, the level they have reached with their initial training is fine. They can continue to develop their coaching with self-study, reading, attending co-coaching groups. Or they can be happy that their initial coach training was enough to get them to the level they need for their job.
And for some, the initial learning and qualification has given them thirst for more. The enthusiasm to grow and develop as a coach has taken hold, and they explore all avenues for advancement. And the typical benefits from having an advanced qualification include:
- Skills – at an advanced level, the quality of the coaching improves significantly. Coaches learn to put together long-term coaching packages. They can support coachees on more complex and challenging issues. And they provide more depth in the coaching experience.
- Outcomes – advanced coaches are more able to coach the person more than the topic. This leads to sustainable change for our coachee, and for the opportunity for significant growth. Very rewarding for both coachee and coach.
- Use in the workplace – advanced coaches can offer coaching more freely in the workplace. Often it doesn’t matter whether they have a leadership role or not. They are more likely to become the go to person for coaching.
- Credibility and opportunity for the freelance coach – as a self-employed coach, we want as many routes to market as possible. Having an advanced qualification allows coaches access:
- to approved coach registers (such as the NHS one)
- to coach directories that are more credible (such as the Trusted Coach Directory)
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.
What will I learn, and how good do I get to be?
The great thing about an advanced qualification is that we can push on! No need to start at the basic “what is coaching?” but can explore deeper issues and skills. In basic coach training we will cover techniques relating to questioning, listening, pausing and structure. On a level 7 programme, we’ll look at all of these areas in depth. And we can look and more depth in other areas. Typical advanced topics include:
- Helping a coachee who is stuck or resistant
- Coaching on values and ethics
- Depth in the coaching relationship in relation to power
- Adding value and finding return on investment
- Coaching for the long term and sustainable change
- Developing a coaching identity that is authentic, and serves our client well
- How to bring coaching skills to the mentoring relationship
These topics, and more, allow coaches to advance to a level significantly beyond their starting point. It gives them the confidence to say that they are advanced, experienced coaches.
Don’t just take my word for it that the ILM level 7 qualification is a worthwhile one. Speak to people who have taken it and see what they say. Whenever you see on LinkedIn or on a CV that someone has this qualification, ask them what benefits they have received. Ask us to put you in touch with someone who has taken the course and see what they say. Stay tuned for the case studies that we’ll publish on our blogs and Youtube channel soon!. And then decide if it is the right thing for you.