Executive Coaching Qualifications

December 16, 2011  |   Executive Coaching Blog   |     |   0 Comment

In executive coaching there are all sorts of people out there who are Executive Coaches and as you would expect some are very good and others are not. When I decided to set up my own executive coaching company offering executive coaching and career coaching I knew very early on that it was important to have a good executive coaching qualification in order to help differentiate myself.


I had already had a three day basic coaching skills course as part of an initiative to introduce an internal coaching network to my company. This had been invaluable, as had been the hours of coaching practice I had been able to get under my belt. Initially I looked at 5 and 10 day executive coaching course designed to build my skills. These included courses on particular approaches to executive coaching such as Gestalt, Cognitive Behavioural and Person-Centred. However these types of courses had two disadvantages. They focused on only one type of coaching approach and I was looking to learn about a wide variety so I could decide what might best suit me. Secondly, they mainly offered their own in-house certificate or diploma. I wasn’t sure this is what prospective executive coaching clients would be looking for.


I took into consideration what the professional coaching associations were looking for in order to accredit executive coaches. It seemed that all the main associations were looking for courses that offered either a post graduate certificate, diploma or masters degree in coaching, along with an experience requirement. There were some excellent certificate programmes at places like Henley Management College and I had sent members of my own staff on these programmes previously. However the emphasis was primarily based on practical coaching skills and I wanted (and needed) more than this.


After some further reflection and investigation I eventually decided to do a Masters Degree in Coaching and Mentoring at Oxford Brookes University. The key reasons for this decision were:

  • It was the highest level of executive coaching qualification that I could do given my other time commitments and level of qualifications
  • The programme was widely recognised by the professional coaching associations
  • The course offered a good level of both theoretical and practical skills. It covered most of the main approaches used in executive coaching
  • There was the facility to leave the programme early with a certificate or diploma if I had made the wrong decision on getting a Masters Degree
  • Oxford Brookes seemed to be highly regarded as a centre of excellence for executive coaching qualifications by employers and other coaches

Looking back now, having obtained my Masters Degree, I know I made the right decision for my circumstances. Initially I found the written assignments that had to be produced really difficult after so long out of academia. However the content of all the modules was fascinating and highly relevant to my business.


In the first year we covered modules on adult learning and development, the therapeutic context for coaching, as well as a full year on practical coaching skills. For the practical skills module I coached 4 clients in roles with which I had no familiarity. One was a therapist looking to set up a private practice, another was from a University and both the other clients were from private sector organisations which I had no experience. This meant that all I could do was coach rather than offer sage advice and wisdom! During this period we were assigned a coaching supervisor and I learned the real developmental value of this role. The experience of our practice was turned into a coaching portfolio which was an important part of the Masters Degree.


In the second year the modules became more academic and there was an opportunity to take optional modules. Up to Xmas in the second year I completed modules on the psychology of the self, research methods and writing a literature review. After Xmas it was ‘all hands on the deck’ to complete a piece of research and write a 20,000 word dissertation. I have to be honest and admit I nearly decided not to complete the dissertation and leave with a diploma. At the time I couldn’t see how the dissertation would really add to my executive coaching education. I couldn’t have been more wrong. In many ways it provided the most interesting part of the whole learning and development experience.


I chose to look at The Clients’ Experience of the Executive Coaching Relationship. I interviewed a sample of senior executives who were using executive coaching. As a result of the findings I changed many of the ways I worked with my own executive coaching clients and I am sure this has been of significant benefit to my business.


Having made my decision to do the Masters Degree the most interesting thing that I have noticed is that potential clients do not ask me about my qualifications. They are much more interested in my experience as an executive coach. In some cases they ask about my professional membership and occasionally I’m asked if I have a coaching supervisor. However I do know that my degree has helped me get business in the University and Business School sector. Regardless of this I know I made the right decision when I did the Masters Degree. I know I am a much better educated and competent coach and I know that my executive coaching clients benefit from my education.



Tony Goddard




Key words; Executive Coaching, Executive Coaching Company, Executive Coach, Executive Coaching Provider, Executive Coaching Service, Coaching Qualifications, Executive Coaching Qualifications, Masters Degree in Coaching, Dissertation


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