December 19, 2023

Unlocking Your Potential with ICF Coach Training

by Marlin Blankenship, Ph.D., PCC

The Turning Point: “I’m Ready to Quit.”

I was recently asked why I completed an ICF coach training program.

It all started with four words: “I’m ready to quit.”

I had spent several years in a volunteer role and found myself burned out and feeling like I was alone on an island and very ineffective. The state director of this organization (who I also considered a mentor and friend) had just completed coach training and told me he’d let me quit, but I had to let him coach me first. He was a person that I had a lot of trust in, so I accepted the assignment. I didn’t know what to expect from coaching, other than I assumed he was going to tell me what to do to be more productive and less burned out. And I was totally wrong.

Unexpected Empowerment: A Coach Who Listened, Not Dictated

As we started coaching, I began to realize he wasn’t going to give me any answers or tell me what I should do. He gave me a far greater gift. He helped me gain perspective around my strengths, my blind spots, and what was keeping me from making a decisive decision on how to move forward. As I gained the new perspective, I found that I was able to make confident decisions about my next steps based on what I already knew but couldn’t get clarity on because I kept getting in my own way. I did go ahead and resign and for the first time in a long time, I felt excited about the next step of my life both professionally and personally. The coaching experience with him was so uniquely empowering that it pushed me to want to learn coaching skills so I could more effectively help the people I was working with in the same way he had helped me.

From Passion to Profession: The Decision to Pursue Coach Training

My first coach training was in a stand-alone class called “Coaching Change, Transition, and Transformation.” When that class was over, I was beyond excited with the process of helping people change through coaching and made an in-the-moment decision that coaching was going to be the next step in my career.

Choosing the Right Path: Navigating Coach Training Options

After the class was over I went up to the instructor (his name was not Joe) and told him “I want to do this, what is your suggestion on becoming the best possible coach!?” He pointed me to a particular university, and the ICF program that existed there. Joe’s comment was “you could piecemeal it together like we’re doing here, but if I had it to do over again, I would go to this particular program.”

So, I dug into the program and got excited about how they talked about working both with people and organizations. As I went through the program, my interest and excitement about coaching continued to grow to the point that I went back to school again to get a PhD focused on how coaching helps people apply learning and how to build an internal people development program that is based on executive and professional coaching.

ICF Credentialing: A Commitment to Lifelong Learning

My choice to attend an ICF certified coach training program was a choice to change my life. I have spent years on the academic side of coaching and have dug deep to understand how coaching helps people. I’ve been a practitioner and have coached people for over a decade. The people I have coached have been from all over the world, from numerous industries, and at career levels ranging from individual contributors to executives in the c-suite. As I have grown as a coach, I have done additional training beyond my initial coach training including health and wellness coaching, positive psychology, disruptive innovation, just to name a few. I say all of that to say this- when you choose to be an ICF coach, you are choosing the path to be a learner. Every person you work with is different. Every situation they face is different. Even if you have been “in their shoes,” it’s different because they are not you. ICF coach training will give you the tools to get out of your own way and put the other person first. That’s the position where you can truly help them.

Gold Standard in Coaching: Why ICF?

Why did I choose ICF? The simple answer is because I really care about the clients that I work with and want to see them succeed. ICF is the gold standard in coaching across the world and provides a framework to help others “maximize their personal and professional potential.”

There are a lot of coaches, some who are good coaches, and some who are great coaches. If you want to just be a coach, there’s no barrier to entry and you can start today. If you want to be a good coach, go take some training. Go learn some coaching skills and some conversational models. But, if you want to be a great coach, find an ICF certified coach training program that is built on the foundation of decades of experience from master coaches identifying the skills and behaviors and the necessary levels of competency in these skills and behaviors that you need to really support and promote change in other people.

The Journey to Greatness: Strata Leadership’s Commitment to Your Coaching Success

Why Strata Leadership’s ICF-certified coach training program? Because we’re committed to helping train you to be a great coach. We take all the background and knowledge we have in coaching, leadership, and working with organizations, we take the ICF, and we put it all together to give you a dynamic learning experience that will start you on the journey of becoming a great coach.

Learn more about the Strata Leadership Coach Training Program at