Exam-ining myself

After a gap of 25 years, I sat for an exam. An exam that I had been working towards, without consciously knowing it, for possibly my entire working life. The Coach Knowledge Assessment exam (CKA) is a 155-question, multiple-choice paper designed to test whether I am practicing what I had been taught. A test of my learning and my capacity to put it into practice. I feel as though I have been leading up to this moment for a long time.

Applied Knowledge. “What would you do if… “ and a host of other questions confronted me. My pre-exam jitters and worry soon evaporated and I got into the swing of things. Time raced by. Two hours and fifty minutes later I sat back in my chair and contemplated if I needed to review any answers. Not wanting to second guess myself, since I had trusted my instinct and gone with what sounded right to me, I pressed the ‘End Exam’ button. And voila, I had passed my ACC level, International Coaching Federation (ICF) exam, with a score of 86 percent.

Happy with my performance, I remind myself it’s not about the marks or the certificate. It’s about what I do with this gift. In the end any knowledge is only as useful as how I apply it. This is the true test.

The learning continues. Five different areas were evaluated 1. Setting the foundation 2. Co-creating the relationship 3. Communicating effectively 4. Facilitating learning and results and 5. Coaching foundations and knowledge base. What I learnt from this exam is that coaching is a lifelong journey. And that inspires and excites me. I can get better. Go deeper. Charter new territories and add to my repertoire of skills in this amazing tradecraft.

The people who contributed to my journey are many. Starting with my coaches who introduced me as a client to this discipline and then all those who supported, supervised, and mentored me along the way. My wife, who has given up so many of our weekend’s together to support my passion. My son, who encouraged me to fill this dream. There is a price to pay for learning and it’s not always about the money.

The journey of self-awareness and exam-inning myself is an everyday affair. A week has passed since I passed the Exam. The questions I ask myself is “What have you learnt new this week? How are you honing your skill? What is the next course that is calling your attention? Gestalt? NLP? So many new and exciting possibilities exist, to enhance my knowledge and make my repertoire of coaching skills richer and deeper. Learning is a life long journey. With the pace and scale of change that is confronting us, the need to keep learning is clear. The fact that I want to do it is what is most wonderful and fills me with hope and energy.

Finding my soul and keeping my footsteps aligned is where the magic lies. The journey inwards of truly examining who I am and what my unique gifts are is a fascinating and enriching One. It’s a journey every single person should have the privilege of embarking on. Finding this alignment and helping others to navigate change is what Coaching is all about. As Socrates reminds us “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Having found the answers from a deep examination of the soul, walking down the path that is calling is equally important.

“What is the purpose of knowledge?” I ask myself. To know myself… To know others… To know more… To know what I do not know… To have an edge that helps move forward. Know. Knowledge. Exam. Examine. Learn, share and grow…

Take that step. Examine what’s going on inside and the world around you will transform. I am a better communication professional and person courtesy my exploration in the world of coaching. I show up stronger in my community because of the work I have done to examine my core purpose. My values and my strengths. Finding the answer to these questions and staying on this path is the gift of coaching and being coached. The real test, with every client, is the moment when they examine their lives in the safe and sacred space, that a coach holds for them. Excelling in that examination and supporting my clients to excel in the pursuit of their dreams is what matters most. I look forward to my next exam.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Nikhil Dey
Nikhil Dey is Executive Director, Adfactors PR.

A trusted coaching and communications professional, Nikhil Dey is a certified life and leadership coach (International Coach Federation - ICF). Nurturing talent and helping clients achieve their goals is what makes him happy. He loves learning from students of communication, teaching courses and guest lecturing at various educational institutions. When he is not working you will find him on the tennis court or out for long walks with his family and four legged friends.

Previously he has held senior leadership positions at Weber Shandwick and Genesis BCW.

He can be reached on twitter @deydreaming

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