Coaching Talent & HR

Taking executive coaching to the next level

Catharine Larkin

Catharine Larkin shares how The Ivey Academy's LIFT Advanced Coaching Certification Program helped her stay relevant in a rapidly changing business environment while taking her leadership coaching practice to the next level.

Why did you choose to attend the Ivey LIFT Advanced Coaching Certification Program?
I am intrinsically motivated to stay relevant in every aspect of my life. As a professional, I believe that being relevant is a critical differentiator and essential if you want to be an effective leadership coach. You need to be in sync with what leaders are facing personally and professionally and what they are learning. The trigger that led me to the Ivey LIFT program was learning that one of my clients had engaged the Ivey Academy to develop all of their senior leaders. The client’s goal was to ensure an integrated approach to leadership development and coaching.

I contacted The Ivey Academy and was so impressed with the Ivey LIFT Advanced Coaching Certification Program. The program is designed to respect the ICF competencies and takes the learning and insights into leadership development to the next level. The design intrigued me – exposure to the latest research on human development, the case study method of learning, advanced tools, and a deep focus on self-awareness: motivation, character, and thinking/problem solving.

I have been coaching for years and have been certified through different companies and associations and was looking for coaching 2.0 – a more profound and high-impact approach. My clients are at the most senior levels in organizations and I need to be relevant for them and have access to leading thinkers and tools. 

What were the most valuable insights that you gained from the program?
If you want to be a true transformational leader, you need a community. It is very easy to believe your own rhetoric and you can fall into patterns that are counter-productive to coaching (e.g. defaulting to consulting or advice giving), or being too rigid when the situation may require a judgement call. I was reminded about the power of coaching – the value of aligning around a common competency skillset and respecting the uniqueness that every coach brings.

What was the most challenging aspect of the program?
Being humble and courageous about letting go of some of the ways I have traditionally approached the coaching experience. There was so much learning and I felt challenged as to how to bring it all to life in my coaching so that clients could reap the full benefit. I am still working on this! 

How did the diversity of the participants in the program aid your learning?
The selection process for accepting coaches was a 10/10… and not just because they selected me.  Every person had deep business experience (corporate, consulting, entrepreneurs) and were skilled in the art of feedback and asking provocative questions. I gained new perspectives because of the unique lens they brought. We had an amazing cross-section of disciplines, functions, ages, and life experience. Every single person in the program demonstrated vulnerability and generosity of spirit. 

How did the faculty team shape your learning experience?
Their passion for leadership development and commitment to raising the bar of Canadian leadership and competitiveness was palpable. They broadened our thinking regarding the role of coaching in the wider human and business context. They challenged our thinking, asked us to reflect on our character, engaged us in dialogue, and pushed us to be more innovative in our thinking to take our coaching to the next level. They were inspiring, curious, and open to sharing their learning with the coaches as well as learning from them. 

Did the program contribute to your personal growth?
It helped me push the “re-set” button in my personal and professional lives. I realized that my views had become too insular on a number of levels. The whole experience has made me stay on my own path of continuous development and staying relevant. 

Have you found peers that you can continue to use as sounding boards, referrals and lifelong friends?
Absolutely. As a matter of fact, I am in regular contact with classmates to get advice on a number of issues. I think that because we all met through an academic and a learning setting, I see this group (and the next classes as well) as lifelong resources, colleagues, and friends. This includes the faculty. They are my friends and it's a privilege to be part of their lifelong journey as well.

How has the peer network you’ve built from the program helped you as a coach?
They are sources of insight on my clients; they provide support and encouragement; they offer direction when I need resources/articles etc.; I would send work to them that was better suited to their expertise.

What advice would you have for someone considering taking LIFT?
This program lives up to its adjective – Advanced. If you are looking to think differently and move beyond traditional coaching, this program is for you. To fully benefit from this experience, first and foremost it needs to fit with you, your values, and style. The approach is fluid, thought provoking, engaging and at times uncomfortable. The Ivey Academy was unique in that they looked beyond ICF credentials for values, experience, and style fit.


For more information on the Ivey LIFT Advanced Coaching Certification Program, please download a program brochure.


About The Ivey Academy at Ivey Business School
The Ivey Academy at Ivey Business School is the home for executive Learning and Development (L&D) in Canada. It is Canada’s only full-service L&D house, blending Financial Times top-ranked university-based executive education with talent assessment, instructional design and strategy, and behaviour change sustainment. 

Rooted in Ivey Business School’s real-world leadership approach, The Ivey Academy is a place where professionals come to get better, to break old habits and establish new ones, to practice, to change, to obtain coaching and support, and to join a powerful peer network. Follow The Ivey Academy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.