I acknowledge this cartoon from the Net.

Thomas J Leonard’s twenty-fifth principle is: Master the craft.

I guess Thomas Leonard’s advice refers primarily to the profession of coaching that he helped promote.

International Coaching Federation, ICF, has honored this principle by creating a Master class among coaches. Despite rumors to the contrary, i understand that this élite credential will stay.

Every profession needs to recognize and reward excellence. Very few will disagree with this. In addition to name and fame, such excellence and mastery and in turn recognition, also favors the wallet and the bank balance.

In this context, mastery in material skills, including coaching, may differ from mastery in spiritual skills, such as zen. I am sure that a genuine zen master does not seek credentials or recognition, or name or fame, or a bank balance. Those who do, like some non-zen frauds i have encountered, do not deserve to be called or treated as masters.

Whether one seeks mastery as in the case of coach, or doesn’t as in the case of zen, who decides on mastery?

One can say, in the case of coaches, perhaps ICF.

This, as i have learnt recently, causes a lot of bitterness in those who do not seem to be recognized as masters of this coaching craft. Grapes do become sour when you can’t get at them.

In most coaching related sites on Linked In that i visit, once in 3 months some one would pose this question: are credentialed coaches better than those who are not?

Those who ask me such questions get my stock answer: it’s the consumer, in this case the client, who decides.

Anthony Robbins and Marshall Goldsmith have no credentials. They are celebrated coaches. The market recognizes them, even if credential agencies don’t.

Mastering the craft, the coaching craft, is indeed important. Every coach who has self-respect and self-confidence would aspire to such mastery. Whether he or she cares to be recognized is up to them.