I am still not sure if I chose coaching or if coaching chose me. It may sound strange coming from someone who now has two diplomas and is actively coaching but I was one of those people who thought coaching was either a flaky fad or bordering on mind control. I hadn't realised that I'd been coaching people already but had not put a label on it. My novice coaching was simply basic good intent to help others find what they wanted to do or work through issues they had at that time.
I am still not sure if I chose coaching or if coaching chose me. It may sound strange coming from someone who now has two diplomas and is actively coaching but I was one of those people who thought coaching was either a flaky fad or bordering on mind control. I hadn’t realised that I’d been coaching people already but had not put a label on it. My novice coaching was simply basic good intent to help others find what they wanted to do or work through issues they had at that time.
It is only after I had been introduced to coaching that I started to understand the basic mechanics or as I came to understand it “learning through enquiry”. When you discover more about coaching, you find you are in great company because this technique has been used throughout history.
My first step towards coaching came in one of those loose-end moments where I had a space in my life but did not know which route to take. I was actively looking to develop my skills in my day job but also wanted to find something that I may be able to transition into part-time or late career. It was at this point I found The Coaching Academy free two-day introduction to coaching.
I believe in due diligence so this was not the first option I considered. I looked at other training providers but the turning point for me was when I started to consider life or even live experience. My aha moment came when I asked myself the question – who do I want to learn from? The answer came back immediately, someone who practices this, someone who knows how to do this and I can learn from. That was when I followed up on the advert for the coaching academy and decided to go along and experience the two-day introduction.
I nearly didn’t go back to day two – I am a healthy cynic and when the life-wheel came out I started wondering when the hugging would start. There wasn’t any hugging and when I changed the way I looked at the ‘wheel’ it became clear that it was an effective tool for self-investigation.
Two days down and what next? Corporate coaching, it was a clear choice for me as someone already in corporate life and wanting to coach. I was already goal-focused and I wanted to get to the end objective, which for me was the diploma and the real practice of coaching. This thinking was one of my many learning opportunities (what I call mistakes) while working toward becoming a coach. What I learned at this point was to skip the personal develop diploma (PDP) would be to miss out on something fundamental to my success. The mistake I had made was that I believed I knew how to coach and therefore I did not need the basics of GROW or values and beliefs. I cannot speak for others but the PDP was key to my success in becoming a coach, I now consider it the foundation before going on to select a niche or a specialism.
OK so there was hugging on the PDP, I can’t deny it, I had some changes of my own to go through during the 18 months it took me to qualify as a coach and getting used to a non-corporate approach to coaching was one of them.
Once I embarked on the path to becoming qualified, it raised a whole host of learning opportunities; who could I coach, how would I advertise, there were a lot more questions but this is when I really started to learn. This, as I came to discover, is action learning – learning while taking action and reflecting on the results. If that doesn’t sound like an element of coaching, then I don’t know what does.
For me, the most useful part of learning to be a coach were my first coaching sessions with new clients. The application of coaching and the advice that came from the practical sessions were where the real learning came from.
I am now treating every new approach to coaching as my own learning opportunities. I have initiated, reviewed and refined my method every time. The trick for me is that there is never going to be a single method that works every time – there will be some basics, some fundamentals that I carry through but I need to approach each client and engagement as a new opportunity to learn.
18 months on, I have seven corporate and two personal clients. I work two days a month as a corporate coach and my employer refers executives to me based on their 360 evaluation results. For anyone new to this, my advice would be to get out there, unfurl your map and think about how you can go beyond where you have already been.
When we're going through a turbulent time, our goals and dreams haven't progressed in the way that we'd hoped or we're simply feeling lost or off balance, it can be easy to get sucked into a vortex of negativity which can make us feel even worse.
I was first introduced to coaching when I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue back in 2003. I managed to conquer my illness and in the process qualified as a Master Practitioner in NLP. I came across The Coaching Academy in Feb 2015, at the time I was an Expat Wife (following my husband to where he was placed with his work), which at that time was Milan, Italy and I wanted a recognised qualification in Coaching that I could do whilst living abroad.