I had been a self-employed Learning and Development Consultant for 20 years and had come to the end of a long-term contract with a major global organisation. This coincided with my son of 19 having to withdrawn from university due to severe anxiety issues.
These two events meant I had a period to reflect on my career and think about the next phase. I knew with my family commitments moving into a full-time job was not an option and having been in a long-term contract I was almost starting again getting work. I had always done some coaching and had recently been coaching managers leading virtual teams. I had successfully used tools such as MBTi and Belbin and coaching models including GROW, Gaps, Skill/Will. I had really enjoyed coaching both individuals and teams and decided this is what I would like to focus on, but I needed a recognised qualification and the skills.
A friend suggested TCA’s Free 2-Day Introductory Course, which I attended and this reinforced that Coaching was the way to go. Although my interest was in the Corporate and Executive Coaching I decided to do my PPD to get a real grounding in coaching skills and the GROW model. This was a wise decision. Having qualified with a merit in November 2017, I have now progressed onto my Corporate and Executive Diploma.
On every level, I have enjoyed and benefitted from my journey with The Coaching Academy. I found the modules comprehensive and well laid out, all of the Accelerator Days inspiring and energising, the range of webinars and teleclasses allow for different learning styles and can be revisited anytime to revise on different topics. Having support through the 1:1 and group mentoring has been reassuring along with the excellent and constructive feedback from the practical assessments.
I have also met some amazing people, some are now close friends. The opportunity to be coached has been insightful and empowering, particularly at a time when I was facing both personal and professional challenges. All the way I have felt supported and really developed new skills and built my confidence.
Coming from a background of consultancy and training, the biggest surprise for me in learning to be a coach was not giving advice. To let go the expectation of having to be an expert and trust my clients to find their way has been challenging, but ultimately enlightening.
My plan was always to go back into the corporate arena as a qualified coach, but the learning experience and coaching I received has enabled me to look at other options. I have seriously considered various niches including midlife, reinvention coaching and career transition. I may well develop some of these areas in the future, but my coaching journey actually took a different path.
In supporting my son who has Asperger’s Syndrome, I started going to workshops and support groups and learning more and more about Autism. Attending one workshop I become very aware of the challenges for people with autism in finding work and remaining in employment. I had found my vocation and coaching was the key!
I am now working with a small team of specialist coaches and trainers, called Side by Side Coaching. The focus of their work has been with parents and special needs teachers. I offer coaching to support adults with autism in finding and succeeding in employment.
Since qualifying I have delivered over 80 coaching sessions for clients. The need is great and for me this is why I wanted to become a coach - to empower people to set clear goals, look at their reality, identify what is important to them and what is holding them back, find out who and what can help them achieve their dream, and walk side by side with them as they work through what they can do and what actions they will take.
It is a privilege to be a coach for anyone but for my client group it is immense. Most people with Autism have every low self-esteem and high levels if anxiety, building rapport and trust is critical and can take time. To be truly listened to is affirming for all of us but for my clients this is really empowering.
But the autistic mind is different and some of the excellent coaching techniques I have learned are not always appropriate, such as the use of metaphors and hypothetical questions. I am continuing to learn from my clients as well as through The Coaching Academy and all the great coaches I meet through the communities.
My next step is to complete my Corporate and Executive Diploma and to continue to learn and develop as a coach, supporting my clients to reach their goals. I would like to extend my coaching to supporting people at points of transition in their career and I may just possibly return to the corporate arena.
My tips for anyone looking at coaching are to really find out what coaching is - it might not be what you assume.
For those currently in training - keep an open mind where this will take you, you are learning marketable skills, but ultimately this is a journey of self-development and self-discovery, be open and brave.
For those coaches about to qualify - relax when you are doing your practical assessments. To be authentic you have to be yourself, believe in you own style and continue work to be the best coach you can be, reflect, try new things and trust in the process.
If Ros’s words have inspired you and you feel that Coaching could be a potential full or part time opportunity for you, or if you would just like to know a little more about what Coaching is and how it can benefit you and the lives of others, please contact our Specialist Course Advisor, Jamil on 0208 996 4830 or email: Jamil@the-coaching-academy.com
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