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Personal Growth Through Coaching - Three Levels of Self-discovery by Ro Gorell

Posted 932 Days Ago in: Coaching Articles

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The topic of personal growth really resonates with me because as a coach I want to be congruent when coaching others, either individually or in groups. If I am asking my client to step outside their comfort zone, I too want to experience what that is like. The coaching relationship is co-created: your coaching identity grows as your client learns and grows.

Helping our clients make transformational change necessitates them making a shift in how they see themselves.  All personal growth is of value so no matter what I want for my client they determine how much change, or growth, they will make.  It is our job as coaches to work with them where they’re at. 

One question I learnt early in my coaching career whilst training with The Coaching Academy was “What do you want to do, be, or have?”  I share my take on how this question can be re-purposed into a continuum of personal growth and help you and your clients explore some of the deeper aspects of personal growth.

Often the simplest tools elicit the greatest conversations – it’s not what the tool is per se, but how you use and leverage the thinking behind it.  Hopefully this will inspire you to look at some of the tools you are using on a regular basis and explore “What if I were to look at this tool from a different perspective?” 

Self-discovery through coaching others

Personal growth starts from the moment we’re born.  We have an insatiable desire to learn more and answer the pervasive question: Why?  And yet, that thirst for learning and self-knowledge slowly dissipates as we develop and grow, usually because of self-limiting beliefs.

One of the discussions I have with clients early in the contracting phase is how we work together. This is our coaching manifesto.  The manifesto came to life after a conversation with one client who was asking questions about the coaching process.  It seemed natural to answer these with a visual representation of our discussion.  In this way not only did we both draw learning from the conversation, it was a tangible representation of exploration leading to solutions.  Having a sense of fun in the unknown and allowing wisdom to emerge helped create something that they and the group I was coaching could use as a starter for discussion. 

Acknowledging the space of ‘not knowing’

Enabling your client to be ok with not knowing frees them to explore.  As coaches, we’re often working in this space at different levels.  Our role is to enable clients to uncover facets of themselves and their situation so they develop self-awareness and realise they have choice.  That process of discovering their hidden self is personal growth.

Transformational growth

Transactional Transitional Transformational
Having Doing Being
Tools based Behaviour based Perception based
How can I have? How do I (do)...? Who am I? Who do I want to become?

Personal growth in our clients mirrors our growth as coaches.  Having tools and models in your toolkit is the first step in personal growth.  Initially we want to learn tools and models so that we can apply them to the coaching process.  If you’re a newly qualified coach it is likely that you’re taking comfort in the models and tools that you’ve learnt and are applying them consistently with each client.

Our clients also want to have a framework or reference they can use to help them make the first changes.  At this level in personal growth our clients are just outside their zone of comfort.  They feel safe knowing that there are specific questions or checklists they can use to help them purposefully practise what they’ve recently acquired. 

Our personal growth as coaches means that each time we step outside the comfort of the tried and tested tools and methods we expand our coaching practice.  Slowly we realise that by paring down we truly listen to our client.   

The more experimental and challenging we become, the more we can flex our approach and tailor tools to each individual client.  This confidence is reflected to us in our client’s growing confidence and ease. 

Once we reach the transformational level we’ve made a fundamental shift from a place of having to a place of being.  Coaching becomes part of our DNA and we achieve an identity level shift.  At this level our coaching becomes more about being present with our clients and we truly sit alongside them.

Our clients at this level of personal growth start to see themselves differently.  They talk about who they are rather than what they do.  For example, “I am seen as an expert in my field.” or “I am a role model for xyz.” 

Fostering a growth mindset

The true purpose of coaching is to develop our inherent need to learn and grow, free from the constraints of externally set standards that we absorb without conscious thoughts.

We’re taught at school that learning is associated with standards and exams.  Passing or failing at something becomes ingrained and can override our instinct to learn for the sake of learning.  Personal growth is a heady mixture of intellect – figuring things out; self-awareness – knowing who you are; stepping out of your comfort zone.

Ultimately when we are willing to embrace the notion, we are ‘work in progress’ and open to the possibility of growth.  Personal growth isn’t a given, it takes determination, perseverance and a willingness to enter the unknown knowing that there is always learning to be had. 

If Ro'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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