My Coaching Journey so far!
For several years I have thought about becoming a coach; When I had my first coaching session several years ago, I recall thinking if I did not work directly in property this is the dream job for me. Now, here I am following my dreams.
I am fascinated with how everyone is so different, I have always loved meeting new people and I thrive on seeing other people develop and want to now share in their success, being a highly motivated, driven person, I now want to inspire others on their journey.
I felt it was very important to choose the right course and qualifications to develop as a coach and Barefoot Coaching was familiar to me at the same time I learnt more about coaching several years ago. Due to my experiences with my coach, who also trained with Barefoot, I knew my coaching journey and training had to be with Barefoot. The tutors on the course have shared some amazing, inspirational, real life issues that they have experienced as a coach and their own development. I have also, even over Zoom, met fabulous peers, their support for myself and each other has been truly fantastic and I know I have made connections and friends forever.
I love the Barefoot quote of ‘dancing in the Moment’. I believe I follow Barefoot’s ethos of ensuring all clients are treated with the highest positive regard and always deserve to be listened to. By asking relevant, open-ended questions and listening can be such a powerful tool allowing clients to think even deeper into both important topics and those that may have initially felt irrelevant.
I also wanted to achieve an academic qualification as I feel I have finally found my true passion which I want to make a career out of. So, at the age of 51 I am undertaking a degree in Business and Personal Coaching with Chester University, the option of a master’s is there – watch this space, no pressure!
On reflection over the last six months I have learnt so much about coaching and myself. In the first few months I found it quite difficult not to want to ‘fix’ everyone I coached. When you have spent 30 years or so selling yourself to win that new instruction in the property industry, it was a big change to see the value of just listening to a client. Whilst wonderful, this is a very unusual experience. What I have learnt over the last few months is that I have a desire and interest to listen to others, that everyone has their own amazing story, thoughts, ideas and beliefs. Therefore, I feel so privileged to have heard many different stories, issues, dilemmas, and goals already.
When I first started on this wonderful coaching journey, I was very concerned at filling 90 minutes with a client. What questions would I ask? What if there was silence? What if the client did not have a light bulb moment? What if??????
Boy was I wrong, firstly the sessions go by so quickly and the questions come automatically. The more involved I am in the session, with my caring, interested approach to the client. The session feels so natural and if the client is smiling at the end of the session, I know I have done a great job. If they have had a light bulb moment then that’s great, if not, that is also ok. How could you expect yourself to deal with an issue someone has had for 12 years in 90 minutes? Over time you can, but that involves trust and relationship building which will not always happen in the first session.
I have also grown to love silence in a session to allow a client time to think and reflect without the interruption of everyday life. Silence for a client is really powerful as it allows them to think of how they can, reflect, change and move forward. As a coach I am guiding them along the way and helping my clients be the best they can possibly be.
Perfect is a word I am removing from my brain. I have spent the last 51 years trying to be perfect in everything I do. But what is perfect, is perfect achievable? Is it realistic? I really do not think so and the energy it takes is very consuming and negative. Trying your best at what you can do is to me the new perfect and I would never try to get someone to be perfect. Looking at what they are trying to be perfect in and maybe asking open questions to help them reflect, may help them see things differently.
As a coach I want to be seen as someone who is friendly, approachable, and inspirational. I do not want to come across as a bully which I have experienced from other colleagues, bosses and coaches. If at our next session the client has not achieved the goals, they set from the last session it is not about telling them they’re a failure. It’s what else have they done, what was stopping them doing the particular goal, is that goal still as important as it was? If so let’s talk about it and set a time frame. If not let it go and focus on what you do wish to achieve. That now sits really well for me and I would much rather encourage positive activity even if it is different to the initial goal, than make someone feel they have failed.
My very first client was someone who already had a coach! What pressure did that give me, thankfully I found this out at the end of the coaching session! She wanted to write a book; her husband had built her a very ‘nice shed’ for her to have peace from the busy household. She was stuck, she did not even go in the ‘nice shed’. In our session we spoke about the excitement of the idea of her book, how she may feel if she got to publish her book and after just one session she felt inspired to go to the ‘nice shed’. I am delighted to say she has found time to write the book and she is now talking to a publisher. She joked at the end and said ‘I have had a coach for years and she has never inspired me so much as with you’! – wowee I thought a very powerful statement and felt like I had won the lottery.
In the last six months and reflection of this time I have had the joy of coaching so many different people and it inspires me to learn more, listen more and I wish to enjoy my coaching journey for many many years. The words that I have had describe me of a coach in the last six months are:
Genuine – Natural – Authentic –Truly Interested in people – Calm Presence – Empathy – Caring
This makes me immensely proud of what I have achieved and such a drive to carry on helping and inspiring others. I want to stay curious; I want to enjoy feedback and not see this as negative but only to improve in the service of my clients.
My favourite quote so far!
Everyone sees a rainbow differently