As many of you know, I’ve been completing a coaching diploma over the past 6 months and have started to coach a number of people both in and outside of work. I was talking to a friend the other day about how much I’m enjoying coaching and she said ‘it sounds like you are really good at it‘.
Instead of being modest and talking about how far I’ve got to go on my coaching journey, I heard myself say “yes, I do think I’m good at it. I feel like I was born to coach. When I support people to go after their dreams, take steps forward in their life, reflect on where they currently are, I feel like I shine.”
Don’t mistake me, dear friend, I don’t shine with the smugness of how bloody brilliant I am – I know that I have a long way to go in learning coaching skills, improving the questions I ask people, being more challenging when someone’s words don’t match their actions.
I shine because of how good it feels to support someone. It’s a bit of a natural high – feeling like I’ve done a good job and have made a difference in someone’s life.
But there is more to it than that, I think.
Seeing others step forward
You see, I know what it’s like to struggle with unhealthy patterns of behaviour. I’ve had a loud ‘inner critic’ for much of my life – a voice dissecting my every small failing to point out how hopeless, pointless, useless I was. I’ve struggled with accepting myself, and in the struggle, feeling unacceptable to everyone else.
Don’t get me wrong, these issues didn’t crush me completely, but they did impact my life. And the ability to help other people take steps forward in their life like I did – leaving behind those unhealthy patterns, starting to quiet the inner critic, learning to love and accept themselves – is so powerful and amazing to behold.
It makes me feel full with gratitude and a love of life. It makes me shine.
And yet it’s so much more than that too.
Removing the blinkers
We all live our lives a bit blinkered – we accept that which we know from past experience and this can so often guide how we interpret and make decisions in the here and now. I know I can be blinkered; make decisions based on my past experience without challenging whether there is another, better way. Another path that I can follow.
But coaching allows people to take off their blinkers. Suddenly new possibilities can be seen, new paths are revealed, dead-ends are turned into avenues of opportunities. And beholding someone in the process of seeing things anew is such a privilege, such an honour.
It makes me glow.
And it’s also about the connection. The humanity of seeing someone where they truly are, for who they truly are instead of just seeing the polished mask we all put on of ‘being ok’.
It’s something that lights me up inside.
I’m not saying that we should all go around lamenting how terrible our lives are and sharing all our woes. That’s not connection to me. What I’m taking about is reducing the amount of time in our life that is taken up with ‘surface’ stuff and sharing more of our hopes with each other, being more open about our fears, getting alongside each other. Being real with each other.
I dream of a world of greater connection and, in my experience, coaching can lead to this.
So I’ll keep coaching, I’ll keep shining and I’ll keep dreaming of what is possible with a life of greater connection.
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