Why I love Coaching

1. You get to see other people succeeding at their dreams and know you’ve helped them along the way.

I could leave it at that but I was mulling this over with a taxi driver the other day and I firmly believe what I said to him; coaching is a job which puts you into a positive head space. 

You’re talking with people about their innermost dreams and ambitions; seeing them if not achieve those in the timeframe of coaching, make significant progress towards them. 

It has a real feel-good factor.

2. It’s all about the learning

“The learning journey” is probably used as an expression but it’s the core of a coaching experience.  In many ways, it doesn’t matter what the dream is, what the actions taken are, it’s about learning from the experience whether it goes right or it doesn’t go quite as planned.

It makes me view my own experiences in a different light.  “What did I learn?” is rapidly becoming a question I ask myself each day.

3. It’s about celebrating success

Whether minor or major, coaching enables you to see each achievement as an achievement.  But not only that to really focus on giving credit that an achievement has been made.  Too often we don’t recognise that we’ve done a good job, or that sometimes just surviving the day is a good job.  Achievements come in all shapes and sizes and I love that.

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Give me an 'R'…

It’s one of those strange things but sometimes I find it’s all too easy to dismiss an achievement as an achievement. I’m a natural pessimist so I do sometimes just jump to the ‘what’s gone wrong’ mode rather than ‘what’s gone right’.

This blog is really helping me focus on the positive because (a) I have to find something to talk about every day and (b) it’s actually a running record of how I’m doing.

The other thing that has really helped me is coaching – both being coached and coaching others.

As a coach, one of the roles I perform is being the personal cheerleader for clients – helping them to recognise their achievements and celebrate them, bolstering their confidence when things aren’t progressing the way they would like them to be. In doing so, I’ve gained the ability to recognise an achievement for an achievement and not just something that anyone can do. Because maybe anyone can do it but the important thing for the client is that they have achieved it.

Being coached has also helped me focus on my own achievements and to see them as achievements. It’s made me realise that I can accomplish a great deal. And in realising I can accomplish perhaps what I’ve in the past deemed small stuff, it’s also made me realise that I can accomplish the big stuff.

OK, so maybe the secret fantasy of wanting to be a fighter jet pilot is never going to come true (I blame Airwolf) but I can arrange an ‘experience day’ and get a ride in a fighter jet (because the reality is that I would hate being in the military – far too much physical exercise – so I only really want the experience), or I can save, and take lessons to fly helicopters if I really want to. And maybe the dream of going into space is “out there” but again, it’s not impossible. I could climb Mount Everest if I really wanted to do it (not that I do, I hasten to add, nor am I ever likely to want to climb any mountain).

Nothing is truly impossible; it’s only impossible because we tell ourselves it is.

More importantly, I’m also not beating myself up about stuff. While yesterday’s blog may seem like evidence to the contrary, actually the blog helped me to put what was after all a minor error into perspective – something else that coaching is very good at doing.

For me, the lesson is really that I need to be my own personal cheerleader, and that it is an absolutely an essential part of being a good coach.

Experiments

I actually performed an experiment today for the first time in more years than I care to remember.

The main problem wasn’t performing the experiment but working out how to use the stopwatch on my mobile phone. Perhaps trying to use it for the first time during an experiment wasn’t the best method but it was certainly effective learning.

Only two more victims, uh, I mean participants to go and I’ll have the data I need for the report (which is the next assignment).

So far I’m enjoying the psychology study. There are some passages of the textbooks (particularly the methodology book) which are hard going but overall it’s a good course. The science element is interesting and I’m kind of slowly getting over the inner terror of words like experiment!

Market research is not unlike an experiment. I’ve been investigating the coaching market from a competitor standpoint and it was a very interesting trawl through over 30 internet sites. It surprised me how many coaches keep their pricing structures secret. OK, so I get that not having a price means interested clients have to contact you, which gives you the opportunity to sell but I mean, as a prospective client, if a site doesn’t have a price I’m personally much more likely to walk away and not bother with it at all. Of course it does mean that it foils people like me doing market research.

Hello world!

Hello world seems to be an unapt title given this is my first blog and yet will probably be read by no-one bar my cat who sits beside me as I write this.

Unoriginal in the extreme, attempting a daily blog is my New Year’s resolution.  One I have already failed at given today is 2nd January and ideally I should have tried to do something yesterday.

Still, better late in the attempt than never.

Now that I have a shiny new blog, I’m not sure what to do with it.  It may become nothing more than a place to put my ramblings.    But I guess that’s the point of a blog.

A short introduction then: who am I?  And isn’t that the question that plagues us all, along with the more apt one in my case of what do you want to be when you grow up?

This is the first year in a long while that I have not begun the year as an IBMer.  As I said to friends when I left the company with whom I shared 13 years, (many of which I usually began with the words ‘this year I’m leaving IBM’) I don’t really want ‘a great IBMer’ to be my epitaph.  It is a good company to work for and I love the people with whom I worked (IBMers are generally really lovely people), but it was never my life’s ambition and being good at something doesn’t necessarily make it an ideal job or career.

So, here I am no longer defined as an IBMer.  Career-wise, at this moment, I am currently an aspiring personal coach looking to be self-employed and open for business within the next few months.  I love coaching.  Helping others define their goals and work towards the achievement of them is incredibly satisfying for me.  If I can make some money from it, so much the better. 

Long term, I am looking to add psychotherapy to my business.  I’m currently studying for a Diploma in Psychology with The Open University.  So far, the study has been interesting and the assignments challenging – nothing like going back to school to test your cognitive function and mine isn’t so great these days.

The career change in part was triggered by worsening health.  Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to be exact.  I seem to have spent 2009 lurching from seriously ill to better than I have been for some time to seriously ill (ie my current state).  I spend my time wavering between denial of my illness (which ultimately ends up with my being more ill as I try to be ‘normal’) and periods of acceptance (when I actually make some attempt at the lifestyle changes required to manage my illness with some success).  Hopefully, 2010 will see the beginning of a recovery for me along with the still-depressed world economy.

My battle with health and fitness aside, I do try and enjoy myself.  One of the things that I did achieve in 2009 was attending a Writer’s Holiday which provided me with lots of wonderful new friends and the realisation that while I would love to write and publish a book, ultimately I don’t want to write for a living: I enjoy it too much to place that kind of importance on it in terms of monetary security.  As a result, I’ve kind of realised that while I should (and will) try to write more original fic, my playing in the fanfiction arena for fun and enjoyment is OK.

The fandoms I play in are two of my favourite TV shows: Airwolf and Stargate.  Both focus on tortured heroes in fantastically tight-knit teams saving the world and the universe.  Something which I guess appeals to my inner geek.  I also have a love for NCIS and Star Trek (all series) but I haven’t yet been tempted enough to write fanfic for them.  Stargate is probably the fandom in which I’m most active and one of my achievements in 2009 was winning a Stargate Fan Award for one of my fanfics.

Reality TV is a guilty pleasure, mostly The X-Factor but Great British Menu, Come Dine with Me, Project Runway, American Idol and America’s Next Top Model are very addictive, possibly because they all fall into TV slots where I require viewing while I eat.  Other than that, I tend not to watch a great deal of TV.     

I love reading.  I have fairly eclectic tastes: I love Nora Roberts for romance, her JD Robb books are equally excellent with a nice futuristic twist; I love Mercedes Lackey for her Valdermar series.  I’ve read Agatha Christie’s entire works and love Ann Graham’s novels.  I love Carol O’Connell’s Mallory books.  And if I need an action fix Vince Flynn and Lee Childs both provide great heroes.  For laughs, Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books usually have me laughing out loud.

My tastes in music are also fairly eclectic although my favourite song ever is Every Breath You Take by The Police.  Otherwise, pretty much everything from Il Divo to Snow Patrol gets at least one song on my playlist with the exception of heavy rock and rap music.

And I think that’s pretty much enough about me for now – possibly anything I’ve mentioned above may appear again on the blog.

As you can see, the blog is definitely going to become something of a ramble-fest for me (and hence the title). 

To finish, this year’s goals:

1. Get healthy (pretty much the priority if I’m going to achieve the rest)

2. Spend time with friends and family

3. Set-up the Coaching business

4. Focus on my Psychology study

5. Write something fictional every day

6. Blog daily

7. Have fun