A few weeks ago I offered up some taster coaching sessions in order to understand some of the barriers to coaching and also to reach some people who maybe would not have considered it before. I got a great response and merrily biked all over the place meeting a broad group of interesting people. Since that time I have spoken with each of the people I coached just to see how it was for them, did they notice any change, that sort of thing. Pleasingly, it was overwhelmingly positive but of course I can’t talk about that because it was confidential – which means how do I feed back to my readers what it was like to be on the receiving end of me?
Well I’m pleased to say that today we have a guest post. On condition of anonymity one of the recipients has agreed to give you their perspective on what it was like to be coached by me and how the process worked for them.
I was one of the lucky ones who recently experienced a ‘Jon coaching taster’ and I must say it was an interesting and positive experience. I started the discussion talking about how I wanted to bolster my confidence in preparation for returning to work after a career break. He quickly cut to the chase and asked me ‘Who are you?’ – he wasn’t being rude as we had already done the intros! Rather he was trying to get to my sense of self. I was pretty flummoxed as to be honest it is not a question I have pondered on much so after a brief tumbleweed moment I answered. My answer focused on who I was in relation to other people, wife, mum, daughter etc and who I was in relation to my professional knowledge and experience. So Jon tried again, ‘Who are you?’. More tumbleweed and head scratching followed. Slowly with Jon’s help and a few more questions I peeled back a few layers of my personal onion and talked about the things that bring me joy and make me feel alive – the things that make me, me.
At the end of the brief discussion I had more of a sense of myself and what is important to me which is not what I had gone into the discussion looking for but was what I needed, as how can I work on my confidence if I don’t know who I am. Afterwards reflecting on the discussion I came to the realisation that in the whirlwind that is family life, I had stopped making time for me so much so that I had lost my sense of personal identity. It wasn’t all smooth sailing and I had a bit of tough time thinking about what the discussion had raised and what that meant for my life and others close to me. There hasn’t been a grand life plan announced but I have made some small changes, started to focus on myself a little more and become more aware of when I am compromising.
At the end of our discussion Jon asked me what I thought were the barriers for people when thinking about coaching. My response was about fear, the fear of discovering something that you would then have to address and the potential implications both personally and on others close to you. I knew deep down that I had an issue that I needed to surface and explore as I have been uncomfortable in my own skin for a while and the mini-coaching experience provided an opportunity for me to do that in a safe environment with someone there to metaphorically hold my hand.
So there you have it. In 30 minutes of conversation you can realise a lot. Interestingly I often use that sort of session length, not least because there is a limit to how much the mind will process after a certain point. Additionally, a lot of the “coaching” takes place afterwards, between the meetings. That’s certainly what happened in this case, note how our writer talked about reflecting on the conversation afterwards. In an added bonus, their reflection has helped me see myself as a coach from the client perspective, a valuable lesson for anyone involved in change work.
Finally, my call to action for this week. What would improve if you gave it some deep reflection? Please get in touch via the comments here or find me on twitter