If you are a regular reader of my blog or know me, you will know that for part of my working week I lead the coaching network at my place of work. We are a fledgling network, so therefore we are still training our coaches. We currently have 2 cohorts running and by the end of the year we will have around 40 coaches with an ILM level 5 qualification.
The 2nd cohort (which is really our 3rd but the 2nd I have supported), were in this week completing the coaching for well-being module. My friend and coaching mentor Anthony (I may have mentioned him before) runs the course for us, which in turn is awarded through Leeds Beckett University. I always sit in on the modules, to develop and practice my coaching skills and to learn how to teach the course. Module days are always the highlight of my month, and coaching for well-being has to be my personal favourite.
To be honest it could not have come at a better time, as I mentioned last week I have been a little frazzled lately, and it was clear that that there were others in the room that had similar experiences during January. All the modules that Anthony delivers are very practical heavy with plenty of time spent coaching each other, interspersed with the relevant theory. For this particular module the students pair up with the same person all day. As there was an odd number this week I had the opportunity to pair up with somebody for the day.
So I had a day of talking and rediscovering some different models of well-being coaching and having the opportunity to try out some different approaches and using models in a way I had never done before, whilst at the same time supporting someone else’s coaching development. It was such a fulfilling day, and on top of my own coaching contracting meeting on Tuesday.
My old coach is moving on to pastures new, with a new and exciting job (good luck and thank you so much Vicky), so I have a new coach. It had been a while since I had had a coaching session, and with so much going round in my head, with a million and one projects I was feeling overwhelmed and stuck in the future, causing me to doubt my ability to achieve the goals I had set myself. So on Tuesday I had my first contracting meeting with my new coach.
It was quite liberating. For the first time in a while I had an opportunity to empty my mind in the presence of someone who was just prepared to listen, in the first instance and then probe and challenge. The whole thing took 2 hours (which is longer than I would normally feel comfortable with), there was so much that needed to come out that it felt more like 30 minutes. I talked, she listened, I talked some more she asked me questions, she invited me to draw it, I drew it, she asked me some questions, I drew it some more, I wrote a list and then drew some more, I cried, she listened, asked me some questions. After all that we had a purpose for the coaching and a clear idea of what I wanted to achieve. We then set our boundaries and timings for our continued coaching relationship. It was massively helpful. When I walked into the meeting my jaw was tight, my fists were clenched and Foggy was having a field day. When I left my jaw and fists were relaxed and Foggy had gone to be. I had a clear goal and an action plan for the next month. I was back in the present.
Reflecting on that coaching session now, the most impactful aspect was the level of empathy shown throughout. Saying that though being challenged to have an action plan alongside the empathy (compassionate challenge) probably had the greatest impact. We all need that space to talk out what is going on in our heads, especially during these busy, stressful months.
If you don’t have that opportunity seek it out.