My personal coaching insightsHow my own coach brought out the best in me
I want to share with you my own experience over the past 18 months of being coached by the amazing wellness coach, Jo Grobbelaar. My initial focus was on improving my health and overall wellbeing and, although I’m very much still a work in progress with this area of my life, the coaching relationship with Jo has helped me address what I want from my life in a more holistic way. Wellbeing coaching can be quite different from career coaching, but I would like to share with you what I felt I needed from my coach to help bring out the best in me.
I’m hoping this may give you a clearer insight into how coaching may support you with your goals.
I signed up for an initial 6-month commitment for my wellbeing coaching with Jo, with appointments scheduled every fortnight. I felt nervous and hesitant about committing to regular appointments over such a long period and, of course, could I afford to do this. I was fortunate that I could afford to pay for coaching, but actually it was more than that. It was about signing up to be in this for the long haul, that I was serious about making positive changes in my life, and recognising it was going to be hard work. Sometimes the money can be a reason you tell yourself that coaching is not possible – and, yes, there may be real, practical considerations to make with this. Yet if you’re not prepared to make a financial and emotional investment in yourself, you will not get the return and growth you seek.
Not everything will have a quick fix.
Sometimes it takes time for things to embed, settle, improve, and this needs patience and acceptance. Now, as someone who seeks out the quick wins and needs to see progress quickly, I found the plateaus and occasional lack of progress to be very frustrating and demoralising. I’ve had to build up my resilience and acceptance of the meandering path of self-development, and enjoy the successes when they come. This is the benefit of having coaching over several sessions or a longer period of time. A one-off appointment can sometimes be a temporary quick fix that doesn’t always address longer term needs.
I didn’t expect to feel so emotional or tired during our coaching telephone calls, but actually when facing issues or challenges head on, it can sometimes feel quite exposing and vulnerable. I still reflect how transforming a coaching hour can be and the breadth of emotion and responses that can come up for me over such a short period of time. Sometimes I’d start a session feeling irritated (or worse!), directionless or perhaps just damn fed up! Yet, more often than not, by the end of the hour I felt a little calmer, more motivated, energised and rebooted to keep going. That’s when you remember why you’re investing in coaching and how great your coach is at being there for you.
Make progress with my goals
My focus and goals have changed regularly, often growing organically and sometimes unexpectedly. I started with the focus on improving my health and wellbeing, and now I’m focusing more on my career and developing my freelancing work. Sometimes, I end up working on the things that give me energy, and I put off addressing what’s not going so swimmingly, but a great coach will be able to check in with you about your goals and their progress.
Look how far I’ve come
Coaching can be great at reminding you of what’s going well, what progress you’ve made over a period of time, celebrating the big or small successes and learning from the parts that don’t always go to plan.
It is easy to forget how far you’ve come from that very first appointment, when all you can focus on is what’s not working right now! Even though some days it feels I’m going backwards rather than forwards, and I just want to give up. But the days I want to throw my hands in the air, hide in a corner, are often the turning points my coach works with me on, so I can dust myself off, regroup, and keep going.
Pause for thought
Coaching by its very nature is about raising your level of self-awareness and understanding what behaviours and beliefs are holding you back in life. My 1-hour telephone coaching appointments are a pause in the manic-ness of work, home, and kids and I’m creating some time and space to think about what’s important to me. I usually sit at my dining room table, with my notepad and pen, a hot mug of tea, and respect the time I’m spending with myself and having someone listen to me and be genuinely interested in what I’ve been up to! Priceless!
What on earth do I talk about?
Some days I don’t know what I’m going to talk about, but I always find lots to things I want to share, bounce ideas around, recap what’s been going on for me that week, vent my spleen, have a good moan. Yet Jo steers me towards what am I going to do about it – and that’s the point! By building up my resilience and taking positive action, even baby steps, is how you achieve your goals.
Independent and objective listener
Having Jo as an independent, confidential go-to person for coaching, has given me the space to talk about things that I wouldn’t always want to share with family and friends, who are often too close to you and too invested in you staying the same. If you’re growing as a person and making changes in your life then this invariably impacts on how they react to the enlightened and more confident individual you’re becoming. It can be a lonely place making changes when family don’t understand why you’re doing it, or they’re not comfortable in how it makes them feel, and having Jo as my confidante and cheerleader has boosted my self-confidence and resilience.
No one else can do it for me!
Jo is on my side, my confidante, gives me regular nudges, helps me take ownership and not sidestep what I know is important to me. However, it doesn’t side-track the issue that if you sign up for coaching it means you’ve got to put in some hard work. Quite a few times during the process, I’ve got frustrated with not making the progress I expected of myself, and I’d wonder whether coaching was really helping me. I suppose I was having a bit of an internal tantrum! What I came to realise, and still need to remind myself occasionally, is that it’s up to me to do the work!
Yes, your coach has a wealth of experience, knowledge, insights and skills in the areas you’ve hired them for in the first place, but it doesn’t mean that she can sort it all out for you or do all the work! When it comes down to it, ‘I’m not broken and I don’t need to be fixed’. A coach is not your therapist – even though it might sometimes feel like it is! When you get beyond that mind-set of wanting others to ‘fix’ you, you become a lot more resilient and objective. I’m slowly learning to be kinder to myself and be my own best friend.