If you’d asked me two years ago how I felt about coaching others as part of my job I’d probably have responded with a nervous laugh and some serious self-deprecation: the voice of my imposter syndrome had a lot to say at this point, and in the early days, I paid it way too much heed: “What could I bring to the table in a conversation with someone more senior, skilled, experienced?” was a particular favourite; my focus was always directed inwards – continually questioning ‘am I qualified enough’? Enter the ilm L5 Certificate in Effective Coaching & Mentoring.
The Level 5 course gave me the opportunity to learn the essentials (credible and authentic theories and models from which to launch and structure coaching conversations) and apply them in a work-based context. The sessions provided a safe, supportive space to practice and reflect upon my new skills alongside my cohort peers. There was time and encouragement to allow my confidence and creativity to grow, and additional supervision sessions supplied added encouragement and support. It’s a learned and continually evolving practice for me: every coaching conversation I’ve had, as part of my training and beyond, has been a learning experience – I don’t think that will ever change and nor would I want it to. Coaching really is the cherry on the cake in terms of ultimately supporting someone to identify and make the changes that really make a difference.
There were many lightbulb moments during the first week of my ilm level 5 training – one of them sticks in my mind and has remained there as my mantra ever since: it’s not about me. I don’t need to match my coachee’s levels of seniority, skills and experience in order to support them, nor do I have to have the answers to their problems or tell them what they need to do, because that’s not what I’m there for. I just need a solid starting framework and to be really interested in what people have to say. The framework? An effective structure that allows for pace, purpose and potential in every conversation, optimises self-awareness and reflection and enables insight and divergent thinking, plus a suite of really great questions from which to cherry pick at any given time. The latter part? Learning to listen - when you open yourself up to the purpose, potential and pleasure of deep, intuitive listening as part of a coaching conversation it kind of all falls into place from there.
And what is it that falls into place? The privilege of partnering transformation, empowerment and the unlocking of potential. The joy of watching someone grow before your very eyes. Sharing in others’ precious ‘lightbulb moments.’ Hearing about, and celebrating, impact and results every time you meet; seeing your coachee start to ‘magpie’ the shiniest and best learning gems from your conversations and use them to make things better for themselves and others. Using a coach approach spotlights things from an altogether different angle and, from the get-go, supports others to take those small, and most-importantly, self-directed steps towards becoming the best versions of themselves – developing the ability to independently, and resiliently, ‘self-coach’ their way around obstacles as they go – and bringing others along with them.
If my story (so far) resonates with you, and coaching (and the potential for transformation it brings) sounds like something that could bring inspiration, value and fulfilment to you, your team and your organisation - or it’s just something you’d just like to know a little more about – get in touch. It really could be the start of something special.