A reflection from a Graduate Coach

My first two years as a qualified Solution Focused Motivational NLP coach have been full of learning experiences. My initial diploma training in Coaching and NLP finished at the end of 2017. Since then it has been increasingly clear to me that at the centre of my personal coaching philosophy lies my core belief in the ability of people to realise and exceed their own expectations of themselves ie ‘People are amazing! One coachee in particular had been so undermined by a bullying culture at work that she couldn’t see, feel or believe in her many strengths and resources. It has been interesting to note that at least 60% of my coachees have been sabotaged by debilitating limiting assumptions which needed re-framing to allow the potential of ‘who I really am’ to emerge It’s become increasingly clear during 2018-19 that the essence of my coaching is to unlock people’s potential in order to enable them to maximize their own performance.

We are, as John Whitmore has suggested,  like ‘acorns’ – full of latent potential – but we need the right encouragement, light and nourishment to become magnificent oak trees. My job as a coach this year has been to enable my coachees to see & experience this for themselves.

My coaching sessions with a wide variety of individuals this year have led me to the conclusion that too many people see themselves (and are seen by others) in terms of their past performance, not their future potential. This results in insecurity, a lack of confidence, compromised self-belief and frustration both with themselves and their circumstances.  Building my coachees self-belief using a combination of positive psychology and an Appreciative Inquiry approach has been the bedrock of every coaching session. Sometimes it has been coachees with the greatest obvious abilities who have found it most difficult to discover what happiness means for them. Once they have gained insights during the coaching sessions into who they are and what they are meant to be doing (and why), the transformation to their self-esteem has been remarkable.

One of the most important aspects of my current work as a Coach is to ‘facilitate’ self-belief and increasing self-awareness in my coachees. This has encouraged each one to take responsibility for their own development in pursuit of their goals. So often clients have come to a session feeling they don’t have choices but have left knowing that they do have the strengths and necessary resources to make those choices! I have become a strengths facilitator and an awareness raising listener.

This is who I am as a Coach.

The many models and concepts I have used from my training portfolio, including the learning surrounding ‘surface’ & ‘deep’ language structures from the NLP practitioner course, have encouraged me to increasingly embrace a sense of professional satisfaction in my new role as an ‘Awareness raising facilitator of strengths & positive psychological principles’ for my Coachees.  Every coaching session leads towards a solution which is ‘owned’ by the coachee. Focusing on the problem rarely works. It only succeeds in embedding it deeper!

The learning journey has certainly been exciting. What a relief it is to go into every coaching situation (whether formal or simply as part of the conversations held during a working day) knowing that there are no right answers, just honest ones. The release from the straightjacket of needing to find THE right answer has affected the way I ask questions of my students in my ‘other’ role in the classroom. The responses I give to the students answers now seek to draw out THEIR learning rather than to convey mine.  My coaching philosophy has affected the conversations I’ve had with many of my colleagues where listening ‘deeply’ to what they are saying (verbally and through body language) has had liberating results for them – they have loved their experience of a ‘Thinking Environment in action’.

The learning journey continues!