This week has marked the 7th Year that I and my business partner have been in Business. When we started out 7 years ago I was quite new to coaching, I’d qualified and had a few clients in the workplace but the diving into running my own business was a deep one!
In these last 7 years I have had the privilege of coaching over 60 clients, and both Jo and I have facilitated many groups and teams in their Leadership Development journeys.
Today, I got the chance to re-engage in coaching with a past client of mine and as I returned I felt reflective about my experience and my role today. I haven’t spent much time blogging recently and as we enter our 8th year I’m recommitted to sharing my experiences, hopefully you find it useful, in the least – interesting!!! So here goes: What I’ve learned in my 7 years as a Coach:
1. Being a Coach is a privilege
This is something I share with my clients often. My work is a privilege. I have had the honour of working with over 60 clients and every single one has opened their world to me. By creating an open, non judgemental relationship clients open up, relax and explore their professional and personal experiences. Many clients explain that they share things with me that they have never spoken about before and through coaching they are able to make changes to themselves, their work and their lives that create true win – win partnerships. I never take these relationships for granted and am always grateful for the faith my clients place in me
2. We all have doubts....and it's ok!
Linked to the above, having explored the inner world of over 60 people I can honestly say we all, at times, have doubts about our ability or our worth. We might all cope differently and present different behaviours but at some point in your life you will not be on your “A” game, and you know what – that’s OK. Coaching provides the space to learn from these experiences and build resources that you haven’t had before. I too fall off my “A” game, probably more often that I would like, but because of my work I am reassured that this is normal, we all go through it and it’s an opportunity to learn and grow.
3. Coaching is for the courageous
One of my clients described her coaching experience as “wonderfully uncomfortable”, which I think is a great summary of the clients experience. It is not easy to sit in a room with someone you’ve only met for a few hours and have them challenge your mindset, perspectives and view of the world. It’s even harder to commit to actions which will take you outside of your comfort zone and for you to choose to do things that you would naturally put off or not dare to try. I always try to remember that whilst for me I’ve sat through over 350 coaching session, many of my clients have never experienced coaching before.
4. You’re never “done”
Every client is new, every client is unique and the learning never stops. I learn something about myself and my practice from each client I work with and I am continuously trying to up my game. It’s one of the things I love about this work.
5. You absolutely cannot coach yourself , no matter how good you are!
I regard myself as a good coach. I am committed to my CPD, I practice coaching regularly with a range of clients from executives to millennials and I get good feedback and referrals. It’s taken a while for me to be able to say that with confidence without feeling like an ass! However, in spite of this, I cannot coach myself. I am eternally grateful to my fellow coaches and mentors who challenge me, help me to reframe my perspective, enable me to learn and grow and navigate the challenges of work and life. You know who you are.
I could probably write more but if you’ve got to the end of this blog you’re doing well! Thanks for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed it and I commit this year to writing more. Please come back again!
Zoe Hawkins is a coach and mentor. She co-owns In Good Company, a Leadership Development and Coaching Training Business. They provide ILM certified Coaching and Training across the South West. If you want to join a community of people interested in coaching then please follow In Good Company's Facebook Page