CHAPTER 1: CRISIS
Attending Coaching school: Back to school again and the course work, in heavy ring-binders, duly arrived by post in a Big carton Box. The course had a good structure made up of two parts. The First part was Distance learning with Tele-classes tied up with the modules in coursework material, Practical coaching hours to be logged (over Skype) and submission of Book critique and reflective essays along with a final assignment (for publishing)!! The Second part was a three day residential course in the country side, which was a useful spur to action since I had to complete half of the coursework before I was eligible for this.
However, I looked forward most to the three day residential part which did not disappoint. It was held in a stately home, Northwest of Oxford City area and took me about 2 hours travel by train and broke my curfew of never getting past the M25! It was invigorating to meet fellow practitioners and the tutors, while I took copious notes. But the best was yet to come!
It was one of the break periods and I ambled about and fetched a coffee, which promptly spilled and made got me hot under the collar. And then this young lady pops up by my shoulder and tells me “Wow that was fantastic!”. Aha, my head swiveled about and before I could give a withering look, she disarmed me with a smile.
Arianne, her name was I found out, explained that the perspective she took was that the spill occurred on the linoleum floor, and just on the edge of the plush carpet, so a disaster had been averted.
It was about Perception! I found out that Arianne was French and had flown in from France for the residential; she had signed up as a career change from a marketing background and of course had a lovely accent on her very good English. And that’s how we built up rapport and the basis on which I made my decision to have a peer-coaching arrangement with her, during and after our course completion.
I had signed up and paid for the Coaching course in July 2009 and the estimated schedule was to complete in fifteen months with the award of a ‘Life Coach Practitioner Coaching Diploma’. And it was then eight months after the start, and grinding away at my coursework modules, that I then attended the residential course in February 2010. The thrill of meeting Arianne at the Residential course sparked a revival in my enthusiasm for the coaching work and we setup a Skype coaching meetup after her return to Paris. It was a mutually beneficial arrangement with benefits for me as a client.
Mentor coach: However, I was not on my lonesome as one of the perks of the course was to provide me a Mentor coach to guide me through client coaching and provide me with training feedback.
Working with my Mentor Coach was an invaluable aid in developing my practical coaching skills. In the mentoring sessions, the Mentor Coach acted as ‘the Client’ while I was the Coach. The feedback provided as part of each session helped to develop my skills as a coach. There were several telephone coaching calls taking place at intervals throughout the length of my training, which I used as a practical learning guide.
Coaching sessions with my Mentor Coach were scheduled in conjunction with additional coaching practice – study buddy, reciprocal, or practice coaching. My Mentor Coach ‘the Client’ helped to guide me through a number of issues, which commonly arise in coaching relationships, and trained me in both coaching skills and in how to deal with these issues/topics.
Oh! And there were all the log books I had to fill. Through this period I was still ill and on pain-killers but the focus on my learning path pulled me through some difficult periods. The Tele class modules helped to anchor my feelings and exercises on Beliefs and values elicitation, amongst others, were very useful. The target was to have completed the course by November 2010, and I had some flashes of brilliance receiving a Distinction for the Book critique submitted.
The struggle: But I struggled with the written assignments and the final submission. This had nothing to do with the course standard, it was a reflection of the conflict and stress I had gone through, alongside the legal defense I had to make to the Employment tribunal to prevent my civil service dismissal, had diminished not only my work ethic but also my drive to succeed in my endeavours. I had always pushed myself to achieve targets with a competitive mindset and I was now bereft of this mindset.
The coaching course had given me insights into how to achieve balance and change gears and one of the best was to learn to pull yourself to achieve targets. The toolkit on saboteurs clarification had also helped me identify the issue as apathy. So this book is now being written and published ten years later as my final written assignment. Please don’t tell.