It all started several years back on a rainy Monday morning taxi ride to the station. “Don’t you wish you could win the lottery so you don’t have to do this?” the driver remarked. I had just completed my Associate Certified Coach qualification (ACC) and had been coaching clients for a while and, if the truth be told, was loving it. “No,” I answered. “If I won the lottery I’d still be doing exactly what I do now each day!” In that moment, I realized my long career in business had led me to exactly what I was meant to be doing: coaching.
But it also made me think about what coaching meant to me. For years my recruitment clients had told me what they appreciated most from our working relationship was the inherent “coaching” that I brought along with it. This gave way to a natural progression to seek out a coaching career and undertake the long, and at times challenging, process of getting my ACC. But the longer I worked with clients, the more I realized I wanted more for them. More depth. More “big picture.” More higher purpose.
That’s when I decided I would commit to taking my PCC (Professional Certified Coach). Far from being a natural born student I went against my life long distaste for exams and gave everything to achieving this goal. It was fundamentally important to me because I felt it was so important to my clients. When people ask me why, I narrow it down to these points:
I’m not exaggerating here — the teaching was literally mind expanding. By learning from some of the global leaders in the coaching world (from neuroscientists to a business coach for Google) my thought processes took on a new dimension. The hours and hours of CPD were as invigorating as they were exhausting. I found myself at midnight tuning into additional webinars run in the U.S. as the topic held my attention so much. Then I got to apply my learning immediately with my current clients.
Besides the obvious essential element of establishing a deep enough trust between my client and myself for them to open up enough to get to the heart of the issue, there is the factor of my own trust in the coaching process. Through the depth of the PCC I learnt to trust implicitly in the coaching process. I know that I don’t need to know the answers or solve the equation. I just need to remain curious, trust my instincts, and trust in the knowledge that my client — with their vast array of experience — has the answers within them. That’s why each programme with a client starts with a no-pressure, “get-to-know-you” session, which enables us to start revealing their experience and expertise to build a framework from which to move forward.
The PCC taught me to park any preconceptions at the door as regards the person, business, or topic and approach each situation from as many different angles as I can possibly conceive. To help the client see beyond their current thinking and not getting involved in the ‘story’ but help shift patterns. By listening with different ears and a different mind, it is possible to see a myriad of angles.
Whether I’m thinking about my personal passion for what I do (that has grown exponentially through studying) or helping my clients better find their passion, the PCC took it all to the next level. By being better equipped to take a more holistic view of my client’s lives and where their work fits in to this bigger picture, I am able to guide them down a path of rediscovery and re-ignition of the flame that once drew them in.
I firmly believe that there is no one-size-fits-all with coaching. The very nature of coaching is personal, and involves peeling off the layers to reveal new insights. It involves personalities and dynamics and I have always had my own coaching style that is unique to me. What the PCC did, however, was to expose me even further to all the different approaches out there, and to take everything I could learn from those while having the confidence (thanks to the depth of the course) to bring them authentically in to my own style.
I had begun developing each of these traits — the passion, the open-mindedness, the trust-building — long before that taxi ride on a rainy Monday morning. What the PCC did was reinforce each through rigorous study, testing and evaluation. My clients today benefit from the peace of mind that I have truly dedicated myself to the profession. The hours of study mean I have a wider range of perspectives and processes to draw upon, and this means I can offer a more tailored and impactful service to each client.
Finding the right coach is a tough mission for anyone. Whether it’s finding the right match personality wise or the right style of coaching for your character, it’s a big decision. My hope is that with every course I take, every new method I learn, and every insight I gain, I make that decision an easier one for my clients.
And, if nothing else, I’m living proof that by taking the leap and following your passion, success and career fulfillment will follow!