Part of my journey to become a qualified coach involved being coached. Today I would like to share with you what coaching has done for me. I have been coached by more than one coach which makes the experience even more valuable as I can see what works and what doesn’t work for me. We are all unique in our approaches, our expectations and our boundaries, which leads me to say that finding the right coach is key to successful sessions.
I have grown so much since being coached. The main take away from this experience is that I find myself being a much calmer person. I can reflect more and step back. I can now see others’ perspectives which before wasn’t so obvious.
So what have I been coached on you may think? Mainly around my children. I have found that I have realised that in any conflicts with them, I had my share of responsibilities. Maybe you might say….Duh…of course you have…and you needed coaching to find that out? Well, this is it! I must confess that when you are in a middle of a situation, your nose is so much in it that you cannot see clearly and there are many blind spots. The most common one is that I was actually instigating conflicts by ignoring my kids’ messages and I wasn’t actually listening to their needs because I was so much in the controlling mum mode who knows best that I never considered their points of view as “adults”. First learning point….we all have a part to play in a conflict situation…Carole, stop playing the victim! When I was so overwhelmed with a very difficult situation at home with two siblings arguing so much that I had to tell one of them to live somewhere else…Imagine the horror of the situation…me kicking one of my children out of their home. Without my coach at the time, I wouldn’t have managed to overcome the feeling of guilt and shame. By opening up, I found peace and learnt to be patient with the situation I had on hand. It helped me forgive myself too. My coach kept pressuring me and asking very direct questions and repeating the same question several times, not letting go…insisting until I would crack (ok this is not for everyone..but I needed to be shaken to get to the bottom of it). It really allowed me to go through very difficult months and being able to step out of the situation and gain clarity. I started changing strategies and to my surprise it worked! I didn’t have to be the rescuer anymore!
I was in period of transition, having left my full time job and had to decide whether to become self-employed or go back to another full time job which looked ideal for me at the time. I felt a huge guilt around having free time and time for myself. I was also lost and feeling inadequate of not being like everyone else (salaried). I had a very strong critical voice which needed turning down. My coach challenged me around a strong belief I had that everyone was working full time and that was the normal thing to do. It forced me to start looking around and gave me the reassurance that there were actually many people around me who didn’t fit in my perception of a normal working life. At one stage, I also considered working part time as a social worker in a home for people with disabilities and conditions like dementia. Again, it’s thanks to a very short and powerful session that I realised I really didn’t want to carry on working there (only had a day there). My coach noticed my body language and reflected it back to me…My all body was showing all the signs of discomfort and just spotting that highlighted what my brain was not able to see clearly. This completely helped me reject the job opportunity. On a deeper level it showed me how I kept saying yes to everything without really thinking. Something shifted in me and I started to give permission to myself to actually say NO.
One session was around my relationship with money. A topic I had never talked or thought about in depth. Oh my! How useful that was! Speaking about this made me realise that I was actually spending more energy trying to save money at all costs rather than devoting my time to earn money as if earning was bad and saving was good. What it made me realise is how stupid and time wasting my approach was. I opened up to my coach about some of the most ridiculous behaviours I had had, I told her “please don’t tell anyone about this” it felt so so stupid…because it’s only then in the coaching space that I came to the realisation how pointless it was…we had a good laugh and little by little I have now started to change my way of acting around the saving money part as not only I would end up wasting time but money! I shan’t go into details as you would really start laughing out loud! Of course, it won’t change overnight but now I am more aware when I do it…and how to learn from it and change my old habits into healthier habits! Ok…let me give you an example….I pay for one of my daughter’s phone bills…she kept exceeding her data usage so she asked me to upgrade her mobile package…instead of going for the £12 one, I thought: “oh the £9 should work fine”..and guess what? Last month she went over the limit yet again…her bill was then £51…you do the maths…I wanted to save £3 and it cost me so much extra…logic isn’t it? So this is the old behaviour…now I need to keep remembering myself that it’s not all about saving money! Oh, and I also discovered that I take pleasure in saving money and would go to many different shops to find out which product would be the cheapest where…do you shop around for a packet of Cheerios cereals? Well I did! And when I found the bargain…bang! I would get a great sense of pleasure…I hadn’t even thought about this…the pleasure of saving 50p was so strong that it didn’t matter if I wasted 30 minutes of my precious time…logical right?! This shows how we do things without even realising and how detrimental it can be. I have a money saving addiction! How peculiar!
I could go on and on on how coaching has helped me. What I am trying to say is that without these sessions I wouldn’t have been able to change and evolve so drastically and quickly. It’s only the beginning and yes, sometimes there were tears, feeling of shame but in the space, there was no escape…I had to open up, I had to look deep. I resisted on many occasions, but the work happened in between sessions too. I am now more aware of who I am, what my needs are, my core values and how to react in certain circumstances. The main benefit for me is improved relationships with family members and friends and a better understanding of how what I am saying and doing can affect others.
So, I am curious…what are your blind spots? What are the questions you have been avoiding? What resonated with you in my story? Please do comment or ask questions! It’s all about sharing right?
Finally, I would like to thank Aisha, Tracey, Nico, Emma, Alessandro for being such wonderful coaches 🙂