A journey to the centre of you

13th May by Lee Robertson

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A journey to the centre of you

“Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle.” - Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

What complicated puzzles us human beings are. We are probably the single most important subject that we have never learned – who we are as people.

How do you construct or define your sense of self? What makes you tick? What is your purpose? What are your values? Who are you as an individual?

When you embark upon your coach training, these questions will probably not be front of mind when it comes to what you expect from your upcoming course. You will be more likely thinking about what you will be learning about coaching itself – the theory, the skills, its psychological underpinnings. But what about you as a person? You as a coach? What impact will the training have on you?

The AoEC has seen thousands of aspiring coaches comes through its doors, all keen to learn the tools of the trade and get to work making positive change happen. Sometimes, they have their eyes opened to what coaching is and what it is not, but more often, they find themselves on a deep, and sometimes profound journey of self-discovery.

To become a coach and understand how you want to work, first you must learn about yourself and be prepared to work on you as a whole person.

Beginnings - self-awareness

“To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person.” - Bruce Lee

When participants do the AoEC’s Practitioner Diploma or Advanced Practitioner Diploma in Executive Coaching, the biggest question we ask of them is ‘Who am I?’ As participants find out, this is so crucial to you learning what it takes to be a coach and how to coach.

Aside from all of theory, technique, client work, supervision and peer group work, the courses both require you to complete learning essays and develop your personal coaching model. This will necessitate you to concentrate on you. Being able to define who you are is half the learning process, requiring you to look inward and make sense of why and how you are the person you are.

Self-awareness is one of the greatest gifts in coaching and in learning to be a coach it is one of the key skills you will need when working with clients or colleagues. From looking at your own life experiences to what motivates and drives you, you will also become acutely aware of your own presence and being. How you come across in your body language – do you loom large? How your intuition and insight into the coachee’s thoughts manifests physically – that feeling in your stomach. Your inner critic - what holds you back by way of self-limiting belief?

Trassa Meegan who completed the Advanced Practitioner Diploma advises: “Bring your whole self to it, warts and all. Take risks, don’t spectate. A well-structured programme will teach you skills to bring outward to your clients. But if you also embrace the invitation to look inward and work on yourself through a deeply experiential programme like the Advanced Diploma, then the return for your coaching is exponential.”

You might not see the wood for the trees to begin with, but you are on the path to becoming that better version of you.

Middles - deepening your understanding

“Life is about accepting the challenges along the way, choosing to keep moving forward, and savoring the journey.” - Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Your coach training is offering you a new perspective. It is time to try new things, change old habits and set new goals. You need to be comfortable with the uncomfortable as you step outside of your comfort zone and stretch yourself. You need to be engaging in self-dialogue and if you aren’t doing this or experiencing the impact of the learning, you can’t grow.

Trassa adds: “My Advanced Diploma experience was of two parallel, but interconnected journeys. The first journey was where I was indeed exposed to lots of mind-expanding theory and techniques. But the second journey was with my wonderful triads of peers, coaching and being coached, working on my own topics session after session, and re-absorbing all of that directly back into my own coaching. I became a better coach. But only via the uncharted path of working on myself and my own baggage on the way. It literally changed my life.”

As Moira Halliday, director of programmes with the AoEC says: “We have a careful process of facilitating your learning where you are challenged and supported to dig deeper into what makes you the person you are. For instance, the Practitioner Diploma mirrors the coaching process with a beginning, middle and end to support your development. That allows you to organise your thoughts from the learning interventions you have been exposed to through group work, supervision, peer feedback and skills practise so that you can make better sense of who you are, embrace the learning that resonates most with you and discard what doesn’t, explore your beliefs and values and start to put together your identity as a coach and your own unique coaching model.”

Ends – self-achievement

“That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you’ve understood all your life, but in a new way.” – Doris Lessing

Jeremy Blake, a past AoEC graduate on the Practitioner Diploma says: “This is a powerful and practical programme that has made me re-think and re-feel my approach to coaching and given me some very great insights into what I can do better and grow as a coach.”

Moira Halliday sums up: “For the Faculty here at the AoEC, the most rewarding part of working for a training provider is to see course participants work their way through the programmes and emerge on the other side with their own individual coaching model. A deeper understanding of who they are as a result and the self-assurance and confidence to join the profession. Change is the true result of learning and for us, you are your best investment.”