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What is Coaching?
Coaching is one of the fastest growing areas of learning and development. People are realising there is a tangible benefit in working with a Coach to simplify complex situations; identify key goals; direct energy and focus; and generally improve our sense of control, our sense of effectiveness and our sense of self worth.
Coaching is a process where a client works with a professional guide to help them move from where they are now to where they want to be. Some people are very good at managing themselves to achieve their utmost without any external help. It is my experience, however, that most of us operate best when we have the opportunity to check in with someone who works in a way that brings out the best in us.
Coaches are listeners; dispassionate, calm and interested listeners. A good Coach is genuinely interested in people and actively interested in listening to their stories. The skill of a Coach is to know when to interrupt someone to ask a clarifying question, or to pull the conversation back towards the goals of the client. A Coach has no end goal of their own in mind but rather joins the client on a journey as a guide.
One of the magic elements of Coaching is the lack of advice. A good coach doesn’t pretend to know more about you than you do. Instead they listen to you to hear what you actually think. They ask challenging qustions, not to ctach you out, but so that you can hear what you actually think. Our thinking becomes increasingly complex and layered through life and often the biggest challenge is to re-learn what is important to us.
Coaching works at a number of different levels. It encourages you to clarify what the big, long term goasl are; and to hold those close as you make the decisions of life. It also operates in the area of short term goals; setting daily or weekly targets and actions, with the intention of moving towards the long term goal. It is much too easy to get hypnotised by the urgent daily crises that appear in front of us; and forget the soul important direction we want our lives to go. A good coach helps you clarify the big goal, and use it to herd your efforts and activities towards it. They also help you crack through the energy sapping stresses and activities of daily life. Another part of the Coaching magic is when you realise that single steps moving in the right direction create their own momentum and release their own energy.
I have found that one of the biggest steps forward in Coaching occurs when people remind themselves about their Values and Beliefs; the things that are important to them at a core level. If the direction your life is going, the decisons you make, and the actions you carry out align with your core values; then everything seems easy. I am a strong believer that the major stresses and hurdles we face in life come about because our actions and values are not aligned. Using a Coach is a great way to ensure that direction, effort, and values work in harmony.
One of the key aspects of Coaching is that it is future focussed. The past is what it is; gone and unchangeable. It has made our memories, but has no hold over our future, except where we let it. I work to help peopl choose the future they want. What would you like tomorrow to be like?
The key groups of people that I do Coaching with are:
I also Coach at a deeper level, helping people look at their place in the world. This is where we work more on who we are and what we are doing in life. There is huge value in clarifying our skills and gifts; the things we love about being alive; and then determining our purpose in life. For some people a simple daily existence is sufficient and that should be celebrated. For many of us, however, there is a spark waiting to be lit. When that spark becomes a fire the results will be spectacular. My role as a Coach is to fan that flame and encourage you to make the brave steps that are your chosen path. This is sometimes a terrifying process, but it is often like taking a big breath in and feeling truly awake.
There is a strong overlap between my role as a Coach and the work I do in Sailing and Education. I believe very strongly that modern humans have lost their connection with the natural world and that this has had a significant effect on our sense of location and sense of self. We can never be properly Present in our lives if we have forgotten where we actually are. Our artifical walls and time constructed lives are no substitute for our history, role, and responsibility in the world’s natural order. I am developing my Coaching to include time in the wild. For me that means on a boat, large or small, witnessing the coastal and river envirnments. There is nothing so powerful for helping us become Present and Aware than relaxing on a gently rocking boat, feeling the brush of a warm evening breeze, listening to birds, and watching the tide rise and fall. There is no greater reminder of the significance and importance of all the things outside of ourselves; and from there we find the calmness and quality inside ourselves.