I have been curious about coaching for a while now. With a psychology degree and business background, I wondered which direction of the two I should pursue further. As my years in the corporate environment went by, I realized the power and reward that comes from being a part of someone else’s development journey. Therefore, I started researching the topic of coaching (which is much more solution-focused and positive than psychological counseling, maybe). To change my old pattern of “just doing a lot, without thinking much,” I decided to do things “properly” this time. So I started with some reading. I then found a coach (recent CTA graduate for myself) who shared her own experiences and helped me understand my values and priorities when it came to my career and personal development. And about 6 weeks into our coaching sessions, I came across this coach training opportunity, and, without much thinking, I signed up for the course.
Overall, I came here to experience coaching and figure out whether it is a career path that I am interested in pursuing and would be happy in. Therefore, one of the most important learnings for me was understanding what coaching is and what makes it different from counseling, mentoring, facilitation, or consulting. I needed to understand that I need to take further steps or commitment to have awareness and confidence. It resonated with me and is something that I believe works, and this ‘buy-in’ into coaching as a profession was very important to me.
I learned the importance of a safe and positive space. Through our group learning experience, I saw how important and powerful that is, given the right setting, bonding, trust, and healing can happen quickly. I have learned that I can create such space for those around me to help them open up faster and identify what is really important to them.
What also really stood out for me was the “slow down to speed up” method. Dr. Haris allowed time for each discussion, exercise, and person, which had a significant impact on the overall atmosphere and participation. In my own life, I tend to rush a lot and often be impatient. But “speed up to slow down” together with self-management for me provides an important understanding of how I should think and self-reflect, as well as behave to be happy and whole. I have already noticed this at home in a straightforward situation. While looking for the movie to watch, I have scrolled past the option I wanted three times having to start all over again – and that is just because I was rushing and did not slow down to speed up. Then I used a few self-management thoughts to understand that situation and learn from it.
I also learned that there are no wrong decisions. I am always worried about making the right decision or choice, and the understanding that we still do what we feel is best was very insightful. At the same time, this applies to me viewing other people’s decisions. Learning that there are no wrong decisions, and the person always does what he/she feels is best in the current situation, makes me feel less judgmental. This ties in well with the learning “map is not the territory.” In other words, trying to always see the situation from another person’s point of view (by allowing them to explain it to you), I can learn a lot and see the world through many different lenses.
Another significant learning that I am taking away from the group learning setting is that silent voices are also vital. Given the opportunity, they contribute valuable ideas, but without the encouragement or special attention, they may never speak out. Therefore, allowing silent members to speak and express themselves is a duty. The louder, more extraverted members should perform to create the best possible outcome or come up with the best ideas as a group. This will help me in my friends’ and professional setting as well. At work, I do a lot of team/group work too, and just being able to encourage everyone’s participation, I feel, would be very valuable to the overall outcomes of workshops or group discussions. In the personal setting, I sometimes tend to be a bit dominating and take over the “space.” This also encourages me to listen and ask questions more rather than always being the one who speaks.
Coaching a group member was also an essential experience that I value a lot. Being able to practice in a “real” setting allowed me to test myself and see how much joy I would get from coaching but also see how complex it could get and that I need to learn coaching tools and tactics to be able to do it. It was beautiful gaining someone’s trust quickly and seeing the colleague open up to me within fifteen minutes. The thoughts that crossed my mind where – do I know the next question, where am I going with this, would I have enough “content” to talk about/encourage the client to talk about for the next ten minutes (never mind the full session or six months + coaching).
I guess it all comes with learning more and practice. The coaching session that Dr. Haris performed afterward put a lot of dots on the “I” and took off a lot of questions from my chest. It is simply about the safe space, listening, open questions, mirroring the client’s language (audio and body). The client has all the answers within them; it is a partnership that is supposed to be thought-provoking and positively impactful on personal and professional life.
Right now, I need to take some time to “digest” and reflect again, as we said, the real learning begins only after the course has ended. I wonder how I will see this experience in a couple of weeks. But right now, I am certain that I wish to explore further and see where it takes me. I am interested in coaching career path because it gives me the privilege of being a part of someone’s development journey, which is a huge reward. But from a more practical standpoint, I am now no longer afraid to say that ability to earn a good salary and have flexibility in your work (hours, as well as different types of coaching) are also important contributing factors. I hope that following the 2-day course, I will do a lot of reading and return to the classroom again.