10 years ago it was a dream. Obtaining my Master Certified Coaching (MCC) accreditation from the International Coach Federation seemed a long way off. And today I am delighted to celebrate that achievement with you.
It has been a journey, like most, with highs and lows. The highs from my learning experiences with some great teachers, supervisors and mentors, working with some amazing clients and witnessing their transformation.
The lows from chemistry sessions where I was not selected, for the right reasons, but at times I felt I had not been at my best. Or feeling it had not been a great coaching session for my client. Or when my client was particularly challenging and resisted making change for themselves.
These highs and lows are what made the accomplishment all the more meaningful. Without the lows I would not have grown as a coach, I would not be able to empathise with my clients when they experience set backs, I would not have learned.
Without the highs I may have given up, I may not have sustained my coaching practice for the past 15 years, I may not have had the confidence to experiment with new approaches and work with different types of clients.
And so, you may wonder what did it take to achieve MCC? What lessons did I learn along the way? What will I do now? Let me take each of these questions in turn and share my experience with you. My intention of which to inspire you to follow your dream, make the most of the journey and know that you have resources within you to accomplish it.
What did it take to achieve the MCC?
Firstly, to have the dream of accomplishing this level within my profession. I have a passion for life long learning and working towards something was a huge motivator. Having a clear idea of where I was heading was essential. It helped in the decisions I made, where to invest my time and money so that I would develop myself towards mastery.
Secondly, commitment. Being committed to my dream meant developing my coaching skills and practising regularly. This entailed core training, a post graduate diploma and pursuing a coach approach that aligned with my core values. I studied alongside my working and being a Mum of two precious girls. It required some sacrifices and at times felt particularly challenging. Being committed to my purpose helped me through those times, together with having great support from my husband and friends.
My training began NLP followed cognitive behaviour coaching and then becoming accredited with the Thinking Environment. All of these approaches create an environment for my clients to discover and nurture their gifts and talents, overcome unhelpful thinking patterns and self-sabotage, to think for themselves and step into their potential each and every day. There is a common theme amongst these approaches in that they are all connected to the way we, as human beings, think, feel and behave.
Thirdly, to invest in mentoring. As I mentioned earlier, having a mentor played a major part in my development and success. Having the space to reflect on my learning, receive feedback to help me grow and feel supported along the way was invaluable.
What lessons did I learn along the way?
I learned that being willing to fail was part of succeeding. Being transparent with my clients and contracting carefully especially when I was developing my skills and approach helped further develop an environment of trust from which we both grew.
I learned the profound impact of listening; listening without interruption and free from judgement. Nancy Kline, pioneer of the Thinking Environment describes the paradox for us as coaches, where we are so present, through the attention we give and curiosity we hold, and yet we are invisible. Our presence is such that we don’t matter as the client thinks well for themselves and yet, we matter profoundly through our capacity to hold a sacred space for our clients to think, feel and say more, in response to our question.
I learned about having the courage to trust my client’s intelligence and inner resourcefulness and let go of the need to offer my experience unless expressly requested. This was the moment of transformation for me that enabled my clients to achieve more as they learned to trust themselves and could see afresh not only what was possible but also how they could change, change for the better.
I learned that being disciplined in keeping to my practice sessions with fellow coaches, showing up for mastery classes offered by ICF and listening wherever I could to MCC coaches was an enriching and a powerful continued learning experience and helped me to develop both my skills and practice.
What will I do now?
I feel that my journey continues. Developing mastery is a continuous process. I continue to learn and discover more about the art of coaching and new approaches as we discover more about the way we, as human beings think, feel and behave.
I continue to be inspired by great coaches and leaders in business who adopt the core skills of coaching through their capacity to make a connection, listen with empathy, ask questions and provide feedback for growth with a focus on appreciation of an individual’s qualities as well as providing a stretch to develop further so individuals feel fulfilled in what they do as well as who they are being.
Over the past 15 years, I have had the privilege to call myself an Executive Coach and living my life on purpose to make a positive contribution to the lives of others through my capacity to listen, ask questions and encourage them to step into their potential each and every day. To witness personal transformation and see others find and nurture their talents made a profound difference both to the quality of not only their working life but also their personal life. A client recently shared with me the outcome of our coaching was not only that he developed further his leadership approach and landed his dream role, the best part was that the relationship with his wife improved having developed his capacity to listen.
For the next 15 years, my purpose is to broaden my work through coaching, facilitation and training to work with organisations and leaders who recognise the profound responsibility for impacting the lives of those who work their organisations and under their span of influence.
And finally, part of my journey to MCC was to develop my skills and experience as mentor coach. Being able to mentor others through their coaching journey has been a rich and rewarding experience.
Recently, a fellow ICF coach and I have set up a local Coaching Group in Chelmsford, Essex. If you are in the area and would like to join us, please drop me a message. We meet on the second Tuesday of each month and our purpose is to connect, share and learn together as coaches so that we may continue to develop as coaches and who we are as human beings.