When I was a child I dreamed of growing up and becoming a coa… Hold on, lets try that again.
When anyone ever asked me “what do you want to do when you grow up?’, I always said the same thing without hesitation, I would love to be a coa… Okay, third time lucky.
The truth is, I didn’t dream of one day becoming a coach when I was a child. In fact it’s taken me until my mid twenties to even understand the basics of what a coach is and does. So, leaving aside childhood ambition, my reasons for diving into the world of coaching are a mix of pragmatism, aptitude, and fascination; not so much in coaching, but in people.
I’ll return to this train of thought momentarily, but first the reason for this blog post. As a complete novice in the field of coaching, I am aware that I am about to embark upon a substantial educational voyage which will take many hours, months and indeed years. As part of my learner journey I have already begun writing down my thoughts, not only to consolidate my learning but to begin for myself something of a glossary of the key concepts and techniques. And what better way to hammer my stake of commitment into the ground than to make those writings a public blog series! I invite you then to join me in real time on my journey from complete novice, to professional coach.
So why coaching, and why now? First, the pragmatics. I have been working as a content creator behind the scenes at iManage Performance for around 6 years now. Through sheer proximity to the material, I have developed over these years a clear understanding of the tenants of great training. And although they are different in many ways, coaching and training overlap in several areas. Thus, I am not stumbling in the dark entirely, for me there is somewhat of a grounding.
To continue with pragmatism; money! It would be silly to ignore the financial motivation that exists for me. Good coaches make good money, and with the industry connections that iManage affords me, it feels a pretty sure thing that if I can develop the skills the money will follow. Although it feels a little strange, I think it’s okay to admit that you want to make money. In fact I think it responsible for someone with a young family in an expensive part of the UK to want to provide to a certain standard. Money can be a strong motivator, and a healthy one as long as it is not the only motivator!
That brings me on to aptitude. Here is a self portrait sketch for you: I would describe myself has a bit of a sceptic; very rarely do accept something I am told without some level of interrogation or investigation. I don’t like rules; if I am to do something, or not to do something, then I want to know why. I do not enjoy small talk; I am impatient with surface level exchanges, and would prefer to go deep or not talk at all! I am curious; when something interests me I tend to get slightly obsessed. I enjoy studying the subtext and the meta-narrative. I think these traits provide me the potential to become a very good coach, a coach who can navigate the tangled roots of specific scenarios while maintaining a clear view of the jungle canopy from above. A coach who can identify and address the root cause rather than patching up the symptoms. A coach who can harvest crucial information and guide conversations with insightful questions… that’s the goal anyway! I’m starting as a complete beginner, but I think I have an aptitude that will stand me in good stead as I move forward.
And lastly, fascination. What people do and why they do it is an endless source of fascination for me. Sometimes it’s because I am inspired by peoples choices and actions, other times it’s because I am bemused by seemingly irrational and unhelpful thought processes and behaviours. Either way I am interested in why people do the things they do, and I am often compelled to ask questions in order to understand! The idea that people can be coached towards higher levels of performance by having their methods and presuppositions challenged by and objective viewer is exciting, and i’d like to be able to do that! Having a positive impact on somebodies life seems like a very worthwhile pursuit to me.
And so it begins, my journey from novice to pro coach in real time. I will endeavour to keep the blog posts regular, marking my progress, thoughts and feelings along the way. I hope you’ll stick around for the ride!