Going back to where it all began


READ TIME: 2m 30s

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This content bucket (as we’re calling it) of the blog will be all about going back to my learning. I am so looking forward to this bucket because it will be a wonderful opportunity to re-visit course notes and books that have been so important to me and will give me the opportunity to write and share what I’ve learned. 


This post coincides with the tenth anniversary of the first coaching course I took. Coaching Development continues to be one of the most highly regarded centres of excellence in coaching training and a place I am so happy and privileged to remain connected to. A reunion is happening this evening, and as the organising emails have been written and shared so many of us are commenting on how the people we met and the learning has stayed with us. Over forty of us, on five four day modules, over five months, and lots of coaching each other and talking and reading and writing in between - it was a brilliant grounding in my new profession.  I can honestly say that every day I either consciously think about or refer to something I learned on that course. I know that I unconsciously do that too, because so much of what I learned is now such a big part of who I am, what I do, and how I do it. It represented a turning point in my life in so many ways.

I went in thinking I would be learning about coaching, but as in all the best learning experiences I have had since joining this profession, the vast majority of the learning I did was about myself. I remember being struck every day by the quality of the content and facilitation, by the support of the amazing mentors (I was thrilled to later become one) and I still work very closely with some of the people I met on the course, and with the network it led to, and am in touch with lots more. The only thing getting in the way of lots of time with all these wonderful folks is that there’s the small matter of the lives we all lead getting in the way of our catch ups! 

My plan is to go back to my Coaching Development folder and use each module as a starting point for one of these "back to my learning' blog posts. I thought I’d kick off though, by not actually going back to a book or folder but by noticing what springs to mind without any prompting as the key learning from that course. And even as I say this, so many memories and useful things are coming to mind.

  • Contract is king/queen - Time. Goal. Role. As soon as I started to summarise this I knew it was a post in itself - so I'm saving the explanation this needs for a 'more on that later!'

  • Pacing – my fellow coaching student Candy and I were tasked with taking a walk around the Barbican where the course was based at the time, and I learned so much about moving while you think, and about the impact (both positive and negative) of going at the same, or a different pace to your client.

  • How much learning I gain about coaching by being a client of coaching myself, the bonus being what I also gain from being coached.

  • When I make changes, I'm still me – just different. Sounds obvious, but there was a point when I genuinely worried that if I were to make the change I wanted to make, would I still be me? Thanks to coaching from the brilliant Colin Brett as part pf a demonstration, I realised yes, I would.

  • How the biggest darkest looming thing having a huge impact on my life and my thoughts can become a mere bug that I can flick away, or can be something that I can work hard at and change.

  • Helping to learn rather than teaching. A powerful moment of realisation that there is a subtle and yet huge difference between these two things. I would love every training teacher to spend more time thinking about the difference between these two things, as many of them already do. I just know until I heard Tim Gallwey say it on this course, prior to that time, even as a successful teacher and senior leader in a secondary school, I knew that I hadn’t reflected on it enough.

  • The impact of truly listening to someone. Giving someone your full attention is a gift, deceptively simple and often harder to give than we might assume. It can be a transformative one. How many times have you truly given your fully focused attention to someone this week?

There is so much knowledge I want to re-learn and explore again. And I’m looking forward to doing that here. The next post will be that about that first fundamental of time, goal and role - I hope to hear your thoughts on it.

And in the meantime, to my wonderful Coaching Development colleagues, here’s to you!”