Becoming a Coach – Part 1

This month I’m participating in the #educoach blog challenge initiated by Kathy Perret, Jessica Johnson and Shira Liebowitz, moderators of the US based Twitter chat, #Educoach.

I don’t wish to write on the how of coaching – there are plenty of more suitably qualified people than me to do that. Instead, I thought I would use these posts to reflect on becoming a coach. I doubt that journey will ever end. I agree with  Christian  van Nieuwerburgh who writes in An Introduction to Coaching Skills, that to be a coach is not something you are taught, it is something you become, a way of being. I suspect it is something I will always be ‘becoming’.

#Educoach was the first Twitter chat I participated in. Back in 2011 I stumbled across it by accident. At that time the only form of coaching I was aware of was sports coaching. I knew nothing about coaching in an educational context and It sparked my interest. That chat is what started me on my journey to becoming a coach.

Last year, again by accident, I came across the Growth Coaching International website, and signed up for their Coaching Accreditation Program (CAP). I’d been wanting to learn coaching skills for so long, and this looked perfect. I self-funded the training as it was too expensive for my school, but I don’t regret a cent. Becoming a coach has been transformative. It’s one of the most worthwhile things I have ever done.

You see, before becoming a coach, I would carry people’s burdens. If a teacher came to me with a problem I believed it was my job to find a solution. Like Christopher Pyne, I was a ‘fixer’. At least I tried to be.

But I was stressed and burning out carrying my own load while picking up the loads of others. If a team member felt stressed, I’d feel guilty. I believed I had let them down or failed them in some way. It was taking its toll.

I went into coaching to better support teachers, but through the process, I learned how to support myself. I no longer carry people’s burdens and try to solve their problems. Instead I walk alongside them and empower them to unlock solutions for themselves.

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13 thoughts on “Becoming a Coach – Part 1

  1. Great post. I really connected with what you said about coaching as “being/becoming.” I find that effective coaching is more about mindset than actions. I read the same ideas recently in The Art of Coaching book by Elena Aguilar. This is my sixth year as a coach, and I believe that this is the first year where I am actively not taking on others’ burdens. As a coach, helping is our game, but the key to coaching is helping others find their own ways – not giving them answers (which may or may not be helpful in their situation). I will check out this Coaching Accreditation Program.

    • Hi Kenny, Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I’m glad you reminded me of Elena Aguilar. I’ve read some of her blogs and always found what she has to say resonated. I didn’t realise she had written a book – I’ll be looking out for that one!

  2. What an interesting journey you have had! Kudos to you for seeking out your own learning about coaching and for continuing to evolve as a person and a coach! This work can be challenging and rewarding. Thank you for participating in the #educoach challenge!

    • Hi Amy, thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my blog. I really appreciate it. I’m enjoying the #educoach challenge, its a great way to connect with other coaches and learn their stories.

  3. A lovely introductory post, Corinne. I think it’s great that #educoach is what sparked your interest in coaching! The power of a model PLN. I can certainly relate to what you say about coaching as a way of being and the immersion experience of doing the GCI CAP training. As you say, this “way of being” has a profound effect on our own outlook on our roles and even on our lives. Looking forward to reading about the next part of your journey. Thanks.

    • Hi Chris, I’m glad you liked the post. Thank you for reading and sharing it, and I’m glad you can relate to my experience. I’m looking forward to reading your blog for the challenge as well :}

  4. I agree! To be a coach it is important to genuinely believe (down to your very core) that others (all others) have the capacity to grow, learn, and find their own solutions. A fixer is only valuable while they are there to do the “fixing.” If a coach is doing his or her job, then the positive growth continues long after they are gone.

    It is awesome that you were inspired by the #educoach chat to become a coach! You clearly have the mindset for the role.

    🙂
    Amy

    • Hi Amy, Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my blog, and for your very encouraging feedback about having a coach’s mindset. I really like what you said here about believing down to your very core that all others have the capacity, and growth continuing long after the coach has gone. That’s an inspiring thought!

  5. Corinne,

    Thanks for not only taking part in the #educoach blogging challenge, but more importantly spreading the #educoach love with #educoachOZ.

    I loved your post and hearing of your coaching journey. You raise such an important point in learning that coaching isn’t about fixing others it is about walking with them and empowering them!

    I look forward learning more of your journey!

    @kathyperret

    • Hi Kathy, thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I’m so glad that you for started this challenge. It’s pushed me to reflect more on my coaching journey and is a great way to connect with other coach bloggers from around the world.

      • You are welcome, Corinne. The #educoach blog challenge grew out of one of our chats. So many #educoach friends are responsible for the idea!

        Yes, I love that the blog challenge is connecting coaches around the world. That was a dream of mine as #educoach started … and now look at us & #educoachOC. A long standing dream of mine is to visit Australia. Being connected to so many coaches in your part of the globe may help that dream become a reality!

        Kathy

  6. Thanks for your ideas and thoughts. I sometimes feel bad at the end of the day, because I haven’t solved all of my teacher’s problems. However, I know that it isn’t my job to solve the problems, but to support and help them find their own solution; one that works for them. This is a much more satisfying feeling.

  7. Hi Corinne and others. Absolutely: coaching is a way of being and a constant becoming. It is transformative for the coach, as well as perhaps for the coachee.

    I agree with you that, as Amy puts it, coaches need to “genuinely believe (down to their very core) that others (all others) have the capacity to grow, learn, and find their own solutions”. That is, for me, one of the most important things about being a coach: empowering people to recognise, access and build their internal capacity, which in turn builds organisational learning culture.

    Such exciting work!

    Deb

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