Written by Tereza Blazejovska, a participant during the October 2018 cohort of Lea_p’s Communications and Coaching Skills for Manager course.
The facilitators Lauren and Stephen blew my mind during just two autumn days at the Communication and Coaching Skills for Managers course. It was an amazing, transformative and energizing experience.
I was convinced that after years of studying and training in Psychology, I knew myself well and knew how to talk to people. Adding in a few years of personal practice in meditation and self-reflection, I also thought I could be aware and conscious while doing it. Right?
It turned out I didn’t know myself perfectly, and had a lot to learn in terms of communications and coaching. For example, I learned I tend to put on a “counselling face” during a dialogue and automatically expect something bad during my conversations instead of focusing on something wonderful that might come. I was happy to discover these – not because I liked having them, but because now I could work on transforming them.
When learning gives you headache, your brain is growing the coaching area.
Getting your mind blown away might require inner reintegration. In this case, the reintegration made me bring my inner coach to life. Thanks to this course I could get in touch with my coaching part, which is the main condition required to go and actually coach somebody. I cannot imagine getting this kind of experience from reading a book or attending a class in a classic format.
One of the most helpful take-aways for my “inner critic” was that if I feel like I am working too hard – I am not coaching the client, but rather pushing my personal agenda or trying to fix the client.
That was a real weight off my shoulders. Coaching with non-attached approach felt so much more… fitting. To me, and more importantly to the clients.
I also learned that getting my mind blown away can give me a headache. On the first evening I went home with a pulsating brain. Yet the headache proved to be a good sign that the learning was taking place. Sitting for an hour with a cup of tea, gazing on my room’s white wall just to process it all, I discovered that I was not just learning facts, techniques or theories during the training. I learned about processes, about being in a relationship, about myself and my behavioural patterns, my beliefs and values, my own journey.
Besides trying the role of a coach, we naturally had to be coached ourselves just as many times as we coached others in the group. That meant also doing the work on the client’s side: going through our real issues, discovering new solutions and making actual commitments, developing empathy towards our clients. When I brought myself to action that night, I had so much new material, new skills to apply, techniques, experiences and new reflections. I managed to train my coaching skills that evening with two people over skype. The experience of coaching somebody outside of the class was just as impactful as the training itself. It gave me invaluable feedback and big kick of confidence.
What did I learn?
The course was challenging. Incredibly inspiring. Uplifting.
Lauren and Stephen guided us sensitively to apply everything we learnt immediately, I felt like my brain was creating new pathways moment by moment.
I felt much more connected to myself and realised how important it is to follow my intuition during coaching. I also understood some of the principal ideas behind the coaching approach. Although new to me in terms of my previous psychological training, they felt much closer to my own values.
I decided to honour my newly discovered values immediately in personal life. For the second training day, I chose a bright coloured shirt over a black one to support my fresh decision to include more joy in my life.
Joy was in fact one of my main personal learnings during the course. Besides discovering the need for living my own joy, I learned:
- What my values are. It sounds a bit strange to me even now, but I simply wasn’t aware of them before. And what is more important to know about oneself than values?
- What some of my beliefs were. Few of them were (to my great shock) quite the opposite of my values and that was just as important to realise. Luckily, beliefs are just another mental phenomenon and can be worked on, too.
- My unconscious tendencies in approaching others in a coaching situation. By bringing those to light, I got the chance to develop better ones with more awareness – towards honouring my values more as a coach and for benefiting the clients in more meaningful way.
Those things were crucial to me.
But in the moment when I was supposed to coach another person, away from the training room, I appreciated to have in hand other things I learned:
- How to run a coaching session from start to the end.
- How to talk, and how to not talk.
- How to ask and reflect in a constructive way.
- How to listen skilfully. And how to use different ways of listening on purpose.
- How to notice the situation with a client holistically.
- How to include information from client’s body, and my own body. And what to do with it.
- How to use metaphors.
- How to spot the important stuff going on in the moment, and what to do next.
I also learned about the art of presence, something going beyond the personal level and the how-to skills about bringing mind to here and now, about relaxing in the moment, and about resting in my intuition. Because, contrary to what we mostly learn from our society today, following intuition is often enough.
We met in a safe coaching space, and I went through several very impactful mini-journeys during the course. I remember that one of the most influential experiences I took away with me can be described as the following: “It feels amazing to be on the top of the world.”
Now I also have some complex tools and a good approach for taking others on the same journey of hiking their own mountains and worlds, inner and outer.
Lauren, Stephen, and the amazing course group reflected to me so much about myself that it opened a new chapter for me, both professionally and in my personal life.
Get in touch to enrol onto the Communications and Coaching Skills for Managers course. For more information, see the flyer here.