Student Reflections.

How I am is How I Coach?

One of the things I often get asked is: ‘Why are you doing your coaching qualification and why now?’ Many of those around me know that I have coached others in the past and get immense enjoyment from it. The one thing that has held me back from actively promoting myself to others, was confidence.

For quite some time I have described myself as an experienced coach rather than qualified and this has served me well. It has given me a base level of confidence to talk to clients and support them in their areas of need. But I always knew that something was missing – the formal recognition of being a coach. When the opportunity came along to undertake the practitioner in coaching through Sandown Business School, I knew that this programme was purposefully presenting itself and one for which I needed to take seriously. They say timing is everything and I knew post-pandemic, it was time for me to take the decision-making lead in my life again, starting with this self-investment. During this programme, I sometimes looked back and asked myself, why did I choose not to become qualified in the past? Was it because of the money, the time commitment, the pressure or the self-importance of thinking I was above any need for formal learning. Perhaps it was a blend of all of these.

The truth is, I was denying myself the opportunity to grow and flourish like I expect my clients to. I was not giving myself the full potential of discovering what I had to offer and ultimately, the clients I serve.

By embarking on this programme, I began to get a full understanding of how my lack of coaching confidence had been holding me back. The need to achieve certification in this process also played a part in my levels of confidence.

In other areas of my professional life however, I was making good progress. My learning and development career has been a big part of my identity and has supported me well when coaching clients. Many of the questioning techniques that support group learning and facilitation sessions have helped me understand my clients, including methods such as NLP.

Throughout the programme, I have learned more about how my values connect to my style of coaching. I have always held clear principles of doing the right thing and helping others that are willing, ready and able to receive help, by offering it in the way it is intended.

Some of my strongest values that have presented themselves during the coaching diploma are honesty, courage, trust, appreciation, kindness and equanimity. It is these values that help define who I am and how I coach my clients.

I have also been aware of the challenges that I have encountered during the programme and where some of these values have been tested.

I found the commitment of the coaching diploma quite demanding on my time, only to realise that my time management skills were in need of refocusing. By being more aware of how I manage time, I have become more honest with myself about my approach to formal learning.

I am almost a test for myself as someone who did not perform highly at school. I wanted to understand how my courage could carry me forward with determination and focus to complete the programme. I’ve realised that I often find myself triggered at the thought of having to complete tasks by a specific deadline, like school.

For most of my formal years in education, I did not have a great relationship with my teachers. I felt misunderstood which hampered my ability to trust and unlock any potential within. My borderline average
results reflected this. Thankfully there were one or two teachers that were able to inspire and motivate by unlocking the learning in ways others could not. More importantly I had two extremely loving and nurturing parents who always believed in me and promoted the sense of direction I wanted, regardless of my academic

I suppose it is these formative years that have subconsciously moved me into a career within the helping profession: One which allows others to open new pathways in themselves, like the moments of clarity I got with an engaged teacher or loving parent.

I am at my best when I am offering kindness and support to others, which is received with a
level of appreciation. Nothing inspires me more than seeing the unlocking of new ideas, beliefs and courage within others that translates into flourishing success stories. It is these moments that give me courage and reassurance when I hear my own directional self-doubt or limiting beliefs.

It is these values that when aligned, provide me with a sense of purpose and control that supports confidence and wellbeing, which in turn, unlocks the potential in me to help my clients in new ways.

It is for those reasons that I am incredibly motivated to complete the programme with renewed confidence and to prove to myself that I have the focus and discipline required to apply myself successfully.

Who I am as a coach will undoubtedly evolve over time. I may not be at the start of my journey, but I am certainly at a new beginning. This is the beauty of continuous professional development and by knowing yourself, supports all clients to lead happy, fulfilled and successful lives.

By Richard Elsey, Alumni – Sandown Business School

Practitioner Diploma in Coaching with Science, Artistry and Systems.


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