As well as being an expat teacher, I also run a side business transforming teachers’ CVs and cover letters to get them their ideal teaching job abroad. In January 2021, I started an internationally recognised ILM Level 7 Coaching and Mentoring course because I want to add career coaching, interview coaching and career transition coaching to my services. I’m really enjoying this course and I love attending the live online workshops every two to three weeks. I am learning so much and I’ve connected with a really great group of like-minded future coaches. However, this week something happened that made me feel that I wanted to quit...
As part of this week’s workshop, we were put into Zoom rooms into groups of two and three to do a short 15-minute peer coaching session on each other. I did my session with my group and when we returned to the main Zoom workshop, we were asked to give feedback about our experiences- as the coach, the coachee (client) and the observer. A few of my classmates used words like “powerful,” “insightful” and “amazing” to describe their sessions and the coach, which is really fantastic and I was really happy for those classmates in question. But I didn’t feel that the session I had given my classmate had been insightful or powerful and as a result, I immediately felt disappointed in myself and started doubting myself and my ability as a coach. Panicked that I was never going to achieve these kind of results within these practice sessions, I mentally started composing an email in my head to the director of the course, explaining that I felt this course wasn’t for me and wondered if I could perhaps get a partial refund on the full course fee I’d already paid. I wanted to quit there and then. I felt like that was the only option/ solution for me.
Later on, when I spoke to another classmate about my reaction to the situation, he asked me some powerful questions that made me realise even though I am a confident and successful person in most areas of my life, I tend to be only when it’s within my comfort zone. I thought back to secondary school and university where I chose subjects that I was good at, rather than studying subjects that I found a little bit challenging. If I wasn’t brilliant at a subject/ lecture or if I didn’t immediately succeed at the start, then I quit it, if I could. This stems from not having a growth mindset, i.e. not accepting that it’s completely normal and expected to feel uncomfortable when I don’t master something straightaway. Instead, my initial reaction to what I perceive as failure is to quit and stop those feelings of discomfort.
The most shocking part of this is that I would NEVER EVER apply that logic to a friend or client in the same situation! I would ask questions and listen actively as they’d describe their situation/ issue, explore what contributes to this situation/ issue and elicit their options/ solutions. I would never believe that giving up and not confronting the root issue is the solution for a friend or client, yet here I was deciding that that was the only solution available to me! (Side note: How we speak to ourselves is so important and I know I need to reframe how I speak to myself sometimes.)
Upon reflection, the first step in my plan of action is that I have to start coaching myself before I can begin coaching others. This course is perfect because it encourages so much self-reflection, self-exploration and self-coaching (through extensive reading, reflective journals, live online workshops, peer-to-peer coaching sessions, and supervision) in order to be fully qualified.
I’ve decided that this is a perfect opportunity to apply the coaching techniques I’ve learned to myself and my own situation. I’m going to walk the walk so I can talk the talk!