So I know I only wrote yesterday and no one is probably reading this anyway but I have also decided to use this new blog as a way of reminding myself that I am actually doing stuff to move things forward.

So since yesterday’s ramblings I have actually put my money where my mouth is and started to try to reach the small goals I set myself as a result of the coaching sessions we had during the first part of the course with our coursemates  …. well done P, K, H, and others as it seems you were quite good!


Anyhow so I have (since yesterday) arranged coaching with one person I know and I know it is a challenge to myself as she is a tough and very down at the moment cookie….. but I WILL help her to help herself (though obviously I will not help her in a fixing way as that is not allowed).

I have also offered four hours of free coaching support to one of our members and have written this up … yey me!

Similarly on the motivating myself to sort out the two events I have coming up, one for my organisation (which is a huge deal and will be massive and useful for artists but which I can’t start work on until the 2nd June); and one for the AUE of which I represent in the South, I am moving on very well.  Speaker confirmed, times tied down as there was some flip flop between myself and others on this and




I have also sorted out all I can with our new space and now it is with their legal department and I had been putting this off all weekend as it stressed me but I have done it.


Yes I am in a self-congratulatory mood but I am quite proud of myself right now


…..And so it was on a Wednesday morning that I found myself full of trepidation, wondering what the hell I had done, driving into the Dukes Arts Centre.  A very surreal experience for me as I lived in Lancaster for a short time 18 years ago when I attended Lancaster Uni before I thought I could fly, fractured my leg, got stalked and had a bit of a breakdown… back then my plan was to save the world but I gave it up in the name of art…. maybe I still want to save the world if I’m honest… anyway that is another story….

Back to this one…

Although I was nervous this did not last long, the relaxed atmosphere in the room soon put me at ease.  I find my wheelchair incredibly uncomfortable if  sat still for too long and so asked if I could sit on the floor, no one minded and I was kindly handed a cushion ripped off a sofa to perch on … I like to think it made me look like the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland.

As we only have 8 full days of training  (plus coaching practice in between) and accreditation the course is very intense and as you are dealing, in some cases with such big emotions (no one makes you talk about a huge problem but I thought why not, in for a penny…), this translates into major exhaustion.

The course is split into learning sessions and coaching practice so that you can implement the skills you have just been learning about.  The first coaching skill you learn is “reflecting” something that I have to admit I really struggle with at the moment unless I attach a question to it.

There are certain things you should and should not do in coaching.  The main focus is around what is called “Active Listening”.  I am quite happy to do this as it is something I have been learning through the Action Learning Set I am a part of for a different thing.

What is Active Listening? I hear you ask via the voices in my head. Well it is essentially listening without prejudice.  There is no judgement and, very difficult for me and some of the others on the course, there is no self – you have to be completely impartial and not try to solve the problems of those who come to you.  Your job instead is to be a mirror and a sounding boards, providing them the space to find their own solutions.

To carry on with what you should and shouldn’t do, another one which I struggle with is that you should not, unless you have a genuine rapport with the person, nod to what you are hearing.  The reason for this is that if on occasion you do not nod, then the coachee may wonder why and feel judged.  I am a nodding dog in human form and so I am finding this very hard.  It is my natural instinct to nod when I am listening, not blindly but actively and at present I find the more I try to suppress it, the more crazed I probably look.

A key component of the course is to improve your leadership skills and to gain a greater understanding of yourself… and so there are elements you are taught that are not typical (we have been told) of a coaching course.  Things covered include the old chestnut that is Maslow and his Hierarchy of Needs and their preferred version of this which I think (it is in the manual) is the ERG Theory of Motivation.  There is also a lot of stuff on Marshall Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication,  of which there are some elements I have an issue, that being that in certain circumstances I do not think people’s actions are due to a need and much more.


So how do I feel a couple of days after returning home.  It may sound a bit ridiculous to say but I do feel I am actually really learning from the course already.  I have already started to re-frame how I think about things and how I interpret the actions of others.  I am also working on how I can start to re-frame my limiting beliefs and become more aware of these things as simply beliefs that are holding me back; they are not truth, although they can become their own truth (self-sabotage).

So what now, well before the next session I have two coaching sessions and coachee sessions with the person from the course I have been paired with.  I also have a session set up with someone I know and I am going to offer coaching to one lucky person from our membership.  I also have plans to begin the process required to establish an Action Learning Set for artists as soon as our new space is open.

I have also begun to make a move on realising the realisations that dawned on me during my coaching sessions last week… so at present all is going well


So this week has seen the first module of our A-N/RD1st coaching program.  It has been a bloody knackering week to put it bluntly.  Thanks in part to my husband forgetting to book the hotel we had to stay in before the end of May (long story), and so it was that on Sunday I found myself driving up to Bournemouth to drop off my daughter and lab at my mother-in-laws with my other half.  Spending two nights in a lovely hotel in the heart of the New Forest miles from anywhere but with a lovely pool, and then returning to Bournemouth on Tuesday to collect my daughter, driving home, helping my other half clean out the animals, picking up my son and then the four of us, plus the cat, getting in the car again to drive up to Lancaster.

For those of you who don’t know, Lancaster is a looooong way from Southern most Hampshire, in fact, it is a bloody long way.  Especially when you factor in loo stops, arguing children, auty boy (my son) constantly hitting me and the cat panting and as my daughter pointed out, “foaming at the mouth” constantly as he does not like cars.

Anyhow I digress.  So after leaving the first hotel at 8:30am on Tuesday, we arrived at the next one at 7ish.  I have realised that opting to stay in a motel at a services is actually full of positives: free parking, green space outside, and most importantly for our needs that night, a cafe and an M&S Food which meant I had a healthy breakfast for the next morning.

Needless to say the cat was happy at arriving as it meant he could eat and drink.  However this was soon tempered by his all too fast realisation that this warm, quite small room with 2 adults and 2 children crammed in was to be his new home for the foreseeable.

I understand that this has nothing to do with coaching and you probably couldn’t care less about my cat or the journey to Lancaster, but I feel that (a) I should set the scene a little and (b) I do believe this long and awkward journey could very well serve as a metaphor for my journey from self-aware but self-sabotaging artist, to coaching guru as of course that is what I will become (hopefully) in time….