“Self Awareness – The ability to realistically ‘see’ ourselves and be aware of our goals, beliefs, values, drivers, ‘rules’ (our ‘oughts’ and ‘shoulds’) and our self-talk (both positive and negative- inner gremlin and inner angel!)”
(Relational Dynamic 1st Coaching Handbook, D. Barnard 2016)
Last year I was delighted to be awarded a bursary from a-n Artist Information Company, to train as a coach. At various points between September and December 2016, I would jump on the pendulum train up to Lancaster from London. Upon arrival I’d check in at the Travelodge and make my way to The Dukes Theatre to meet an extraordinary group of people embarking on an extraordinary journey.
RD 1st stands for Relational Dynamics, placing understanding of self and others at the heart of the coaching process. The principle being that it is through achieving a deeper understanding of our own emotional intelligence, drivers, beliefs and values that we become most effective as a Coach (and as a Human Being).
Training with Deb Barnard and Rivca Rubin was a profound and transformative experience. Not one of us emerged from the course the same person we started, we had begun a journey inwards; feeling safe and inspired to become very curious about those blind spots and unknown areas of the inner realm. We found you can travel very far in an open and supportive group, old habits quickly gave way to new patterns of thinking and being.
I’m now five months into my new existence as a Creative Coach. So what’s different? What’s new?
Lots of things are new! I spend far more time in the exciting zone of possibility than ever before. I enjoy the variety of coaching in different ways, in different places, with different people.
One new role is supporting Btech art and design students at Tower Hamlets College. I wrote my coaching discourse on the potential of coaching as a support for young people in educational settings. I feel strongly that the most important way to support the younger generation to be prepared for the unknown future that lies ahead, is to encourage self-reflective questioning. In my opinion this is the best way of connecting with what is unique about you and your experience and that in this competitive time; self knowledge is priceless.
I’m also coaching different artists in my local community, Hackney Wick, London. I recently attended the exhibition of one of the artists I’ve been working with and it was a brilliant experience to see the ideas in our conversations realised to such a magnificent degree!
I’m delighted to be coaching some individual MA students from Goldsmith University and also to be offering coaching support to young women 14-19 in Tower Hamlets as part of my role at Dream Of Life C.I.C.
There is so much I could talk about, one thing I want to share today; is an observation that spans across all these different conversations. The observation is about the key ingredients needed for change. Exploring the question: How does an idea become reality?
In my experience during a coaching conversation an important seed is planted containing the blueprint of how to progress an idea forward. However the seed is not our idea alone, it also crucially contains our will, our determination and our commitment. The seed once planted, needs water, in this case the water is action, for nothing happens without the grace and flow of action.
‘Fiery Will and the Grace of Action’ an unstoppable combination, that can and does thrive even in the most challenging of circumstances.
We can cultivate our will to succeed by stripping back and getting really present to what is important about our goal. We can invoke the flow of action by visualing the path towards achieving our goal. Sometimes the most effective approach is working backwards until we can locate the very first step of action.
This might sound obvious, but often the first step is overlooked, I think because it’s often a tiny mundane step that can sometimes feel like a galaxy away from the final idea. Yet it is the first step none the less that leads to the second step and to the third and all the way to fruition.
A coaching conversation will help you to identify a chain of action, and this is when it begins, when the action has a coordinate, and the first step has been pinned into time and space; an agreement, an accountable arrangement. From that first moment, things move, things change, it make things real. It makes things happen. It makes thing grow. Sometimes effortlessly.
For artists the stakes are getting higher and higher, we feel pressure from every angle and especially financial pressure. It can feel harder to take risks and harder to act on some of the more challenging ideas. Yet often the idea with inbuilt risk is the idea we feel called to.
If you know there is an idea that only you can bring to life. I urge you to give yourself the gift of a coaching conversation.
If it was easy to transform our ideas into reality the world would be a very different place. Working with a coach can make a huge difference. Coaching totally accelerated me onto the path I wanted to be. It was incredible powerful to hear my voice create solutions as new thoughts and new perspectives collided. If you take the step to book a coaching conversation you will hear a powerful voice of resolve, of resourceful problem solving and the voice of leadership.
And it all comes from you!
To me a coaching conversation is a dialogue with your best Self. For an artist I think this is an absolutely crucial opportunity. It can be very tricky sharing unformed ideas with friends, colleagues, other artists, partners and so on. Even when that person is 100% committed to supporting you they are still another human with a whole bunch of alternative perspectives, values and experience.
They might whole-heartedly want to help you but the fact is that they simply are not you and therefor they can only guess and interpret what you are saying and what are you thinking. Even with the best of intentions the potential for misunderstanding is huge and sometimes the reality is that, consciously or unconsciously, not everyone is able to support 100%. People can only believe in you, to the extent they believe in themselves. With this in mind as artists we can be incredibly vulnerable as we tentatively put forward a new idea, or a new strategy. In my opinion there is one person and one person only who knows best how to nurture your ideas into fruition and that person is you.
This is what I love about coaching it is a completely clean process. As a coach I am completely neutral, I do not give advice, I do not lead or advise, I simply actively listen without analysis or judgement.
Although, yes, coaching is a collaborative process, a coaching partnership will take you far further than you could ever imagine by yourself but the focus is completely on you, as a coach my thoughts, feelings, expertise don’t come into it all. My job as coach is to ask the right questions at the right time; these questions act as a mirror to you, the coachee- ‘the one who knows.’ The right question will land beyond your everyday thinking into a space of all possibility, and here hidden and unexpected solutions can be found.
The answers are always within ourselves. I believe there is nothing that cannot be significantly progressed through a coaching conversation. Often we can’t reach the gold of our own insight because we are stuck in habitual thinking patterns. Coaching transcends these limitations by dialoguing with the ‘you’ that has access to all the resources they need, and the ‘you’ that has all the confidence that is required to achieve the goal. It perhaps sounds a bit unlikely; I certainly did not understand what was available through coaching until I had experienced the outcomes of coaching for myself. The simple truth is that the best coach in the world for you is YOU!