Halfway through my first session with a coach I thought; ‘this is what I want to do’. Returning home I opened an email from a-n offering places on the RD1st coaching course along with bursaries to attend. I applied immediately and was delighted to get a place. So began my coaching journey, which in this case involved train trips to Lancaster. Lovely Lancaster and The Dukes as host venue offered a warm welcome.
The course was intense and demanding as my head filled with new terminology and ideas and we began trying out coaching techniques. Being part of a group of dynamic arts practitioners was both challenging and very supportive. Swapping roles as coach and coachee allowed us to experiment and experience both sides of the equation. The process was enriching and rewarding. I could feel my life expanding. The training enabled me to look at areas of my own life as well as taking on this new way of deep listening.
Trainers Deb Barnard and Emma Haughton were uncompromising and encouraging with a confidence in the coaching process that was infectious. Their humour and compassion gave the training heart. Over the three training periods we developed bonds as a group and a sense of solidarity and commitment to share our coaching skills in our respective areas.
Since then I have begun my coaching practice; approaching fellow artists and arts organisations and being approached by curious friends. Before each session I experience a sense of anticipation and concern to make it as good a session as possible. As the session begins, a quiet calm takes over as I commit to the listening process, to staying in the moment with the person in front of me. I am developing a trust in my intuitive and simple questions to stimulate their further thought. It is interesting to observe ones own thoughts come and go, to see the temptation to get involved in their thinking.
Trusting in this deep listening is powerful. It creates an atmosphere of trust in the person, as this listening is based on the belief that everyone is their own expert. The coaching process offers access to thinking, opening up new avenues of ideas. The forward momentum is positive and focusses on what could be done, achieved, felt and created. I have been moved and encouraged by witnessing a new understanding unfold in the coachee and a determination to take positive action as possibilities unfurl.
“Listening this way, focussing and letting go all at once, letting reverence mix with scrutiny, holding dear the source – the human mind in front of you – is to raise your arms and twirl in the sun, to be permeated with that unique purpose that is human connection at its finest.” Nancy Kline, More Time to Think.