I believe learning is deemed to have taken place when the teacher finds himself in the student’s shoes and vice versa. Profound learning happens when the teacher is even wearing the student’s uniform. I’m just being dramatic in explaining a meeting of minds here. That’s what happened to me last week. About three years ago it dawned on me that I need to sharpen my coaching skills because I will need them in my next calling of my life. I’ve been a business mentor for a long time now by virtue of being in enterprise all my adult life. Since I got to my halftime I started being drawn to this thing called coaching. It sounded fancy and like it would make me some money. I recall even making business cards bearing my title as startup business coach. I did some sessions there and got invited to a few business meetings to speak. I enjoyed (and still do) sharing my business journey and accumulated wisdom with the audiences.
A year ago, I signed up for my coaching certification with Coaching Development Institute (CDI) – Africa group. My main take away was learning how to package and deliver coaching professionally. And to measure the effectiveness of it. Since then I have coached several people and it has been exciting when I see folks getting breakthroughs in issues they have struggled with for a long time. This confirmed that It was the right move for me to be a coach. I am elated that today is our graduation. Sadly, it will be a virtual graduation. There are things that can never be the same online and a graduation is one of them. There are no online samosas and meatballs to enjoy. You can’t substitute the taste of a good drink with friends even if you leak the screen of your laptop. I hope my class will have a bash when these pandemic ends.
Back to Friday last week. I have just concluded another certification with the Halftime Institute. Generally, there was forward movement in most of the areas I was training on apart from one. I am aware that I have been stuck in fully exiting my business. I feel that I have done all I can and it’s just the universe that’s not cooperating. Even my requests to Sir God for a breakthrough seem to be going into his spam. Maybe that’s why He’s not responding to my pleas for help.
The certification to be a Halftime coach included an exercise called LCP coaching accelerator. Here you answer certain questions that result in some feedback. That informs short term and long-term goals that one is to make. An assigned coach then guides you to achieve your goals.
After my coaching certification training ended I felt like I did not really grasp the LCP accelerator exercise so I asked for an extra one on one session with my coach. He was a pleasant gentleman from Australia who has a Roger Whittaker look. White hair and beard. Dieter (his name) could easily pass for a country music legend.
The session was in my office as I had to run away from my baby sharks who viciously demand attention especially now that we are all at home. My homework before the session was to go through my results again from the LCP accelerator exercise and start by discussing what stood out.
Dieter has such a cool yet positively intense demeanor that made me pay attention to every word he said. He led me to a deep blind spot that I have carried for the last five years or so. When I looked at my goal alignment summary, there was a column of what I was to achieve in ninety days and in one year. Then there was the section for what is holding me back. That’s where the explosion went off. My report answered in bold – COMPLACENCY. I gazed at that word as it pierced my gut. All the while Dieter was just silently starting at me through my laptop. I was tempted to switch off my video to ease the discomfort.
I have been expressing to my board the desire to leave my business and waiting for them to show me how. Then I get frustrated because after the board meeting they all go back to their lives and forget about me. At least that’s how it feels. Dieter helped me realize by asking powerful questions, that I am waiting for my board to offer leadership yet I’m the one to lead them. I became disappointed at this point because It became clear that I have been the obstacle to my own progress. I got very uneasy when He asked me what I will do now that I have this realization. I need to set an exit date and inform my board of the same. Now that is scary because what if I haven’t fully exited by then? Do we just close the business? what if my new pursuits are not giving me enough cash to live on? And what if this bloody corona refuses to leave us?
That coaching session took me back to 2000 when I started my business. Dieter challenged me to consider applying the mindset I had then now. Desperation led to my success. According to him I’m not desperate enough now to jump ship. Hence the complacency. At this point my head was spinning and my temperature had risen. That discovery was profound.
We agreed to touch base in thirty days after I committed to a few action points. I could feel my internal resistance rising because I hate boxing events in timelines but I had to commit to it. it’s like going to the doctor’s and refusing the medicine he prescribes. You have to swallow them bitter pills if you want your health back. That was me last Friday.
Folks, coaching is a scary thing. Take it cautiously and only if you are ready to face your true and whole self and uncover stuff you’ve buried so deep you even forgot it’s there. But the results then have to be life changing especially if you follow through on the discoveries you unearth. I pray that I will accomplish my goals. I left that session feeling afraid but somehow closer to what I have desired for a long time. I’m now energized for the final push and close a chapter of my life well that has been long overdue.
That is the kind of impact I desire to have in the people I will coach. To move them from emotion to action. Especially after being granted the powers to read and write today. Congratulations to my fellow classmates. May we go forth and coach folks into the best version of themselves. So, help us God