Life coaching came to me late in life. A couple of years ago, I attended a meeting where a coach was the guest speaker. She did a couple of ten-minute sample sessions, asking just one question: “What do you want?” It was a powerful question, one that led me to explore coaching, not as a career, but as self-development. I already had a career I liked with a publishing company, where I thought I would be working until retirement. The Universe had different intentions, as I would find out.
I started coach training without a clear idea of why I was doing it; it just seemed right. Becoming a certified coach took over a year. I remember the first instructor saying to us, “You will be forever changed by this process.” That was true. After that first class, I knew that what my job was missing was meaning – the feeling that what I did mattered. That was an important value to me, and was not being honored in my work.
My certification coach helped me through the long training process, through the written exam and the final oral exam. Often, I wondered what in the world I was doing – this was hard work – work that went deep and challenged my beliefs about myself. “Because coaching is the gift you are meant to give” was the answer my coach gave.
Working with clients also changed me in many ways. I learned to listen – really listen to what people were saying – and what they were not saying. Sometimes a client would say they wanted change. They would create a new destination for their lives and try to get there using an old map – one that had already gotten them where they didn’t want to be. Then the “a ha” comes, when the client realizes that the old map doesn’t work and starts working on a new way to get where they need to go.
Coaching also transforms by expanding choice, working with the client to widen their vision of possibilities to include, rather than exclude. Exploring possibilities in your life is exciting work. Living your values and letting go of beliefs that no longer serve you is scary work – and it does change you forever.
Three days after I got my certification, the publishing company I worked for let eight people go due to the down economy and subsequent drop in sales. To my surprise, I was one of them. I was unemployed for the first time in my life. Walk the talk, the Universe was calling, loud and clear.
A life change happened to me, and a lost job created the space and impetus to find a new destination for my life and a new map. What I learned from coaching others and being coached myself helped me get through the self-limiting beliefs I had about being in business for myself. I adjusted my vision to include my own business and created a new map where the destination isn’t a job – it’s a calling.