For those of you wanting a truly inspirational and motivating experience your answer lies in attending a weekend at a genuinely free event: The Coaching Academy Weekend.
We humans are complex, multi-layered beings with many different skills and aspirations. Maybe you know who you are and what you want from life in the next few years, or you might think you’re pretty clueless! Either way, by following skilful guidance of proven coaching techniques we were encouraged to work through our thoughts in a logical manner to identify not only our true goals but also initial steps towards the next rung of the ladder- yes we did touch on a smidgen of psychological theory including the four steps of the learning ladder and Tannenbaum & Schmidt’s 1973 model of leadership behaviour!
Course manager Beth Fox was around all weekend, chatting with people and playing her part as required. Renowned coach Ann Skidmore introduced the two day timetable. Ann has been described as inspirational, enthusiastic, energetic, warm and funny- which I will happily testify to as these personal qualities were evident in her passionate approach and ability to instantly enable a large group of strangers to relax quickly into the programme. Ann clearly explained the differences between coaching, mentoring, counselling and therapists, emphasising that coaches are facilitators who are experienced at using different techniques which allow people to think for themselves, ‘a catalyst,’ as one attendee wrote in his definition. We were provided with workbooks and we learnt through examples of personal experiences, tuition, video, games and a series of useful exercises. The other trainers this weekend were Adrian Webb, specializing in retail and small business development and Pam Lidford who enjoys a passion for changing limiting beliefs and is a Master NLP Practitioner. It is worth noting The Coaching Academy offers a whole range of courses including NLP and supplementary specialist training days with some bursaries available. (Brochure)
We were taught specifically about The Grow Model (goals, reality, options, will/way forwards) as an introductory model using counselling techniques, and The Wheel of Life- which we started working on in relation to ourselves by identifying areas of life, how we rated them and what we wanted to achieve- health, wealth, family, leisure etc. We quickly learnt that one of the greatest disciplines a counsellor needs is to refrain from giving suggestions and opinions- which we all found difficult initially as we’re all used to giving advice- remember, we have two ears and one mouth as Adrian pointed out!
The session on limiting beliefs was very interesting as we all have barriers and are inclined to listen to others rather than following our Gut Instincts (Link), often when pursuing our own dreams. Obviously fear of failure contributes to stunted personal progress as does the inability to set and work towards measured goals.
For me, the weekend proved valuable and I have decided I would like to add Small Business Coaching to my existing Life Coaching Certificate commencing next year- no I’m not procrastinating! If you love working with people or even would like to undertake a little personal development, I would definitely recommend this course as a great starting point.
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