Coach Kathy's Story
Even before starting my journey as a coach and a leader, I’ve always been somebody who loves to learn and then teach. It’s just who I am. That’s how I found myself surrounded by coloured bristol board on a January night about three years ago. I was getting ready to teach high-school students at our church and it was exam time. I knew from previous experience that we weren’t going to get too far with a real lesson and so I was searching through my resources for a Brene Brown activity to create a stress map.
Each sheet of bristol board had ideas that I’d used either in leading a women’s book study group or the kids at our church. I found myself surrounded by challenging ideas and I realized that I wasn’t living these ideas the way I wanted. Life had taken an unexpected turn the previous year and I was struggling. I’d gone from feeling that I was living a life of purpose that aligned with my values to feeling like my foundation was shaken.
I still believed in these ideas and yet, I didn’t know how to live them in my current place. I was fighting myself and trying to get back to my previous “normal” and after over a year of struggle, I was ready for a change. I can remember that night saying to my husband that I needed to find someone to help me explore these ideas and turn them into action.
The Beginning of my Coaching Journey
With some selective searching, I found someone that I thought would be a match and I knew after the first session that I’d found the right person to help me take these ideas and put them into action. Thank you Google! I started to attend regular coaching sessions. Each week, I left with my homework and would spend the time between sessions reflecting on our latest topic and putting ideas into practice. My coach got to know me and it became a real partnership.
I learned to start to take notice of my challenges and I began living these ideas that I valued. For me, one of the most significant changes was learning to be kind to myself. The night I did an activity that helped me understand how I spoke to myself in those uncomfortable moments and the impact it had on me both emotionally AND physically, was a turning point.
I learned the power of thoughts. I also discovered that small changes can have a significant impact like using the word AND instead of but. Step-by-step, I tackled ideas and then unexpected changes happened. I went from trying to get back to normal, to defining myself in a new way. I learned how two ideas that seemed to be opposing could actually live together. My view of the world started to change. Here’s an example.
When I started with Melissa, I wanted to accept some of the challenges with my back, but I was afraid that if I did that, I was giving up on getting better. It took a few sessions but I started to learn how I could have a level of acceptance AND I could still keep fighting. In fact, this thinking changed how I was reacting physically and made a significant difference in my recovery.
Paying It Forward
Now it is my turn to pass it along. We’ve introduced coaching into our workplace and I had the opportunity to lead sessions with my coach in the large company where I’m a leader. I watched others start to have those transformational moments and I knew that coaching was something I was meant to do. It’s about helping people define what excellence means to them and turning these ideas into action.