It was a day in January, I was looking for an old email from a head hunter with whom I had done a little coaching path, in the email I was asking her about a school that could offer NLP courses. That email was … two years old, I blamed the pandemic. But the truth is that at that time I wasn’t ready. I didn’t have the coach’s seed yet inside me.
I read that email and I told myself “come on, let’s try again”. I was not so sure though. I recall I was thinking: “You’ll see, as usual, the spark will last a couple of hours and then it will be gone.”
But here I am, 5 months later, in the midst of a coach training journey that has turned out to be a transformational experience for me! I want to say to myself: ‘Well done, Francesco!’. And I’ll start from the very beginning.
I didn’t know anything about coaching, about ICF, about coach training courses and certifications. I didn’t know anyone in this field. So I started doing something I never do. I asked, I called and contacted coaches and coach training organizations, I asked questions and I talked to many people.
Wow! It seemed to I was really interested in this thing called “coaching”.
Finally, I found Cristina Campofreddo (MCC, Founder and Director of Education at SunLight Academy) who welcomed me with a smile. I could perceive the energy of the smile even on the phone, she listened to me,she asked me questions and she won me over. Easy to understand now that I know she is an Master Certified Coach! She really embody a coaching mindset, that she applies in her life and our conversation.
Cristina is flexible, right what I needed at that time, with her I feel welcomed so I cut to the chase and I decided to start my training journey. What a fool! I didn’t really grasped yet anything, nothing, nada.
There are times when you feel you want to take a path and you throw yourself into it, even if you don’t know exactly where you are going and where you will arrive, but you understand that it is the right thing for you to do.
Right from the start I felt that it was my place and almost immediately I discovered an infinity of things that I was unaware of.
I discovered that coaching is actually very easy to “study”, I found out that that there is a Code of Ethics and specific competencies defined by the ICF (International Coaching Federation), but that if you are not in the right mood they may seem trivial, things you have already heard, nothing special.
But the great thing is that I am in the right mood and so, on my first Monday seminar session, I do something I’ve never done before. I take notes. I note the sentences that illuminate my face and mind. I don’t remember the last time I did this. Probably never.
It is more than a clue that I am on the right path!
Here I want to summarize my transformation and the main aspects that I am experiencing. Because the most special thing about the whole process is that before becoming a coach, I am in the process to becoming a different better person, someone who is able to work and improve all my negative aspects… I am joking, I meant ‘areas of development’. Words counts when you are a coach!
Feed yourself with trust
Written by a suspicious person like I am, I’d say that this sentence represents a big achievement for me.
I’ve always trusted my mentor Cristina, but it was when I decided to stop doubting about the little things that things changed in my life. Trust is about trusting coaching, the process that unfolds in a coaching session, trust my client, trust the uncertainty and the unknown.
It is about trusting others without judgment, asking questions out of pure curiosity and authenticity, and all this lies in the ability to wait for something good to happen. The result of this is a great peace of mind, a skill I have always been very poor of.
I have chosen to trust in me, in what I can do and what I can learn. Especially in who I am!
There have been some key episodes and in some cases even key people who have helped me with their patience, peace of mind and smiles. And this brings me to the second point: the others.
Smile at people
My mentor Cristina once said a sentence that sounds like: “Today we give and tomorrow we receive”. When I heard it at that time I considered it a somewhat cliché phrase, but then over time and through the collaborative work with the SunLight community, I became aware of the truth in that sentence. And the truth is not that today you give something to others because then they will do the same with you.
The truth is that you do it because it makes you feel good and because you know that sooner or later everything will come back in abundance from the Universe. This is about trust, about gratefulness.
I know this is an idea I still have to fully integrate in me. It is process, and I am willing to allow this process to unfold.
Ok, today I’ll help you, tomorrow we’ll see. And I am not talking about helping others when it is easy for us or we like to do it, on the contrary it is about doing it when perhaps we would like to do something else or do not feel like it. Why? In our special unique SunLight Community, because we are a team, a community of like-minded coaches and we grow by helping each other.
I am a moderately self-confident person and I almost never tend to misjudge myself or blame myself. But I tend to be negative, to see the dark side of my performance, to always say that something is missing. The spirit and the desire are the right ones, or the desire to grow and do better, but the way I choose to see thongs does not help.
Also in this case, my new awareness all stems from a cue from my mentor Cristina who told me: “Every time you complete a coaching session ask your clients one thing they liked about their experience with you as a coach”. I raised my eyebrows and thought: “Ok, and what if the client finds ten negative ones?.”
As a good disciple I tried and by chance (or maybe it wasn’t by chance?) I did it for the first time after what I believed it was a terrible session, and guess what? There was something good there, something to begin with, something that I didn’t noticed.
The truth is that there is always something good in you, and there is no reason to judge yourself badly, it will only make you feel worse.
Don’t judge yourself
This might sounds like the previous paragraph, but there is something new here that I want to share about my learning in my coach training journey.
Not judging yourself means not reproaching yourself when you think you have made a mistake.
Sometimes it means that you have not performed like you wanted, that you have not reached the desired goal.
In this case, there is only one thing to do: give yourself a break, deal with who you are, with the situation you are experiencing in the moment. Take care of yourself, be compassionate and you will immediately feel better. It will be something you will apply next time you need it. For me it was one of the most incredible discoveries. The way I feel when I support myself is fantastic and it helps me to better live the present moment and look at the future with different lenses.
Live in the present moment
This is my new mantra.
I say that so many times that if affects also the people close to me – my family, my friends. For an anxious person like I am this has been a cure-all, indeed a revolution. I’m not saying I’m a stoic now, but I’m working on it.
Ruminating on the past and getting anxious about things that could or will happen doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t help, I actually limits your life. Living in the present moment and taking care of the things you can control is an empowering goal, which gives you peace of mind and confidence.
Even when I wrote this paragraph and writing about this topic, I did it with a light heart.
Perhaps this is the most important lesson I have learned, and that in fact I am still learning.
The litote does not exist
The litote is a figure of speech featuring a phrase that utilizes negative wording or terms to express a positive assertion or statement. Litotes is a common literary device, most often used in speech, rhetoric, and nonfiction.
As coaches we partner with our clients to allow to define their goals with a positive affirmation.
When someone ‘does not want anymore to procrastinate’ we partner by offering questions that allows the clients to say what they want (it could be ‘to complete my tasks in time’ or ‘to address the things I want to complete’).
So how can we become masters in reversing negativity into positivity?
A key question I often use in my coaching sessions with clients: ‘if you don’t want to feel … how do you want to feel?’
We express our thoughts through our language, we shape and create our world with the words we choose to use. That is why awareness around the language we use is an essential part of a conscious way of living our life.
As a coach I am practicing to express my thoughts and my opinion in a positive way: this is a gigantic challenge that I am facing! At the same time, the impact of this attitude in my life is transformative and revolutionary.
It’s getting late, I have to board my flight back home. I will have the chance to reflect on what I just wrote and shared with you here and about how many steps forward I have made in these last five 5 months of coach training.
Bravo Francesco, keep it up! This is the best way I choose … to close this “session”.
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