A key component of a coaching certification program is to get coaching.
Not ‘get’ as in ‘understand’, but ‘get’ as in enrolling with a coach. Becoming the client.
There are some obvious benefits to this: learning new techniques and approaches from another coach; putting yourself into the shoes of a client; getting a better sense of the flow and arcs of individual coaching sessions and longer-form engagements; and, of course, being able to get coaching on topics of your choice.
In my coaching program we engage with two types of coach: a peer coach, and a certified coach.
A peer coach is a fellow student in our cohort. Peer coaching sessions take place each week, with each of us rotating between client and coach over a 1 hour session (so we get 30 minutes each as a client, and 30 minutes as a coach). The peer coaches rotate every 8 weeks or so, but many of us keep our previous partners and end up doing several sessions each week.
Our work with a professional coach entails a minimum of 6 sessions with a graduate of the program who is now a certified professional coach. In these sessions we’re the client, no rotation – so a full hour of being in the client’s seat.
An unexpected but delightful bonus of doing this level of work as a client (2-3 hours every week, and sometimes more), is the compound interest on my creativity.
Because coaching involves asking powerful, probing and thought-provoking questions, as a client I’ve found myself digging deep for answers. Sometimes those answers get articulated in unexpected ways – through imagery, metaphor, being able to tug on different threads that I usually wouldn’t see – let alone access.
As I listen to myself talk through a topic with my coach, ideas and concepts surface as if by magic. They could be ideas for blog posts, new ways of seeing projects, colours to use in a design, fresh models to apply, or alternative approaches to take.
Perhaps these opportunities would have appeared otherwise, but my bet is they’d stay below the surface without the coaching time to focus the mind and explore deeper.
We often think of coaching as being a practice to help us get overcome challenges. It can also be hugely effective for accessing completely new, fresh fuel.
And the inspiration for this blog post?
Where else but a coaching session.