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  • Mathew van Beek

'Who I am' as a Coach

My journey as a Creative Solutions NLP Coach has provided me with many learning experiences during 2016. We are, as John Whitmore has suggested, like ‘acorns’ – full of latent possibilities – but we need the right encouragement, light and nourishment to become magnificent oak trees. My job as a Creative Change Coach is to enable my coachees to see & experience this for themselves.

At the centre of my personal coaching philosophy lies a core belief; everyone has the potential to realise and process their own expectations given the right framework for productive thinking and action i.e. People are amazing! One coachee in particular had been so undermined by a bullying culture at work that she couldn’t see, feel or believe in her many strengths and resources. Once she had engaged in successful NLP re-frames, her debilitating sense of helplessness was replaced by a confident understanding of her own ability to take control of her personal and professional development. It has been interesting to note that at least 60% of my coachees are being sabotaged by crippling limiting assumptions of one sort or another. To transform these toxic thoughts is not easy. It requires a positive mental re-routing of the neural pathways in the form of new liberating beliefs and values to allow the potential of ‘who I really am’ to emerge. Focusing on the problem just doesn't work. It only succeeds in embedding toxic thinking or behaviour more deeply.

Too many people see themselves (and are seen by others) in terms of their past performance, not their future potential. This results in insecurity, a lack of confidence, compromised self-belief and frustration both with themselves and their circumstances. Building my coachees self-belief using a combination of positive psychology and an Appreciative Inquiry approach has increasingly been the bedrock of my coaching. Sometimes it is coachees with the greatest outward abilities who find it most difficult to discover what happiness means for them. Once they have gained insights during the coaching sessions into who they are and what they are meant to be doing (and why), the transformation in their self-esteem has been remarkable.

The learning journey has certainly been exciting. What a relief it is to go into every coaching situation (whether formal or simply as part of the conversations held during a working day) knowing that there are no right answers, just honest ones. The release from the straight-jacket of needing to find the right answer has affected the way I ask questions and give answers to students in my ‘other’ role in the classroom. The responses I give now seek to draw out the student's learning rather than to convey mine.

My coaching philosophy has also had a positive impact on conversations I’ve had with many of my colleagues where listening ‘deeply’ to what they are saying (verbally and through body language) has liberated them to think much more productively – they have loved their experience of a ‘Thinking Environment in action’.

One of the most important aspects of my current work as a Coach is to encourage self-efficacy in my coachees. So often clients have come to a session feeling they don’t have choices but have left knowing that they do have the strengths and necessary resources [or know what to do to get them] enabling them to make choices which are right for them. I see myself as a strengths facilitator and an awareness raiser. This is who I am as a Coach.

The learning journey continues!

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