“I always struggled with my courage. I believed I wasn’t courageous. You helped me to see that that was ridiculous as I’ve done lots of brave things in my life.”
Sophie was in the second year of building her small business. We worked together for six, one-hour coaching sessions, meeting fortnightly to identify some underlying values and beliefs that were influencing her decision-making in relation to her business development.
After our work together had finished, Sophie kindly provided this endorsement (also helping her to embed key insights). Further explanation of how our sessions worked follows her words.
Why did you want to have coaching?
I started my coaching with a sense of not knowing who I was really. Having come out the other side of many years of changes, I felt I’d slightly lost myself. I wanted to explore what my values were and get a stronger sense of self.
What had you tried that wasn’t working before we had our sessions?
I had looked at lists of values but not really got anywhere with it.
Where are you now? What is different? What insight or idea made a particular difference?
I always struggled with my courage. I believed I wasn’t courageous. You helped me to see that that was ridiculous as I’ve done lots of brave things in my life, and that actually the moments when I didn’t feel brave were actually when my values of diplomacy and honesty/freedom were in conflict. You also helped me to see how my adaptability was a strength but that it could get overstretched.
What worked well for you and what could I have done differently?
You created a really lovely safe space for me to explore my thoughts openly and honestly. I’m quite a private person so this is no mean feat! You didn’t mind that I was an abstract thinker and that I sometimes went on tangents. Sometimes I could have done with gently being pulled back on topic.
What would you say to someone in your position who is considering working with me?
Hannah has a wonderful calm presence and is skilled in helping people to look at things from a different perspective. I would recommend her to anyone who wanted that time to reflect on what is holding them back from moving forwards.
How our sessions worked:
Sophie and I created agreements about how we were going to work together, giving time to this at the beginning of our coaching journey, and again at the start of each session. Each conversation topic was initiated and chosen by her, which we then unpacked and explored together. Sophie’s autonomy was central at all time.
Sophie’s role was to commit to the coaching process, self-reflect and make decisions to put insight into action to change things for the better in the areas she wanted to work on.
My role as coach was to listen, observe, and ask questions that would encourage; 1) insight and understanding and 2) strategy and action in the areas she wanted to work on.
Powerful questions: Those in the coaching profession often talk about “powerful questions.” My understanding of a power question is one that generates growth, realignment, and ultimately works towards long-term and lasting transformation of that person’s situation and outlook. Asking powerful questions is about working in partnership with them in skilled, thought-provoking dialogue towards lasting and sustainable change.
The International Coaching Federation: Every effort was made to coach in accordance with the ICF’s strong Code of Ethics, retaining all confidentiality, and in alignment with their definition of coaching:
Partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential. The process of coaching often unlocks previously untapped sources of imagination, productivity and leadership.
Closing our sessions: We closed each session by summarising key learnings and establishing next steps. We stopped working together after six sessions as this was the contracted agreement. We took time on our last sessions together to reflect over our sessions as a whole (past), consider where she was now (present) and where she was heading (future).
If you are reading this and thinking of working with me here at HM Coaching and Development, I hope this has been helping in imagining how we might work together. Please contact me if you would like to talk further. The first step is a conversation and together we will work out a plan!
* Sophie’s name has been changed
Photo credit: Michael Schofield