In 2017, 14 participants took the Relational Dynamics 1st (RD1st) Introductory Coaching Course, as part of a collaboration between Diverse City and Clore Leadership Programme. 2 participants were selected to progress with RD1st to complete the full course. Jo Paul and Hannah Treadway qualified as Coaches in December 2017 and are now keen to utilise their new skills in a range of artistic contexts – in their own practice, in arts organisations and 1-to-1 sessions.
Jo shares her account of the course and professional opportunities ahead.
Newly qualified coach, Jo Paul
Coaching Training Diary
Arrival, big circle, new faces, mostly women.
The trainer reflected the things we said in a pure empathetic fashion with ease. We were asked to do the same, it seemed unnatural, contrived even at first. Though I knew the power of true listening and its effect on the person speaking, it took practice to reply so purely with reflection.
We coached each other through the 3 days, the practice sessions were well needed.
[sliding_content] The people in the group were friendly and warm. All there to listen and learn, all there I think to change something.[/sliding_content]
We wrote about ourselves as if being introduced aged 101 about to accept a lifetime achievement award. I loved to hear the ambitions and desires of others, and apparently in my lifetime I advise all sorts about human connection through art in the age of technology, even the government!
We learnt techniques and models. Open questions, closed questions, the difference and their effects. Practicing. It was amazing to have little coaching sessions throughout the three days, and a privilege to practice the coaching style with other participants and hear their stories.
There were moments in the three days that were very moving.
This month we were no longer strangers. And the warmth and support from both the tutors and delegates was palpable. Ease and humour crept in increasingly by the day. I felt happy to see everyone again and tune back into the group and the coaching style.
The exercises were varied over the three days, one where as coaches we were required to be as clean as possible, ie. no nodding or saying ‘mmm’ all the time, it was extreme but because of it, very useful in order to become aware of oneself and ones reactions and how they may interact with or influence the coachee.
The exercises also brought in more options of where you could take sessions, some were NLP based so linked to my previous knowledge, I valued being able to combine past and new learnings. It helped me to feel a little more confident in the coaching format.
I talked with the trainer about hypnotherapy and how sometimes clients come to their first session expecting magic and that though I explain that isn’t going to happen and how the sessions will work, perhaps some of those expectations had rubbed off on me so I expected myself to do magic sometimes and not the client/coachee. The awareness and conversation around this was helpful (combined with the previous exercise mentioned) and I began learning to ‘remove myself’ from the dynamic.
Another learning that unfolded as I experienced several times of being coachee, was the effectiveness of ‘tiny steps’ – not just small steps. If one commits to tiny steps it usually means they are achievable, which leads to a growing trust in the self and decisions and therefore increased self confidence. Tiny steps are less threatening, easy to achieve, and lead to growth that can continue in an upward spiral. For me, some of the steps I had previously been setting myself were to big or too boring or both and it didn’t surprise me when I didn’t do them.
A group dinner later led to a giggly plot of a Christmas cabaret at the end of the training after our assessments next month.
After the bonded group cohesion of last month it was a pleasure to see everyone that was there, (three couldn’t make it and were missed). We seemed to share the nervous energy regarding our assessments, the tiredness of the season – it being almost Christmas, the excitement of new learnings and the joy of new friendships.
The learnings of the day before assessment were lapped up and the chance to practice gratefully taken, though we were all running out of things to bring as coachees.
For me the morning of the assessment, everything that could go wrong did go wrong, insomnia leading to the inevitable over sleep in the morning, so no last minute revision, no time for meditation, a headache, falling over in the street on my way – bad enough but it was in front of a whole classroom of schoolchildren on their way to panto – their two concerned teachers coming running to my aid and carrying my little suitcase into the venue for me, all the while the eyes of thirty children bore into me, I tried my best to remain an adult in their eyes.
Finally in the classroom, a minute to spare before we begin, shaken up from my morning, and the kindly intuitive tutor notices my shocked face and offers me tea and time out. Gratefully received. As the morning unfolded I recovered and felt increasingly present, coached twice by beautiful people for their assessments (who passed, despite their worry). And after lunch it was suddenly my turn. I enjoyed it, though I know I made many mistakes, and it was noticeable that my practice session the previous day was more natural and flowing.
Everyone finished. And soon we knew that bar one person who needed to hand in their written work, we had all passed. Happy relieved faces.
Time for the Christmas cabaret and fizz, our gift to the tutors and the giggles, singing and laughter flowed with me all the way home on the train and through that night of a deep sleep til morning.
So, what next?
I am an artist, designer and facilitator, and have been a part time hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner/coach for 8 years. I am increasingly combining my work, bringing coaching into my art world and workshops and art and creativity into my coaching world.
In the near future I am running some hypno-coaching workshops in East London, where relaxation will be combined with visualising and co-coaching to find ways forward. I am also designing a course to work with creative block and encouraging creative space in this busy world.
As well as continuing to design and make art, I am very happy to work with people in a coaching capacity.
Jo Paul is a London based coach/ clinical hypnotherapist, she is also an artist, designer and facilitator. She comes from a design background and has an MA in Scenography from Trinity Laban Conservatoire, London.
Diverse City plan to build on this programme to inspire and train more D/deaf and disabled coaches.
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