9 Things I Learned My First Year as a Coach

Jan. 2nd, 2017

Although I technically only recently graduated ADDCA’s Basic program and finished training back in March, I consider myself to be a 1 year old coach. My teleclass leaders encouraged all of us to see ourselves as coaches as soon as we possibly could, even before we were “ready”. We weren't going to be coaches, we already were coaches. Here are just some of the things I've learned in that time.

1. Not everyone is ready for change

I firmly believe there is hope for every person to one day achieve the life they want. However, the truth is that, for some, that day has yet to dawn. Many, many factors go into a person being able and willing to create positive change. Timing can often be a huge one. I have found this fact assists me to have greater patience when I see those around me suffering, but not yet ready to change.

2. Unsolicited advice is useless

I wrote a whole post on this topic and every time I'm tempted and break this new rule I've made for myself I rediscover how utterly futile this behavior is.

3. Customized solutions

It is often said that everybody is different and it naturally follows that what works for one person won't work for another. This has been brought home to me over and over again as I work with clients. Things that make perfect sense to me are not meant to work for someone else. If they did, there would be no need for coaches, we co-explorers of the new and untried paths to success.

4. Don't fight your brain

So many people try and force things that simply are not the direction their brains are meant to go. One of the things I do as a coach is to assist people to look at the ways in which their brains naturally go and work with instead of against that flow.

5. Stages of ability

Even when a person is 80% whole (the assumption I was taught to make every time I meet with a client) there are levels or stages of ability that exist at any given time and in a vast range of areas. The most fantastic thing is that when a person is ready to change, it is possible to build on whatever levels they are currently on and rise higher, infinitely. We are all works in progress.

6. Legacies

I have struggled to simply function for most of my life. All the clutter associated with that pre-diagnosis fight concealed a miraculous fact from me: some people are actively working on what they will leave behind for future generations. This incredible concept stunned me when I was introduced to it late in my coach training. It is my ultimate goal to become a person like that someday.

7. Needs support productivity

I’d assumed most of my life that the things I wanted/needed (the definition was much fuzzier then) were nice bonuses of life. If I worked hard I'd earn the ability to relax and that the two came exclusively in that order. I have recently discovered that attending to needs (like play) are not only helpful for productivity but, when you have ADHD, essential. If I don't get proper sleep, play, and a number of other needs met, I am unable to be productive.

8. Follow your passion; It is not a pipe dream

Someone once told me that following what you love to make a living was nothing more than a Disney fantasy. I have a theory this belief may be unintentionally propagated by the movie industry. To make something normal it helps to include it in entertainment, however is it also communicating the idea that you can only follow your dreams if you are in a movie?

It definitely portrays the journey as shorter than it really is and sometimes as more comfortable. That montage set to Katy Perry’s Firework is actually representative of months, years, or even decades of living as no one is willing to live so you can live as no one is able to live.

I have come to know that this is not a fantasy, at least not for me.

9. The client does the work

If you had asked me a year ago who, in the coaching partnership, did the work, I'm not sure what I would have answered. I know the answer now, however. In the style of coaching I was taught, the coach doing the work for the client is as useful as a personal trainer hopping on a treadmill in the hopes that their client will lose weight. To be successful, the client does the work, both in sessions and between, and I am simply a facilitator.

What a fascinating journey 2016 was for me as a coach. I can't wait to find out what new revelations 2017 holds for me.

What did 2016 help you learn?