One of the side benefits of taking a coach training program is that you get coached all the time. We have class for 7 hours a week, and we practice-coach each other constantly during those classes – trying out different tools and techniques. Half the time you get the opportunity to practice your coaching skills, but half the time you get the gift of being coached.
Last September during one of my classes, we were learning about a technique that can help our clients get started on achieving a goal. When it was my turn to be coached, I chose a goal that I thought was pretty far-fetched – hosting my own weekend yoga retreat.
Hosting my own retreats was one of my first motivations in becoming a yoga teacher and a coach. I’d attended a retreat in 2015 where the leader was disappointing, and I knew I could do it better. But I needed to learn some skills before I could get there. Fast-forward to September 2017. I’d completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training, and I was partway through my coach training. I was still dreaming of hosting retreats, but I now knew more about the challenges of hosting events. My head and my heart were having an argument about the wisdom of stepping into a project where failure was a definite possibility.
My classmate began coaching me using the method we were practicing that day. This method starts with asking the client to visualize a dream or goal. This first part doesn’t require any reality or logistics, it just asks the client to dream. That part was easy for me! I dreamed of hosting a weekend event where a group of women would relax, have fun, and come away with a nugget of learning or inspiration.
The second part of the coaching tool is logistics. How can you as the client make this dream a reality? This really helped me because I started to think in concrete terms. Where would I host the retreat? What time of year? Who would be my ideal participant? This middle part of the exercise started to make me feel like the dream was possible. I wanted to start researching retreat centres right then and there!
The final part of the coaching exercise is the reality check. The coach asks the client to picture either a wise advisor or a critic. This is where the brain really gets to say it’s piece. As the client, you think of all the ways the dream may not come true, the barriers you will face, and the possible problems. You also brainstorm ways to overcome or avoid these issues.
By the time my partner was done coaching me, I was vibrating with excitement. I was going to host a retreat! The 30-minute coaching session had helped me create the vision, the practical details, and the possible problems. I was able to see where I had to put the most effort to make the dream a reality. It was amazing to me that such a short conversation could have such a big effect.
I wanted to become a coach because I knew from experience that coaching is a powerful tool for self-development. But the experience of being coached regularly by my classmates during the program has solidified my belief that coaching is key part of growth and forward motion in professional and personal development.
I began planning my retreat as soon as the coaching class ended that day, and I’m so excited to see this dream become a reality in May 2018!