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Identity

written byLaurie-Ell Bashforthon 05/05/2016

I am a Coach!  There, it’s said.  I declare my intention to the world.  Isn’t this one of the first vital steps to move ourselves forward?    

I have to say that I’m not perfect.  I am certainly not masterful at the art of coaching...YET, but I am willing to step up and make it happen.  I hold this title with more confidence than I did a few months ago when I started this journey, but I still hold it with a little fear. I’m moving toward something great, but it’s hard to move away from something that I thought I was.    

We identify with labels of who we are all the time.  We are wives, husbands, daughters, sons, doctors, lawyers, accountants, the list goes on.  We allow one word to identify who we are.    

This is where my fear, that little gremlin, comes from.  I was a teacher.  A very good teacher.  Some might have even called me excellent.  Adults and children, young and old, in my small community know me as a teacher.  In fact, during my wedding ceremony, the priest addressed the guests with, “This is a love story between the Kindergarten Teacher and the Pharmacist.”  I loved knowing that I was a teacher.  But I had to ask myself, what made me stand out as a teacher?  I realized that it was who I was with my colleagues, students, and parents.  It was how I interacted with them.  It was because I believed in the potential of that individual little person and it was because I offered support to the parents in believing it.   It was also because I believed in working together with my colleagues and understood that as professionals we should continue to grow and change to meet the best interest of the students.  This isn’t what all “teachers” do.

Most, yes, but not all.  So it made me realize that it wasn’t the word teacher that I valued, but who I was as a teacher. The job merely expanded what I already had inside of me which was worthy and valuable.     

Many coaches are familiar with the common question surrounding identity - “Who are you becoming?” We all understand (as you can tell the sky is clearing before my very eyes) that identity is who we are, and not a label around what we do.  It might really be a cliche, but it’s what you’ve got on the inside that counts.    

So in order to move forward I had to ask myself this very question - “Who am I becoming as a coach?”  This is what I came up with.  I’m expanding on the person that I already am.  The person who believed in all of the possible potential of children now sees that in everyone.  I am becoming a person who supports, by listening carefully and asking powerful questions of my clients.  I challenge them to think.  I value their time and their courage for growth and I encourage them to take action.  I help bring clarity when there is none.   

I am someone who makes an impact on the life of my client who can then go out into the world and make their own impact!  This is who I have become, and I’m going to own it!   For those of you who are in a place of transition in your life, possibly a little fearful to move forward, I encourage you to ask yourself - “Who am I becoming?”  Take who you are on the inside, with all the experiences that you’ve had in the past, and let yourself be expanded with the possibilities of the future.  

Don’t allow a word to hold you back.  Allow it to motivate you forward.  I know I am.

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