After retiring from Turkey's Isbank Trainee Department as a Section Head, Meral became interested in coaching and attended The Art & Science of Coaching and The Nine Habits of Whole Brain Thinking programs. Meral became a life coach to pursue her passion for making a difference and positively affecting the lives of others.
The Magical First Step to Becoming a Coach
I decided to attend coach training with the intention of investing in myself. It was not hard to find the right program thanks to my previous professional life. I decided to take my first step and started The Art & Science of Coaching program.
Everything started with that small step. I thought everything would easily fall into place towards personal development, but that was not the case. Here is my story of the journey to becoming a coach.
In the very first hour of the program, I realized that The Art & Science of Coaching would be different than any other training programs I had attended. I did not only participate in the training but I lived through it and learnt many things about myself. It was a challenging learning process for me. Our facilitator allowed us to live through the training with her mastery of coaching.
Anything I thought I forgot began to awaken, and some files dropped out of the dusty shelves of my library. Whatever it was, it happened thanks to that training, because I almost forgot the existence of my library. My thoughts were free now. I could not catch up with the speed of my thoughts. Every aspect of my life was affected. In the moment, I felt it hard to move on, I could keep moving with the help of a little touch.
On one side, there was too much light. I got lost. My only desire was to beam up to this present moment. The 5 Ericksonian Principles were what kept me determined on this journey. They were like stars enlightening my road, and they always will be. I knew nobody but me could generate a solution for myself. Maybe I had that file in my library. Maybe it was the reason why I attended the program? I experienced its awareness in a very interesting way. I could keep my way on this road by depending on the principle that “every human being has the resources they need”. I lived through all of the demos during the training wholeheartedly, realizing my potential during these applications. There was rain, there was hail, there were storms, and there were tides. Later on, slowly, everything fell into place, one by one.
A quote from Dr. Zerrin Başer caught my attention, “Supporting people on the path they want to walk is to build a path where they would like to walk on and to walk them to set an example, instead of showing them the road. Selection of the road, walking speed, falling and standing up and waiting are all their own choices.” It was like a signal to me. I experienced that quote personally.
Dr. Zerrin Başer was an example and model for coaching skills, leaving a great trace on our visual memory.
During this journey, I put the oxygen mask on myself first, like they announce on aeroplanes, and began to construct my path with great efforts, after which I moved with little steps to the future I visualized. I experienced a breaking point during the training, but I never gave up, realizing my awareness and continuing to take small steps. I deeply felt and experienced all of the questions asked. I tried to discover the depth behind each question. I believe that there is a lesson behind every question and there are years of experience behind that lesson.
I am very happy that I have taken this path, and it is precious to me that I have completed these four modules. I enjoyed that completing moment, saying “well done!” to myself by touching both my shoulders. I celebrated my victory that started with a small but magical step!
It was the first time I discovered one of the coaching tools, the MetaPrograms – Behavior Models, presented in the last part of the program. It gave me a brand new viewpoint on life. Understanding my clients' MetaPrograms, their representation systems and to ask relevant questions, moving them towards their vision.
As a result, when the training was completed, I left equipt with the skills to provide a professional coaching experience with anything a client brings up, and to carry out the full coaching process.
While performing coaching sessions, there is a separate ritual and care, and also be in harmony with your client and show due diligence.
I also experienced the benefit of questioning myself during my practice sessions about what I want to do differently to coach in a stronger and more efficient way. First I asked the question "WHY should this be eliminated from my life?" I feel this question can be very important depending on what we are questioning, and I began to ask it again... but with a different awareness. I have adopted a Coaching Language - I do not want to use negative words anywhere. The words “I wish” vanished when I put the principles of Dr. Milton Erickson at the center of my life. I can say that the principle of “every person makes their best choice in the moment” has become an essential part of my roadmap.
From this point onward, my purpose is to apply everything I have learnt in The Art & Science of Coaching in the best way possible. To master it. My focus is “Coach Position” and to fulfil its requirements, no matter which title or role I am in. To look from a “Coach” point of view in any role I take on. The coaching hat must fit on my head. Sometimes I might be wearing other types of hats but there will be a big coaching hat covering all the others. On this path, this is the definition of “Mastery” in the broadest sense to me.
I have taken a step into the door, opening up the possibilities of developing a true, strong Coach Position. In each coaching interview, I experience an awareness as a coach or client and I leave there with a plus. I put on the rose-coloured glasses I found during the program and put a wide-angle glass on them.
I know where I was before I started coaching training and where I am now. Which version of myself do I see now? What do I visualize? How do I feel? What am I saying?
There is a version of myself looking at life from an observer point. She uses her competence to observe things from the outside. Coaching is an irreplaceable part of her life now. She can now understand why you should never take a step back. Hats may change in life. However, the coaching hat has an inclusive characteristic. This hat makes it possible to see other roles from a coach’s perspective.
Under the professional coaching hat, this “Meral” is the same Meral but also a different one. She reflects her own style. She is using her sense of humor more. She thinks that success in all areas of her life is a precious gift to her, her surroundings, and her future. She knows she can really touch people’s lives. It makes her smile to know that only a pen and a paper is enough to do that. It makes her happy. Even though she has to run for miles to reach her goal, she feels the power and decisiveness to run for this purpose. She knows what keeps her on the track. The road is long but delightful. She sees the road very clearly. She knows who she is, who she wants to be and knows its value for her self. Since the first day she experienced coaching (from the first day of the program), her values have been activated with the touch of a magic wand and everything seemed to be a perfect piece of a puzzle. She realized that the glue holding these pieces together is “LOVE”. She is aware of the fact that this energy is surrounding her with its warm arms in every step of her life. Existing since she was born, this valuable source she has gives her power and energy. She feels, wholeheartedly, that the values she reached again, thanks to coaching, will be her compass in her journey.
Everything starts with a small, magical step. THE VERY FIRST STEP.
*In this article, the author uses help from Erickson Coaching International's The Art and Science of Coaching materials and Marilyn Atkinson’s book Inner Dynamics of Coaching