Learnings From My Coaching Course
A little announcement…
I’m happy to share that I am a certified Integral Development Coach through an ICF-accredited organization called ThirdSpace as of June. The 12-month intensive learning journey has deepened, expanded and softened me in ways I didn’t know were possible. I am left with awe and wonder.
The Messy Human Stuff
I had a check-in call with the leader of the coaching organization on a particularly low week. He asked me what I wanted to discuss and I asked him straightforwardly: “How long did it take for you to stop being a messy human so you could embody being a masterful coach in your day-to-day life?” He paused. Then he gently said, “I get curious about what makes you think that being a coach and being a messy human are mutually exclusive.” I got goosebumps and could feel how strongly that landed with me. Being a coach (and a leader) is not about being perfect. In fact, performativity keeps us separate from our deep humanity. Shedding the armor of performativity and perfectionism slowly has been an important part of my journey in coaching, leadership and life. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t standards and principles. But it does mean choosing to see the goodness and dignity in the ‘messy’ human parts of us.
Later on the call, he also said something else that still brings a twinkle to my eye: “By the way, I think mastery is overrated. Being a perpetual beginner is so much more fun!” How liberating is it to approach everything we do in this way?
I have really appreciated learning about the practices that allow us to integrate the three centers of wisdom and power: the mind (focus, creativity), the heart (emotions, compassion), and the body (intuition, presence). I have personally benefited from tuning into my nervous system, reading its signals, understanding how to regulate my body, and helping others shift their nervous system from a solid ground. I distinctly remember moments when I was able to practice nervous system regulation in-real-time while in meetings and feel much more centered in a short span of time. Somatic work is the biggest game-changing tool I have weaved into my coaching. The benefit of gaining skillfulness in integrating all three centers is that over time we can operate with less invisible efforting. It seems essential in the culture we live in today.
Space unifies everything. If everything around us is made of atoms and you were to zoom into an atom, you’d see that an atom is primarily made of space. Space shapes so much of our lived experience. The use of space is best admired in music – it can be used to create rhythms, land impact, and bring notes to life. As leaders, creating spaciousness can create a sense of calmness, dignity and inclusiveness for others. The opposite can also be true: our lack of spaciousness can create more anxiousness and activated nervous systems in others. This shows up in how we take up physical space: our posture and expanded personal space. This shows up in how we speak: our pace, our rhythm, our quality of presence. This shows up in how we interact with others: our openness, our nervous system, our use of technology. One of the biggest learnings for me was also about creating space in my calendar as I juggled coaching, learning, a full-time job and personal relationships. Creating buffers, saying ‘no’ to more things, and being intentional with how I was spending my time and energy allowed me to create the right conditions to be present and centered. It’s not always easy but even a little bit of extra spaciousness can help tremendously.
The last 12 months, I was part of a coaching community that was learning alongside each other and supporting one another. Being in an enriching coaching container with individuals who were committed to long-term excellence and being self-correcting and self-generating allowed me to see the tremendous possibility of developmentally-oriented communities. Having experienced this in a small system, I can see the power of developmentally-oriented companies and systems at a larger scale. When we are able to see ourselves as part of a shared world of mutual concerns, language, and desires, we can open ourselves up to possibilities that are much bigger than ourselves. With more leaders stepping into a more expansive structure of interpretation, I believe we can see large-scale transformation that moves our world forward. This is the work that I am in service of.
I’ll leave you here.