Today I have gone live with a new offering in the bookings section of my website. I am now offering a coaching service & wanted to take the opportunity to talk about this style of coaching in a little more detail.
Many of you will already know me as a social worker & a yoga teacher, that I absolutely love all things well-being. You may also know that I tend to get my nose a bit out of joint when things are sold as a 'little too good to be true' & without any real clarity of what they mean or how it might happen.
Coaching has become really popular in the last couple of years, something that was once reserved for type-A top of the corporate ladder types. This kind of coaching always struck me as a little cut-throat, perhaps too aggressive & take no prisoners? Then we have wellness coaches and I still couldn't seem to find any strong, reliable education or evidence to support this approach either. Over the last few years everyone seems to be calling themselves a coach of some description or another on social media and I always had so many questions about the coaches training, qualifications, registrations, regulations, insurances, professional development along with many many more. I am always met with difficulties when seeking clarity around this from people who say they are coaches.....
Everyone seems to offer 'trauma informed practices' or approaches but doesn't seem to discuss what makes them trauma informed or a safer person than someone else. To be trauma informed is a really big deal, there is a lot to know & consider when working within a space that might have you interacting with people who have a trauma history, sometimes the individual themselves is unaware of just how much of an impact a life event has had & what might trigger this or how much damage might be done if both coach & coachee consider coaching 'safe' without real consideration (but trauma informed practice is a blog for another day). Also being trauma informed in no way makes you a safe practitioner to work with someone on their trauma, or in most cases even discuss it-always refer to experts! being trauma informed just means you know how to work safely with people & do your best to do no further damage (I mean its more complex but also as simple as this).
I guess I have come around to offering this as a service now because I realise I have actually been offering it as a service for a very long time, it just hasn't been using this title. As an example, from early on in my career I have been coaching young people to support recidivism & engagement in education, since working within tertiary education I also support students to meet their goals, support time management, stress management & planning out their assessments & readings, I have worked on case plans & goals with families in child protection & wellbeing as well, even within palliative care there is goal setting & task orientated work, quite a lot actually. Social workers tend to call this case management but there are definitely elements of coaching, task focus & goal setting. I have also recently found myself creating & setting goals with my practitioners in their clinical supervision &
I am always leaning into my PosPscyh education. This is a huge chunk of what goes on in these private sessions because it is really hard for practitioners to discuss PD & goals in supervision within the work place as they may/often run counter to your immediate managers needs/expectations & wants for you.
Positive Psychology coaching is also really fun. It is a positive way to engage with your goals & aspirations; rather than these being yet another thing you are meant to get done or have up your sleeve to be valid. It is linking your goals/wishes with your values & using your strengths to make it happen. There are fun surveys & activities to complete & it is a really good way to get to know yourself in a different light. It builds a language, a new narrative & way of describing yourself & others that is optimistic, strengths based & powerful. So many of us create goals & aspirations based on the values of those around us, or society rather than spending time seeking out what it is we really want; lets say you have a goal that is very highly prized in society it is still important to be able to discuss & link for yourself why this is your goal, why do you want this, what skills do you have that will ensure success?
For example; We might both want to get a promotion at work but my reasoning & driving factors may be very different to yours, my skills that I will need to engage to reach this goal may not even be skills you have or like to use. A promotion for me may equal job security & the ability to apply for a mortgage while one for you might mean working more closely with a mentor & new opportunities for training & career long term. I might use my strengths of creativity and prudence to ensure I manage my time well in order to show I am capable, this promotion may feed into my value of family and stability knowing they will be well taken care of. You may need spend time getting to know your boss and ways that you can be of help directly to her, you may use strengths like humour and perseverance in order to be seen as the 'right fit', this may link into your character strength of love of learning or beauty & excellence.
So you see a good coach will elicit this kind of information & build a picture of your desires & values so that while you are working towards your goals you feel engaged & useful & see meaning in the journey. Achieving the goal is only part of it, the learning & journey getting there is the positive psychology difference, finding meaning & optimism, using character strengths and engaging in the whole process also helps you to overcome all of the obstacles along the way. The more you get to know yourself and what matters to you & what you are good at the easier it becomes to kick ass.
So there you have it Alison is offering coaching & I hope to also be doing some small group workshops around PosPscyh & coaching so that more people can access this amazing approach. I think I will also write another blog soon about the ways PosPsych coaching & building optimism can support all facets of your life, so watch this space.