Wednesday 19 February 2014

Fantastic coaching!

It is not, perhaps, a surprise that I am a fan of coaching.

But even I might hesitate to write a headline about fantastic coaching and proceed to write about my own practice.

In fact, what prompts me to write this piece is reflecting on the coaching I have received which has helped me bring my first business book from an idea to something approaching a result (though there is still work to be done).

In the first instance, it was informal coaching by Liz Todd at Newcastle University. She may not even have realised she was coaching me, but she was.  I think it is such a habitual part of her style - to enquire and to bring out the best in others - that she does it almost without thinking.  But she it was who drew my attention to the fact that I had something new and interesting to say about this, and she has encouraged and educated me several times along the way, too. 

Secondly, my long-time professional coach Ann Bowen-Jones, has always been an integral part of my professional practice. Both as the supervisor of my own coaching practice, and as a personal coach, she has been a source of inspiration and support; appropriately challenging and always there in the long dark nights of the aspiring writer's soul…

In the early days, when I was unsure how, or even whether, to begin, I was also helped by Lorna Macleod, an American coach at Creative Callings, who specialises in this type of project.

And most recently, Andrew Derrington has kindly read the whole of the first draft, offered some very valuable feedback, and helped me to identify (and to commit to!) the necessary next steps to improve it. Andrew's experience and skills, both as a journalist and an expert on academic writing, have been extremely useful.

With all this support, help and advice, there is a real risk that this project will come to a successful conclusion - and not only that, but it will be significantly enhanced by all the expertise brought to bear. 

Incidentally, I talk to three of these four coaches by phone or Skype.  Some people are wary of telephone coaching, but in my experience, both as coach and coachee, whilst it has a very different dynamic, it can be extremely powerful.

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