This is the last blog post of my course! It’s really quite exciting to reach this milestone! It’s one thing to learn theory, but quite different when it comes to applying what you have learnt into practice. In our course, we had 5 coaching practicum sessions. Receiving feedback on what I did well and areas of opportunity for growth was very valuable. If there’s one thing I need to remind myself, never despise humble beginnings. Keep believing in yourself. If you just keep improving 10% every week, soon, you’ll be an expert at what you do!

Here’s my journal of all the coaching practicum sessions we had this year.

Coaching Session 1 (7 minutes)

In my earnestness to blog every experience, I shared my first coaching practicum experience in March here. My strengths included my soothing tone during the conversation, however, I was a challenging coach, asking difficult questions to the coachee. Opportunities of improvement would be to ask more open ended questions, bring the conversation back to the goal, and allowing the coachee to summarize her learning points.

Coaching Session 2 (7 minutes)

During this session, I was a bit more relaxed and prepared compared to session 1. The feedback given to me was that I mirror the coachee well…when they laugh, I do too. Takeaways include asking open ended questions, asking scale questions when you want to get a commitment from the coachee, asking questions like, “Why is this important to you?”

Coaching Session 3 (10 minutes)

During this session, I was trying to figure out the coachee’s problem… what exactly was the issue? But that meant that I spent quite a lot of time focusing on the problem and not the solutions. Coachees will look at the negative, we need to shift their focus to the positive so they can move forward. Listening intently helps me catch on to certain key phrases that allude to areas they are stuck at. I need to learn to ask more straight to the point questions instead of thinking my question out verbally.

Coaching Session 4 (35 minutes)

This was by far, the longest coaching session I had done since I started my coaching journey. The coachee had no problems sharing all the issues she was facing. My biggest challenge was reframing in my mind what really needed to be worked on so that she can get unstuck. My top 3 strengths (by self-evaluation and as feedback) include my listening skills, understanding the root of the issue and knowing how to move forward, and asking questions with a smile!

Ways to improve include asking simpler questions that are straight to the point. I do not need to reflect back everything the coachee has said all the time, all I sometimes need to do is say the words, “I hear you.” Coach Mel brought back to my attention the Neurological levels lesson… knowing where the coachee is stuck at, is really key to helping him/her move forward. Most people get stuck at identity.

The biggest insight I took away from this session is that I can actually help people get their own insights! This session has built up my confidence as a coach.

Coaching Session 5 (20 minutes)

This was the final coaching session, but with Coach Mel! It was pretty nerve-wrecking to coach your coach! I rate myself a 5 out of 10 for this call, because I feel that I didn’t manage to get to any action points, but was mainly trying to pinpoint the issue he was facing. As usual, I took a lot of notes! Mel mentioned that one of my greatest strengths is the ability to really listen, hold presence and make the coachee feel comfortable.

One of the biggest challenges I face as a coach is trying to process through my own thoughts and listening at the same time. When I hear themes popping up, it helps me to jot it down, but I should have checked in on the coachee instead of assuming what I should focus on. This could be done by asking questions like:

1. It seems like you talked about 3 themes (identity, values and competencies). Is that right?
2. Which is most important, after all you’ve shared?
(This helps the coachee to identify by themselves what theme is most important to them)

My biggest takeaways – Coachees will always speak about their reality – and 70% of the conversation topic might be centred here, unless I, as the coach, help bring their focus towards action and commitment. Never end a session with just self-awareness.

Biggest Takeaways from Coaching Practicum Sessions

  1. Don’t be worried about the next question – Just listen intently for phrases that will give you hints towards where the coachee is stuck at. Always check in with the coachee by reflecting back to them your assumption. If there are more than 1 theme that is brought up, you can only deal with 1 theme during that session. Ask what is most important to them at that time.
  2. Bring them back to the goal – If I come across a coachee that rambles on with too much information, I could always bring them back to the goal – what do you really want from this session?
  3. Ask short and simple questions – Try to avoid thinking your phrases aloud. You can slow down the pace by just nodding, think, then ask. I tend to rephrase my questions into a 2nd question when I think my coachee needs more clarification, but that can be confusing. Ask open ended questions.
  4. Always end with action points – Without ending the session with action points, the coachee just had a very long self-awareness conversation. Asking for commitment is helpful when you check in on them during the next coaching session, “So, where are you at with all the action points you committed to when we met last?”
  5. The stress should be on the coachee, not the coach – Remember that it is the coachee’s responsibility to move forward, not ours. Ultimately, we are there to be a mirror and to ask the right questions so the coachee discovers the answers within themselves.

I end this post with this quote I discovered recently. What a journey it has been, since I started my coaching certification course in January 2020! This year is full of uncertainties, fear and change, but out of all that, I have achieved huge milestones in my personal life. My photography & video production business is growing, I completed my coaching course, and I spent many hours by investing my emotional and mental energy into my family and personal life. I am celebrating this high point in my life, and I can sincerely say, I look forward to 2021!

Thank you to all my wonderful course mates and of course, Coach Mel who has inspired and challenged me through this process.

Image credits:
Cover Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash
Photo by Emma Matthews Digital Content Production on Unsplash

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