Why did I choose to become a Coach?
As you can probably imagine this is a question where the answer has many contributing factors, but I shall try to answer as fully as I am able.
Back in 2005 I lost my sight, something that drastically changed my life as I knew it. My career up to that point had been in retail where I had worked my way up from the bottom. Unfortunately just as I was about to commence my training to the next level of management the problems with my vision started and as a result my career was put on hold. Now this piece is not a “woe is me” piece, so let’s get one thing straight before I continue. I lost my sight and it was bad, really bad and utterly devastating. For a time there I thought my life was pretty much over. Right, that’s the more negative bit over and done with so let’s move on.
Ultimately I had to leave my job due to ill health and the fact that I was for all intents and purposes in and out of hospital for the best part of twenty one months. Now I could bang on about how I had to learn to do things, simple things like making a cup of tea from scratch again, but there are hundreds if not thousands of articles and posts out there where visually impaired and blind people go into all of that so I am not going to; but it is accurate for me to say that I went through all of that and came out the other side.
During the period of time between February 2004 and December 2005, which was basically how long it took for my vision to go, I had A LOT of time to think about my life, how it was changing and where it was going. After another few months I decided I wanted to do something and not just sit in my house letting my misfortune beat me; so I started volunteering for a local visual impairment charity once a week. I am not going to go into details here as this piece will end up being fifteen times longer than I intend it to be, but it is fair to say that doing that voluntary work really opened my eyes (no pun intended) to how lucky I was to have only lost my sight. It also made me feel valued and ultimately helped shape me into the man I am today. Of course there are many contributing factors that have made me who I am now, but I think it is fair to say that those few years had an impact that I am not entirely sure I can articulate properly.
Over the next few years I became more and more involved with the charity and became a trainer for assistive technology as well as becoming a charity trustee in 2011. I am very happy to say that I became the Chairman for the 2012/2013 period and still sit on the board of trustees now; but that is by the by. For years I had been mentoring, training, and I guess helping guide people through very difficult and challenging times in their lives and on several occasions I had friends and family members telling me they thought I could go into counselling work etc. However, to be honest counselling work never appealed to me and although I was trying to find a career that would be interesting, challenging and that I would enjoy, it was only in 2012 that I heard about Coaching and what it actually is.
I am not going to lie to you here, like most members of the general public I didn’t have the first clue of what Coaching was and how powerful a tool it could be in helping people change their lives. It was only thanks to a friend that I actually learned a little about it and was intrigued enough to want to learn more. Once I had found out considerably more about Coaching and how it worked I wondered whether my family and friends might be onto something and began to seriously consider training and becoming certified as a Coach. Fortunately I had the opportunity to attend a two day taster event at the AoEC so I eagerly went along with an open mind and a willingness to learn.
The event was very engaging and answered many of the questions I had about Coaching and I think it was this that ultimately made my mind up as to what I wanted to have a career in. A far cry from being a department manager in retail or an assistive technology trainer, but a career that tapped in to skills I had already begun to develop in both those and other previous roles.
It was just a couple of months before attending the AoEC event that I was offered the opportunity to receive some free Coaching. Needless to say I took up the offer as I wanted to experience Coaching from the client’s perspective and better understand how the Coach/client relationship works.
Even after only two or three Coaching sessions I could see how positive an effect it was having on me and helping me change the way I thought about things. It was this that really cemented it for me, I wanted to train and learn how to Coach properly and professionally. It was soon after that I enrolled on the AoEC’s Coaching Practitioner course and the world of Coaching was opened up to me.
So to answer my own question, why did I choose to become a Coach? I chose to become a professional Coach because after having gone through a literally life changing event and feeling that I had absolutely nowhere to go it was Coaching of one form or another that helped me get through it. Whether that Coaching was from friends, family, colleagues at the charity or medical professionals the process was challenging, emotional, enlightening and although I didn’t necessarily feel so at the time, incredibly positive. I looked deeper into myself than I ever had before and learned more about my own strengths and weaknesses than I honestly thought was possible. It helped changed the way I think about and approach the challenges and obstacles that life throws at me and ultimately gave me the tools to either work around them or smash my way straight through them.
That is why I chose to become a professional Coach. I wanted to take a path on a career that is not only interesting and enriching for me, but one that also can help people change their lives in an informed and positive way.
AoEC Accredited Associate Executive Coach.
Founder of Alternate Visions Coaching.