I didn't want to be a 'Coach'
To be clear, it's not that I don't love to coach, I do. It drives me, it gets me out of bed in the morning, it gives me purpose and I absolutely LOVE seeing the value that my clients get and the changes that they are able to make. So I love TO coach. I just didn't like the name.
I'm a Coach.
The world and his/her wife are coaches. Everyone you speak to seems to be coach at the moment, and yet not a lot can differentiate what makes them different, how they actually help the growth of they clients or what their USP is.
I've met property coaches, social media coaches, beauty coaches, lifestyle coaches, life coaches, nutrition coaches, knitting coaches (yes really) and relationship coaches. Then you have professional coaches, executive coaches, business coaches, sport coaches, personal coaches, running coaches and empowerment coaches. You have speaking coaches, music coaches, voice coaches, management coaches, team coaches, leadership coaches and board coaches.
Some, and you may be able to guess which ones, don't actually coach at all, they just tell people what to do, which for me, isn't actually coaching.
I qualified for my Executive coaching with the AoEC where Roger Black (ex professional athlete) also trained. He is very open about the best coach he ever had on the track and the one that helped him win his medal. The first coach wanted to change his stride. From his natural stride pattern to a 'winning' stride. He didn't win. The second coach wanted him to focus on everyone else in the race and how to beat them. He didn't win. The third coach helped him with his mindset. The third coach helped him to focus on winning, on him crossing the finish line and in knowing how it would feel when he did. He won his first medal.
For me, I don't know what's right for you, you do. It's not for me to say what you should be doing, that's for you to decide. I see my role as asking the sometimes uncomfortable questions, holding the space for you and listening to what you have to say with the aim of getting you and your mindset in the right place.
But I didn't want to fall into the 'everyone's a coach box'. I don't really like titles, or boxes, or labels, which is a hard thing to avoid when you're trying to 'market' yourself. I've got lists, pages and pages, of possible other things I could call myself. One that a branding expert came up, yes I've paid for help with the labelling thing too, was the HR Architect - it doesn't sound very people focused does it?
And so, I gave in. I gave into the what do I do and how do I market and position myself, and I got comfortable with being a 'coach', because I am. I remember cringing the first time that someone called me the coach for HR leaders. It somehow felt like in the one word of coach that I'd lost the 20 or so years of my HR experience. That the whole, 'what do you think makes you qualified to help me?' had gone completely out of the window. That all of the rest of my skills and experience and qualifications had disappeared all with the word coach.
Now this was of course all in my head. For years I was a coach, and founder, and consultant and speaker and author, and blogger, and leader and now I'm a coach. And I love it.
For the first time in my career, I'm not a generalist or a jack of all trades, I'm a coach. And I'm a great coach - my clients tell me so - but I also know that all of my experience up until now adds to me being the great coach I am today. I've been in the shoes of my clients and sometimes I still step back into them when asked by a client, but this happens less and less, because, I'm a coach.
I have a label for the first time in a long time and I'm proud of it. It doesn't make me who I am, but it is a part of who I am, and it's an important part.
I'm Kelly, I'm a coach, and I love it.
Kelly is Founder of The Chrysalis Crew and a Global Empowerment Coach for Leaders and HR Professionals at www.kellyswingler.com She leads and coaches with an open heart, an open mind and has the courage to challenge the status quo and do things differently so that we can change the world of work.