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04 May, 2009

Success Stories – Stephen Green

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Success Stories

Coaching Blog - Success Stories - Stephen Green

I completed my Life Coaching diploma some 4 years ago and was lucky enough to get some one to individual coaching soon after, but looking through the local paper one day I saw a charity (Students Exploring Marriage) recruiting ‘ Advisor Coaches’ and decided to find out a bit more about it and had a meeting with the founder (Rex Chester) of the Charity.  

My initial views were that it would perhaps be a little unusual working in a Christian Charity environment but it would look good on my CV so after our meeting I decided to go along to the ‘ Advisor Coach ‘ training day. After this I started working with them probably just a couple of times per month , on average, working in schools in Hampshire with year 10 & 11 pupils as part of the PHSE or RE curriculum with the focus on ‘ Exploring’ long term relationship whether within marriage or not. As an Advisor coach the bulk of the work is in establishing the boundaries and coaching the youngsters to prepare for a discussion with married couples on relationships where the married couples answer from their own experiences and not their views.  The first task is to get the youngsters to come up with their list of ‘ Hopes and Fears’ from a long term relationship. Now this is where the coaching skills come in because if you give them a list they do not belong to them. If you get three groups of youngsters to come up with very similar lists it has an incredibly strong influence on how they see the exercise. The youngster then get to ask questions to the couples based on their Hopes and Fears list for a period between 20 and 40 minutes, depending on how the school has allowed us to structure the event.  After the discussion we have a review and establish what went well and what didn’t. If this is a half day conference they may see three couples in a morning or over an 8 week workshop may see three couples two times each. 

It is certainly interesting to hear all about a 40 year marriage with its ups and down, how relationships developed and the common situations to be dealt with. The response to the hopes and fears usually include the main strengths of a good  relationship include Trust, communication, loyalty, compromise, making time for each other, and many others. After being with the charity for about two years I was asked if I would be willing to establish an 8 week workshop inside Winchester Prison with category C prisoners who were either on shorter (4yrs) sentences or coming to the end of their sentences. So, as I had not got any firm commitments on Tuesday night anyway I thought I would give it a go!! 

I was given a guide as to how to present the initial ‘set up session’ and get commitment from the inmates to attend the whole workshop. This guide I started to follow and after about 5 minutes realised that it wasn’t going to work so had to think on my feet and ended up doing more or less the same as we did with younger people and setting out ‘ hopes and fears’ . What then transpired was beyond anyone’s hopes. After three weeks I was told that this was actually the first ever workshop with adults as all previous prison workshops had been with Young Offenders. The group I worked with were between 26 and 48 yrs old.  The workshop sessions became open discussions and I remember one evening coming out of the prison with the couple and we all said that the whole event had seemed to be like therapy for the group with prisoners really opening up and sharing their stories. The greatest event was that two of the prisoners felt that the workshop had been so beneficial that they would like to work with the charity, with their wives, when they were released and share their stories and experiences with youngsters and other prisons. One was released in January this year and has taken part, with his wife, in their first workshop at a school in South London where they answered questions and shared their problems and successes with year 10 pupils who benefited hugely from the experience.

The ‘ Explore’ workshops in prisons and schools bring some education and learning from others experiences about relationships where perhaps , in the past, the only learing has been on the biological side of being a couple. The sharing of experiences not only helps in dealing with and coping with the ups and downs of our relationships with partners but also helps with relationshipos with friends, family and sibblings. The experience I have gained from working with ‘Explore’ has enabled me to coach and establish relationship workshops within Colleges for staff members and in group and one to one sessions with couples who are finding the long term relatiosnhips becoming under strain.   

This is a part the final review of the workshop by some pf the prisoners who took part:

What experiences or information came out of the workshop which you could say were, perhaps, interesting, surprising, a learning experience, fulfulling or other.

  1. Being able to have a frank and open discussion with people in the same sort of situation and the openness of the couples was a positive experience
  2. I was also pleasantly surprised how different the three couples were
  3. I learnt that I’m not on my own and that communication is a major way to help in good relationships
  4. The whole experience was, for want of a better description, a complete leap of faith in human nature
  5. Everyone has problems – the couples went through problems and succeeded. How open we were and how open the couples were.
  6. It became clear that communication is the key to a good relationship

Further details on the Charity are available at www.theexploreexperience.co.uk.

As the success of the chairty has increased , they are looking for more ‘ Advisor Coaches’ in Hampshire as well as other parts of the country. I can confirm that it is a worthwhile experience.

Thanks

Stephen Green

3 Responses to "Success Stories – Stephen Green"

1 | Faith Apiafi-Hailsham

May 6th, 2009 at 10:26 am

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This is a very encouraging story, thanks for sharing and keep up the good work.

2 | C. Edwards

May 6th, 2009 at 11:24 am

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Hi Stephen – it was really interesting hearing about the charity, and the work you have been doing with them. What a great idea, giving people the opportunity to learn from each other like that. I went straight onto the website to find out more about how they work – it’s a good site.

Thanks for speaking about your experiences – I feel it might well be something I’d like to do at some point in the future. But even if I don’t, it’s lovely to know that such a worth-while charity exists. All the best to you, Stephen. C.

3 | Vie

May 7th, 2009 at 6:26 am

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Hi That was really interesting. I’m not a qualified coach but I think it is an area worth looking into, especially as the organisation I work for could benefit from having a relationship coach and talking to couples. I will check out the website.

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