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18 Feb, 2009

Walking A Tightrope

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coaching Articles

Coaching Academy Blog

How do we make the transition from an existing career into the one we desire? Will it be a smooth, quiet and eventless transition or will it be difficult? It may be worth reflecting on the words of Charles Darwin, who said, ‘It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.’

Darwin’s words ring true, particularly with our own experiences from coaching. It is our clients that are looking for change in their lives and undeniably, by progressing along the coaching route we are also looking for a level of change in ours.

It was November 2003 when I took that first step towards coaching. Whilst a feeling of dissatisfaction had been hovering for a while, it was only when a combination of circumstances and a burning desire for change led me to engage my faculties and walk towards a different future.

Whilst this change was quite a profound and pivotal moment for me, it was in some respects the easy part. It has been the actualisation of my aspirations that provided the difficult times and challenges. Despite saying this, breaking through these difficult times has also provided massive personal highs, personal growth and a wealth of learning experiences that will place me in good stead for the future.

Whilst I can talk and talk for hours on the dynamics and practicalities of change, let us look at what is behind change. Ask yourself, what are your personal fundamental drivers and motivators for change? What inspires and gives you the passion for change?

Understanding and having clarity of your values can indeed make it easier for you to live your life according to what is most important to you. Indeed, it will provide a deep sense of satisfaction as long you continue to do so. However, what can also be said is that the manifestation of our values in reality is not always easy.

The actualisation of our dreams and aspirations driven by values, can occasionally lead to tough times as we wrestle with the world outside. The external world does not always like change. Sometimes it can actively fight against change, which is why it is so important to have clarity and focus on the meaning life holds for us. Whilst our values may lead to occasional conflict during periods of change, never forget that the values we hold will also provide us with the indomitable spirit to keep us fighting through those difficult times.

What started recently as an innocuous conversation in a pub, actually turned into a life changing moment for me. Through a powerful coaching conversation, I became aware that I was going through some difficult times and realised that I had been walking on a tightrope with huge weights on my shoulders. The weights on my shoulders represented the pressure I had placed upon myself to succeed. It demonstrated the level of importance I had attached to becoming a coach and the lifestyle that I aspired to. The tightrope for me was the thin line between success and failure. One step either side and I would have failed. This of course did not allow a lot of space for manoeuvre. The smallest wisp of wind and I would be flung off the tightrope. I’m sure that there are no surprises for you to hear that the wind wisped and I fell off. In fact, it happened quite unexpectedly and I went into a mental freefall and was heading for a bump on the ground.

Whilst dropping to the ground caused a few bruises, thanks to some talented coaching the fall prompted a fundamental reflection, re-examination and clarification of my personal vision. I reconnected with my fundamental values and managed to place two very solid feet on the ground. This is probably the most important action I could have accomplished.

From my experiences, change is at times not an easy process. Sometimes it can rock our world and shake our very foundations. When supported with coaching it can also produce an incredible reinvention of ourselves, particularly if the foundations are solid. The continual journey towards becoming a coach is still unfolding. However, with two solid feet on the ground, the moon and stars are by no means out of reach.

By Mark Bishop

1 Response to "Walking A Tightrope"

1 | Amanda Doyle

February 19th, 2009 at 6:14 pm


Wow Mark,
Good luck, I hope you suceed as a coach, you should write more you have a lovely way with words!
Thanks for that, it made me think of timing and getting the balance right. Food for thought.

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