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The Journey of a Business Coach

With a heart full of enthusiasm and a head full of knowledge, Thulani eagerly progressed in his coaching journey. He knew how to structure a coaching assignment and had planned how he would run a coaching session using his framework and methodology. When he was given his first coaching assignment, he eagerly refreshed himself on all he had learnt, and began the process with his new coachee.

Unfortunately for Thulani, all his preparation did not hold him in good stead. He worked his way through all his pre-planned notes in the session and asked the coachee some powerful and incisive questions for her to gain awareness into her own situation. He felt confident as he led the session. He was a bit taken aback at the end of the session when he opened his diary to set the next session date for 2 weeks’ time, when the coachee said that she would get back to him and wasn’t sure if he was the right match for her.

The more he reflected on the session, the more Thulani realised that although he had run through his plan effortlessly, his coachee clearly did not gain the value that she assumed she would. In fact, the more he thought about it, the less effective his session was. Feeling hopeless and worthless, Thulani reverted to the SA Business Coaches’ blog from October 2022 on Confusion about Becoming a Business Coach→

As he read through the 5 reasons why not to become a business coach, he realised that he had fallen into several of these traps. He needed to actively apply methods that would prevent him from self-sabotaging the business that he had worked so hard to build.

Thulani deliberately spent time introspecting and considering what he needed to do to improve himself and his business coaching going forward. From the SA Business Coaches’ October blog →, Thulani chose to seek implementation on each of the 5 reasons not to become a Business Coach as follows:

How to implement positive actions when considering reasons not to become a Business Coach:

  1. It means developing your own business
    If the tables were turned, Thulani would be positive and encouraging of his coachee starting her own business. He would follow guidelines and guide his coachee through setting goals, actions, and milestones to move her dream forward. This was something that he needed to do, with the assistance of his Business Coach.
  2. Fear of incompetence
    When contemplating what went wrong in his session, Thulani was able to admit that he was so afraid of being incompetent that he over-prepared and therefore drove the session according to his plan, rather than allowing his coachee to run her own session and weave through her thoughts in her way. This had been a horrible lesson to learn:

    In an attempt to be competent, Thulani became incompetent
  3. Active Listening
    Thulani’s fear was realised. He had difficulty listening actively to people he perceived to be boring. This manifested in the session. He was so busy pushing the program he had designed for the session that he did not listen to what his coachee needed or wanted from the session. Pegged as an area for development. Thulani decided that this would be an outcome of one of his sessions with his Business Coach.
  4. Dependence on the Coachee
    Once again, Thulani was concerned about his frustration levels in that he could not implement actions for the coachee. He needed to detach himself and allow them to follow their own journey. Part of his intensity in ensuring he ran the session ‘correctly’ was his need to control the process, which isn’t his process at all, it’s the coachee’s.
  5. Is this what you want?
    The experience of failure made Thulani question his whole journey. He had put in so much time and effort, and things did not go at all according to plan.
    •   Was this what he wanted?
    •   Was he able to do this?

    His simple answer was yes and yes! He needed to implement his learnings and ‘fail forward’ so that this experienced served as a learning curve, and a time to be compassionate and kind to himself.

Thulani had learnt many valuable lessons. Most important of all was that he had to allow his coachee to achieve what they came to Business Coaching to achieve. He could not do it for them.

Yet he also learned another far more valuable lesson, and that was that judging and berating himself was futile. This negative experience would have its place in his journey, and he had to use it as a steppingstone to move himself forward.

“We do not learn from experience…
we learn from reflecting on experience”

John Dewey

To learn more about becoming a qualified business coach see SA Business Coaches’ look at SA Business Coaches – Coach Training→