Updated: Jul 14, 2021
It was a cool Tuesday morning in April, when I zoomed into a meeting with 14 other wannabe ‘real’ coaches to meet each other and get to know the Barefoot tutors. We were asked to talk about how and why we arrived at the Barefoot coaching programme and what we each, wanted out of it. I listened with interest, and then in awe. Those mischievous, doubting voices whispered to me after every person spoke. …
"He’s already running a podcast, (its great btw https://coachclass.buzzsprout.com/), she runs her own business, they all attended a taster session, she’s quoting people you’ve never even heard of, she’s a TED speaker for goodness sake!! They are all buzzing and raring to go and you my friend are way out of your depth, completely behind the curve and simply not on a par with these remarkable human beings, who by the way, are totally already coaches …..”
I sat there listening to everyone, wondering how out of my depth I really was, and thinking that I may have jumped into this a little too soon. I was unprepared and apparently mentally unavailable, I also knew I had only read two books (the easy ones). Round and around the zoom screen we went until all 15 of us had introduced ourselves…these people from all around the world were utterly amazing, I was in admiration of each of one of them, and properly hated them for ‘making’ me feel even more useless. Them and their super achievements! But then as I looked down at my notes, I realised I may not have actually listened to what they’d said. So caught up in my own insecurities and pathetic arrival on the course, I had not really heard anything beyond the few key impressive words and sentences I had selectively picked out from each dialogue – I knew their names of course (thank you Zoom), I’d scribbled these down in my new journaling book as though this irrelevant piece of data was the most important fact I needed to write down today.
Some may call me utterly stupid, some may realise there was a little bit of affirmation bias going on in the old watch and chain, I on the other hand will simply call it totally self-obsessed and my very first lesson in becoming a ‘real coach’. I could not and did not listen.…. Of course my husband has been telling me this for years…interesting…..maybe I should have listened 😌
As I allowed the inner judge to put to bed her point-making and reflections, something magical started to happen. Like a solar system circulating around a sun, we all gently and calmly started to align. It was as if, as once as we'd finished speaking, our tutor transposed her zen-like disposition onto the group…we sat in silence and just looked at each other. No awkwardness, just peace and smiles.
We looked like boats moored in the same harbour, all different shapes, sizes and colours, from different ports in the world, but all serenely facing the same direction, smiling and bobbing to the same tune….. and also, slightly falling in love with our new sensei, Clare (you know who you are!)
(Beautiful Hvar Town circa 2016) - because its a lovely pic and place!
Thinking back now, I cannot remember how or exactly what happened, but we just knew that despite our many differences, and reasons for being there that day, we were all cut from a very similar cloth, and in that moment the bonding had miraculously begun.
We were spit into breakout groups to discuss contracting. A key starting point for any coach, wannabe or real. What did we need from the tutors, each other, and then of course what would we contract with ourselves? As each group reflected back; kindness, trust and honesty prevailed. Space, time and presence powerfully common.
(My scribblings for my self contract circa Apr 2021)
It was clear we all felt vulnerable, each one of us had doubting voices, we were all in need of some ‘credentials’, we raised each other up way over our own abilities, but also shared a willingness to reveal our failures, our insecurities and work together with unconditional positive regard for each other in order to find our inner coaches and grow them calmly and safely.
Without knowing it the psychological safety in our team had started to happen, there was an unexpected care and openness between us. Some teams take years to form this, but the Barefoot training model (induction day!) had got us there in hours. This felt like a good start, my new team now to be known as OL17, and I were about to embark on a journey like no other....together.