Updated: Oct 14, 2021
It’s taken me longer than expected to write this final blog. Much, much longer. It’s not my absolute last ever blog, (“Ahhh” I hear you sigh) but the last on this journey to becoming a ‘real’ coach. The last for 2021 at least. “Phew!" you murmur….
I said at the very beginning of this meandering waffle, that my blogging was unashamedly for me. Simply in order to satisfy my need to ponder and prepare for my mammoth essay writing expectations…. This has not changed, but I thank you all for reading my drivel and for commenting. Especially those who have reached out and personally contacted me to share your own stories and reflections. I’ve loved every one of them and am touched by our connections. Thank you for taking the time to make me smile!
So why has it taken me so long to finish this….? Probably much like my Barefoot journey I wasn’t ready for it to end. Despite completely forgetting that anyone read the blogs when I was writing them, it was always a delightful surprise to hear from someone for whom my words had impacted. It would spur me on to write the next one….and again, and again, that’s why you poor sods have had 12 of them!
On reflection that sounds again,
utterly self-fulfilling…. I couldn't end my story telling because the attention from you lot kept me going - Damn! This reflective writing is a bugger for showing you a mirror overflowing with massive “headedness”!
In all honesty I haven’t been sure how to end this journey with words. It’s not really ended you see rather only just begun. However, that first journey, the one to which I happily and confidently call myself a coach… yep I’m content that’s over.
I am a coach. It’s not a job, or a role, it is just simply who I now am.
I thankfully have realised that I don’t have to coach in every interaction I have. There are times I will give out advice, that’s when I mentor or 'sister'. Or when I give clear firm direction, as I will when parenting. I won’t always listen as perfectly as I’ve been trained to do….. So, friends please stop expecting me to be all serene and coach-like, and not talk over you with bubbling excitement after I’ve shared a bottle(s) of wine with you….it just won’t happen - no one is that good, not even Yoda!
(Thank you Conchita)
But in my soul, my gut and in my heart, I am now a 'real' coach. Not an imposter playing at fixing others. But someone who along with 14 other phenomenal human beings was taught by the absolute best. The ethos you are exposed to at Barefoot seeps over you like blue ink on a white shirt, and floods you from the inside. It fills you up, it sticks to you and simply becomes part of how you think, breathe and live every day. A little like the symbiote Venom…it becomes you. (Just had to get Tom Hardy in somewhere!)
Why? Because Barefoot makes it ok to be human, the environment is considerate, thoughtful, grown up.
They allow you to care without sympathy, to show you how to support without assaulting intelligence, to firmly challenge with ‘love in your heart’. Ask questions and query without judgement. Teach you to have nothing but unconditional positive regard for your clients. To look for each and every different perspective, notice what you notice, explore your client’s feelings, and listen to their responses not to reply, but to simply hear and learn from them….to be silent and patient.
I’m ready, and writing this final blog now because last week Tuesday was the day to end this journey…. I met (via Zoom) with some of my Barefoot friends and recalled the last time I had seen them. I was a sobbing, uncontrollable mess. This day felt like a new beginning…..I felt stronger, and with their presence, ready to close out this part of the journey.
The last day of our training back in July, was beautiful. We shared feedback and reflections with each other. Our two fabulous tutors Clare Carpenter and Pete Mosley were there, and before the day had started I was already struggling to hold myself together. Tissues at the ready, but totally, unapologetically resigned to being an utterly emotional wreck - ALL DAY!
I didn’t disappoint! Almost as soon as they opened the zoom and Clare asked me how I was 'coping' the tears started. All the emotion just came out of me, I looked at the 16 fabulous people who all but 2, I had never physically met, and knew each one of them really knew me. They saw me as the 'real' inner me, and they didn’t judge any part of it. 46 years of me…..Collectively they knew more about me than any other living soul, and in the short space of time, over zoom Barefoot had created a safety and camaraderie like no other, that is through teaching perfect coaching.
Like the closing night of a long running stage play, we had lived and breathed each other’s lives, and now it was coming to an end.
Kim Morgan the fabulous founder of Barefoot, hasn’t just thrown this course together. She has studied meticulously for years, been through umpteen different schools, courses, read more books than my whole neighbourhood owns. She has also written two of the best coaching books I have read. (See Below)
Over the years she took the very best of her experiences, completely unravelled and rebuilt the worst, came up against many people who tried to knock her back, and in-spite of everything, produced something incredible. She strips away the facade, hierarchy, corporate bull and allows you to be human.....She fills the programme with authentic positivity right from the tutors to each perfectly selected trainee coach - One of her many mantras being "You are good enough"…
(Thank you Dom)
The closing of this course felt like someone ripping away my umbilical cord, so invested I had become in this new family of mine. I wasn't ready to give them up, last Tuesday reminded me I never had to. Catching up again after three months was magical. I sat there looking at my new friends knowing their own journeys so deeply, seeing how each one had metamorphosed into the beautiful human being that sat in front of me. Not all of us were there, and the absent were missed, but that care and bond between us was stronger than ever.
So get to the point Claire! Why are you lucky, lucky people….
Well, not only do you now have direct access to me, a proud Barefooter, who will happily tell you anything you want to know or understand about becoming a real coach, to the best of my ability, (please connect and let's talk). But, much more importantly there are 14 spectacular coaches that have also been made available to the world at the same time I was. They are all incredibly special in their own way and I would be overwhelmingly confident to refer you to any single one of them. They have differing styles, specialisms, techniques, tones, pace and personalities. Between them there is a perfect coach for everyone.
See you have choice and that’s always very, very lucky!
So lovely readers, friends, and colleagues, I have one final lesson for you before I close this journey down for my next one.
A great coach can help you transform a life you are living into a life you categorically love to live.
None of you are broken, you don’t need fixing. Coaching is not about working on your weaknesses or improving 'you'.
So if you have enjoyed this even for a little moment, if you have ever fancied being coached, or even just wondered how it feels or if it works, I can assure you with the right coach it is completely life changing. If you fancy giving it a go, or know someone who may be interested, contact me for a chat. If I’m not the right coach or fit for you, I have a melting pot of fanciful coaches and I guarantee one of them will be just what you need….go on treat yourself, I promise you won't regret it.
This final blog is dedicated with thanks to the fabulous team at Barefoot; Kim Morgan, Andy Chandler, Irene Poku, Liz Beck, Carolyn McDonald, Pete Mosely and the utterly charming Clare Carpenter....... Thank you 🙏🏼
And it goes without saying to my beautiful Barefoot friends; Dom, Michelle, Sanja, Marianna, Luke, Joy, Katherine, Jo, Mark, Jen, Hava, Conchita, Gabi and Cheryl, you have made this journey life changing.
On to chapter two.....’Being’ a real coach?
(End of Barefoot, end of bubbly!, new chapter)
Books by Kim:
Books by Pete
Podcast by Clare
Podcast by Dom with Kim Morgan