Having Mike as a coach has helped me to be able to express these thoughts and emotions in a safe space – without judgement. It has helped me focus on the positives and focus my mind back to why I set up the business in the first place. My mind can become a whirl of thoughts and ideas and plans and talking with Mike helps me to unmuddle it all – and I walk away much clearer. As I let the words tumble out my mouth – usually in an unstructured fashion – Mike is great at picking out the underlying key message – and reflecting it back to me. Something then ‘clicks into place’ in my head.
I’ve found that the time for reflection has helped me structure and organise my thought processes more effectively, and the end result has been more consideration of all the options open to me to resolve an issue or progress an initiative. Often, I will get caught up in the day-to-day, or in the politics or dynamics of a situation and find it difficult to step back and be objective. My coaching sessions with Mike give me the ability to consider a situation or problem from different angles, which I would otherwise find difficult to do. This typically means that I will end up taking a different route than the one I originally identified, or tackling a problem or issue that I had previously considered insurmountable.
I’m at a bit of a crossroads in my career and facing a lot of changes in my role, business and category. And it’s true to say I’m experiencing more indecision than I am familiar with and pushing for a greater clarity on what is the next best move/decision to make. The coaching has enabled me to set a 6 month ‘deadline’ to focus my efforts and give myself some time and breathing space – to hopefully feel more informed and able to make some major decisions about my future and/or next career move. It is helping to better manage the anxiety of this indecision.
It’s been really helpful for me to be able to talk to someone about work who isn’t directly involved yet has enough “real world” commercial and corporate experience to be able to be understand and probe particular areas we talk about in detail. In our coaching sessions I feel I’m able to be frank, honest and without worry that I will be judged or say the wrong thing. That trusted relationship means that I am more open that I would usually be, which often makes it easier to get under the surface of an issue to talk about the real anxieties behind them (rather than the obvious stated ones). Purely in terms of having a regular sounding board, it’s really benefitted my interactions with colleagues at all levels in the business. Often, situations feel less combustible as a result.
The sessions themselves are enormously important to give me 90 mins of ‘me time’ (that is already pre-booked and I won’t change despite numerous meeting invites/requests!). In my role it’s a luxury to have this time to focus on myself and to be able to stand back, look at a situation more objectively, and at times just let off steam. I definitely feel the therapeutic benefit and reassurance of the sessions on a personal level. And importantly I trust Mike in his role as a listener/sounding board – with a great balance of empathy, pragmatism and experience.
I always leave my coaching sessions with actions; things to consider for next time, different approaches to try; reading material – so it always feels as though it’s a continual process of reflection, and not just an occasional, intermittent conversation. The feedback that Mike gives me during the sessions is always honest and frank and also helps me with perspective (getting some, usually). I frequently find that I am reflecting on that feedback in the weeks immediately following the session too and adjusting my approach as we go.