I became a certified coach in 2007 by completing an ICF ACTP certification program. Back then, I was already a therapist and I didn’t know what I was getting into. I transitioned to therapy, from a successful executive corporate career, and then to coaching. I wanted to become a certified coach because I wanted to work with corporate people and help them find and have more meaning in their work life, hence to help them find an increased sense of flow. I didn’t know that coaching would become a life-changing experience for me, and eventually transform me into the person that I wanted to become. A huge thing I realized in my career is that no matter how many people I coach and mentor, I always learn something new about myself along the way.
Coaching, that is aligned with ICF (International Coach Federation) code of conduct and competencies, has its roots in the science of solution-focused and client-centered psychology. Therefore, as a therapist that was educated in client-centered therapy, ICF coaching wasn’t totally unfamiliar to me. However, what I wasn’t aware of was the tools and skills that are taught are life-changing. So, once I realized that I disciplined myself to use them on a regular basis towards re-inventing myself.
Eventually, based on my personal experience meeting, coaching and mentoring so many of the amazing individuals who have shaped me into who I am today, I created a curriculum with my partners-in-crime, based on Positive Psychology and FLOW model, to help others to learn these life skills in their search for meaning, hence our innate inclination towards having more flow.
These tools and methods have helped me to find meaning and flow in my search for authentic happiness. Using them, I have been able to rewire my brain cells towards more solution-focused thinking and flow mindset.
Mastery doesn’t come in a day. It is a journey of ups and downs. You need to say yes to its challenges as you say yes to its rewards. You need to embrace the full experience and see it almost as a spiritual practice, similar to the one of a Zen master or a Sufi.
Looking back to my coaching career of 14 years now, I can say that not only coaching others and teaching these skills but also mastering these skills in my own life has been adding to my sense of meaning and flow. So, I want to share with you, my 5 personal practices that helped me to get here and enjoy the journey while becoming a master certified coach.
- Self-reflection: This is extremely important when you are looking to better yourself every day. If you do not know your baseline and if you are not checking, how can you know how to improve. This is where self-reflection comes in. I always ask myself the same coaching questions I ask my clients. The trick here is to also always answer them honestly.
- Learner’s mindset: Always asking myself, what am I actually learning here, and what am I going to be getting out of this? How can I learn better? How can I improve the way I am learning?
- Disciplining my attention: Years ago I accepted that I cannot do everything and cannot be everywhere. So, I pay attention to my priorities and use my time and energy accordingly.
- Knowing myself: Understanding your temperament and building your support system that nurtures that is crucial to resilience and long term success. For example, I know that I am not a loner, I function at my best with a good team and community. I have worked towards building that community. Yours might be different, so ask yourself what is my innate temperament?
- Listening to myself and my needs: I learned with a great price that if I don’t take care of myself, then no-one will. So I make time for self-care on a regular basis. This way, I am always listening to my body, and taking the time it needs to recharge and get refreshed.
These are my top 5 practices that I do every day to ensure that I am always centered and know my meaning. This has been a huge help in being able to do everything I do and succeed in all the projects I set my eyes on.
What are yours? I would love to know more.