I once read a quote by Brian Tracy, a famous motivational speaker, which has played on a loop in my mind: “Fear and self-doubt have always been the greatest enemies of human potential.” My main takeaway from this was that I have full control over whether I reach my potential, right? Since fear and self-doubt are emotions, surely I can dictate and control these emotions and direct my potential. Unsurprisingly, I’ve come to realise it is not nearly as easy as this, and I — along with most people — need help to understand these emotions and manage them. Coaching is by far the most powerful tool I’ve been privileged enough to be introduced to. It has helped me both directly and indirectly, in personal and professional settings, and guided me to be more conscious and present when making important decisions or handling difficult situations.
One of the first concepts I was introduced during the Make Your Mark course was the inner critic. Although I was always aware of this voice which pointed out reasons why I couldn’t do something, why I might not be as good as somebody else, or why I was silly for trying something because I wouldn’t succeed, I just assumed this was normal and, a lot of the time, believed it to be realistic. After all, it was me talking to me! I’d never treated it as its own entity, externalised it like an intruder in my head, or considered the impacts it may be having on me pursuing my potential. This is what Make Your Mark introduced to me. The course taught me methods to identify when the inner critic’s thoughts are becoming too oppressive and how to manage them. The course didn’t expect my inner critic to evaporate; it taught me how to spotlight it — to actually notice and acknowledge its presence — and subsequently manage to what extent it impacts my mindset. A main learning point was that having an inner critic is not abnormal, nor is it something to be ashamed of (you could go so far as to say anyone who claims they don’t have an inner critic just hasn’t actively acknowledged it), but rather the true abnormality lies in somebody who actively manages and tones it down. There is no way to quantify the impact these management techniques of the inner critic have had, however I can confidently say using them is now second nature.
Closely aligned was how to sound and appear more confident. Addressing the inner critic targets confidence from the inside, yet allowing that to be portrayed externally takes just as much tact and effort. Even as somebody who would say they’re an extrovert, loves public speaking, and knows the benefits of body language, the confidence tools I’ve picked up from Make Your Mark hold true power and versatility when faced with new situations. At the age of 21, I’m not naïve to the fact that I likely have not faced my biggest challenges in life (in fact, I hope I haven’t!). Make Your Mark’s tools have supported me through interviews, internships, navigating difficult conversations, tackling challenging times at university, and day-to-day minorities which sum to major change in composure. Ultimately, it has made my mind my biggest ally and a greatly equipped toolbox for tackling life.
Following from Make Your Mark, I — alongside five other Coachsters colleagues — embarked on a professional coaching qualification led by Tracy Sinclair, called the Science & Art of Coaching This flipped my perspective, as I was now being taught how to coach rather than being coached! The course was rewardingly challenging, and it unlocked a new appreciation for the skill of coaching; it should be held in high esteem, and I am in utter awe of professional coaches such as Tracy and Susan. By knowing both roles intricately — those being the coach and the coachee — I can alternate between these voices, self-coaching myself on demand. More importantly, though, I hope to use and build on the skills I’ve learned to benefit others, allowing more people to realise the invaluable lessons I learn and continue to. Coaching has become a passion of mine, and without Coachsters it would have been an area of my potential which laid dormant indefinitely.
How has Coachsters helped me realise my potential? Truthfully, I don’t know. Coaching (both learning the skill and being coached) is one of the largest lessons of delayed gratification. I can’t predict when I’ll need it, but months after a coaching session or course, I’ve found myself using something I didn’t even know I remembered. This is where the true value lies which, with continued effort and commitment to coaching and the skills taught, I expect to continue for a lifetime.
Article by Emily Dow, Founding Coachster
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