A Coaching Journey

I found the following in my Inbox and was intrigued: ‘Why are we providing coaching to NGOs free of charge which otherwise cost thousands of HK dollars per hour basis?

Because we want more small to medium sized NGO leaders to experience the power of coaching, a tool of growing importance. And we believe that by enhancing the effectiveness of leaders, in turn, they will create an even bigger impact to the community they serve.

We also believe that the most powerful coaching arrangement ideally starts from the leadership team of the organization. And the success of coaching is highly depending on the willingness and the commitment of the selected coachees’

I was intrigued mainly because as the Director of the Samaritans I have always strived to be the very best I can be. But being at the ‘helm’ can be a lonely place without a sounding board or a reality check.

I wasn’t really sure what I was going to talk about because of the confidential relationship we have with our callers. Nothing that transpires between us is ever spoken of outside Samaritans. That is the rock on which Samaritans stand and to me confidentiality is the overriding principle that cannot be bowed

But I thought even if I don’t know quite what I am going to talk about, this is an amazing gift. Someone is willing to listen to me and guide me. So I said Yes Please.

I met Sally at the petrol station and as we drove to the Centre I knew that I was in the hands of a capable, caring, trustworthy and delightful person.

Sally always challenges me. She asks questions like “Is that open to negotiation?” “If not how are you going to accomplish your goals?” Indeed what are your goals? She referred me to people who had been in similar circumstances to get their take on the challenge. I particularly liked the way she doesn’t allow me to dwell on things that hadn’t gone as well as I had hoped and said “We are at this point here and this is the way forward” So no wasted discussion on what might have been. She was particularly inspiring when I was beginning to feel weighed down. ‘You can do it’ she said ‘you’re bright’ I was amazed at what confidence she had in me and as a result I had confidence in myself and renewed energy.

So what is coaching? To me it is a two person discussion on identifying goals and owning them. At looking at the possibilities and options. At being gently guided not bamboozled. Being challenged to look at what can be achieved.

I was able to achieve something which I really doubted I could do. But with inspiration, ground work and preparation, calmly being able to gather my thoughts and present them succinctly I was able to achieve that goal.

Could I have done it without Sally’s coaching, guidance and belief in me I am not sure. Perhaps but I am sure I couldn’t have coped so well.

If anyone asks me the value of the pro bono coaching I have received I would say it is priceless. I am very grateful to have had this opportunity to grow and develop.

Liz Chamberlain


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