While watching a few episodes of the ‘Roseanne’ Reboot this spring (pre-scandalous drama) I couldn’t help but cringe as the ‘Jackie’ character would pepper the conversation with a zippy ‘As a Life Coach…’ comments…
When did the title ‘Life Coach’ start feeling a punchline?
I started looking at a path to coaching about 5 years ago, and couldn’t find one single program that offered anything that sounded tangible to me, so I kept it on the waaaaaay back burner.
As the years wore on, the term ‘Life Coach’ has taken on a somewhat tarnished image, as it seems these days you can barely scroll through your newsfeed without bumping into an advert for a ‘coach’ of some colourful description…. Wellness coach, women’s empowerment coach, colourtherapy coach, intuitive sprouted wheatgrass coach, YOU
get the picture.
Many of these ‘coaches’ don’t have ANY credentials or training listed...much less certified coaching programs, and while I am a fierce advocate for ‘Life School’ I also think that offering paid services under a specific title should be held to a high level of integrity. and WHAT is this?!? ------------------------------------->
When I first learned about the Clifton StrengthsFinder offered by Gallup, I was enthralled..my education in Employment Counselling taught me the value of psychometric assessments, and if I'm being honest, kinda get me ‘geeking out’. I love the tangible aspect of these kinds of things. NO fluffy business. REAL results. REAL direction. And Gallup was most definitely a name I could get behind!!!
When I realized I could become certified as a coach, I was IN!!!
Now for the FUN part… I realized the Canadian course wasn’t until being offered until the late fall, and that I could TRAVEL for this training!!!
Based on scheduling, my choices were narrowed down to Manila Philippines, or Bangalore India. In the end, I chose Manila, and I am SO happy that I did!! (more on that in a moment) NOT only am I glad I chose this location...I am absolutely over the moon about this training!!
Many, and in fact, MOST trainings I attend leave me frustrated, and often impatient (the downside of my top strength being ‘Activator’) I want things to move faster, offer more depth, have a clearly defined agenda, maintain time integrity and keep it fresh, and at the least, relatable and relevant, bonus marks for funny and engaging. No pressure, right?!? I know. I know. The bar is set high. And. Why shouldn’t it be?! Being a coach/trainer/facilitator has always been a dream of mine, so when I see someone who doesn’t take pride in their work, and responsibility for the job they have to do?!? Le sigh. This all sounds negative, but I want to preface my feedback on THIS training through this lens. To date, my most rewarding and satisfying experience at a training was Power Yoga Canada 200 hr Teacher Training. The commitment to deliver as promised was truly fulfilled for me. Fast forward 5 years, to this crazy proposition of flying, LITERALLY halfway around the world, for a very specialized program. Admittedly, I set the bar even higher for this one. Would Gallup come through on their promise?!? Let me answer this with a resounding YES! The trainers Jessica & Sylwia not only delivered the material in a fast paced and interactive model, but they did so while TRULY modeling what it is to operate from your Strengths, which really served to enhance the experience all the more! Living in alignment with your work, and team looks fabulous on you two, and serves to inspire all of us to seek this level of satisfaction. (I DID warn you about superlatives, right?!?)
Now. For the part that I didn’t expect... I hedged my bets going into this, and figured I’d be able to make a few connections, but was curious about how this would work if I was the ‘outsider’ crashing this Pinoy Party! To my delight, the first face I was greeted by was not only welcoming, but matched MY brand of enthusiasm and then kicked it up a notch from there!
Apa was my first ambassador, and warmest possible welcome to the Philippines, and I will remember this always. I later came to meet Jon & Ian, who, while presented as much quieter, they were equally warm and helped me to feel right at home. We were able to connect and appreciate each other’s strengths, food recommendations (let’s be honest, this is pretty important!!) and truly come away enriched. (At least I hope I was able to contribute as much as I received!!).
My Pinoy admiration also extends to Keno, who acted as our group concierge...always ensuring our (outrageously plentiful and delicious) snacks and coffee & tea service were always looked after, and our room was kept comfortable and clean. It was evident that he put his whole heart into his work, and took great pride in caring for our group.
We also had the privilege of collaborating with new friends from Dubai via Pakistan, Indonesia, Shanghai, Singapore and California! How fascinating to be able to share insights from a truly global team, and realize that, for the most part, we really are more similar than we are different. Fun fact...the strongest representation was actually from Singapore, with FIVE of our 12 hailing from here. I didn’t know on day 1, that I would soon be ‘adopted’ by this group of absolutely beautiful souls. Rachel, Viv, WeeKing, Paul and James. Even if you are the only 5 ppl in Singapore who are this amazing, I’d still consider moving there!
When I was planning this trip, I intentionally chose accommodations that went beyond basic lodging, anticipating that I’d be spending quite a bit of time there, alone. BOY, was I wrong!!! My gorgeous loft was left empty far more than it was occupied!!! From our very first dinner, when James & Viv invited me to join them, and we enjoyed ‘Pepper Lunch’ together, our evenings became an extension of our days, sharing experiences through laughter and time together. We delighted in all sorts of sharing, particularly food! Salted Egg fish skins, BBQ, Goldilocks, Dried Mango, and Bingsu will always remind me of friendships being forged. Who would have thought you could get something so valuable for FREE at a mall?!?
And as if that doesn’t sound awesome enough….and as amazing as this training was, my certification is FAR from the only valuable item that I’ve come home with...
Now, for the part I REALLY didn’t expect... I’ve shared recently about my ‘journey’ to make sense of religion, spirituality and my desire to create a relationship with the Divine. I have been operating from a place of: “I am willing, curious, and open to receive” It was immediately evident that this entire group had a STRONG connection to faith, but not at all in an overbearing, self righteous, or ‘preachy’ sense. I observed alignment of heart for all of these ppl, and saw that this faith brought with it a sense of quiet conviction, and stability. I leaned in. After each of our evening adventures, James and I walked home together. His condo being beside mine, and his chivalry insisted on him making sure I was safely delivered to my lobby each night. One night in particular, the conversation turned to religion, and ended up, HOURS, and many tears (on my part) later, with a sense of comfort, alignment and connection that I never dreamed would be possible for me. And, even better, a sense that this is truly just the beginning.
James. Your generosity of spirit in this conversation is something I will carry with me always. You are an absolutely incredible ambassador of faith, truth, and light. I know that looking for the good in people is an innate strength of mine (Positivity is my #6 strength!) but Mr Ong, in you, I see something beyond words.
James' top strength is Connectedness, and it was ABUNDANTLY clear that our meeting was no coincidence, and we both took away something special.
The most amazing thing happened on the morning after our discussion. Jessica came to say good morning and as we were chatting, she paused and looked slightly puzzled. ‘You look different today’ she said. ‘There’s something about you today’ she said. And I assured her it was more than my lipstick 😉 The following day, I recorded a video for my oil community. If I’m being honest, I forced myself to do it without a bunch of superficial ‘fixing’. I was sweaty from the day, any makeup I’d put on that morning was LONG gone, and my hair was a limp, frizzy mess. The result?!? I have never had more compliments on how I looked?!? I am still a little dumbfounded on this, but I did go back and watch a little bit of it, and beyond the frizz, shiny skin, and visible bra strap (my poor mother!!!)
I saw my heart.