I have particularly valued the opportunity to construct my own agenda and discuss candidly with someone from outside the University but who clearly understands the context. Equally importantly, it has been a positive experience to be challenged in a supportive but direct way. It is good sometimes to be put on the spot and required to decode the language we hide behind professionally.
My approach to the long term and day to day have changed and become more strategically focused. I am delegating more effectively and finding that I am clear in setting boundaries and recognising when areas of work are out of scope. Lines can be blurry in the areas I work in. I have become much more proactive in defining limits and negotiating more effectively when asked to move beyond them.
Coaching has been challenging and thought provoking as I expected but at the same time very supportive and I have found this balance extremely constructive. The freedom to explore difficult situations was perhaps something I hadn’t anticipated, and whilst uncomfortable initially, was handled very professionally and sensitively and, in hindsight, was not only cathartic but fundamental to moving forwards.
Specifically, I have valued Sally’s ability to create a relaxed environment conducive to sharing and reflection, peppered with the perceptive question which suddenly requires you to dig deeper. I have found that my reflections often continue long beyond the session and that is often when I find new ways forward.
Thinking unthinkable thoughts! If I had to sum up one result from this experience it would be this. it resonates in so many ways.
I value the time to stand back; actually having to articulate to another and explain challenges, issues or contexts, rather than just talking to myself in which assumptions can go unchallenged and the implications of issues and my own dispositions can escape too close examination. I find coaching sessions therapeutic because of the unburdening aspect – don’t have to be conscious of what I say or how I say it, or careful of interests and investments of listener! I have used insights from the sessions around effects of my behaviours or actions, and an outside perspective, to weigh alternatives and consider other approaches. I am being more relaxed as a leader and letting the team ‘have its head’ on many issues – backing decisions I would not have made.
To say my career is where it is due to the coaching with Sally would be no exaggeration. My time with Sally is not only valuable and reflective but it allows me to view situations in ways I would have never considered. I will never forget the time when faced with a difficult decision Sally invited me to close my eyes and imagine each scenario then explain how my stomach felt for each… ‘head, heart and stomach all have to be aligned to be the right decision’ she explained…. I have never looked back and only look forward to my next coaching session and the next step in my career.
It sounds a bit ‘corny’ but my outlook on life has changed quite dramatically. I no longer worry about things I have no control over. Talking through some of my emotional issues made me realise those are barriers to my becoming a confident person. Focusing on one issue at a time has helped put things into perspective.
Coaching is providing a well-informed and structured sounding board . Sally has raised challenging questions which are often ones that exist in my mind but which are easy to bury under the daily ‘busy’. It’s really pushed me to explore areas of my working life that are often neglected.
This has been a wholly positive process. Sally has provided a safe place to reflect, to be challenged, to test out new ideas and explore thoughts. Through coaching, I have begun to see myself differently, have altered my view of my role and opened my mind to new possibilities for myself and my role.