By Erica Crumley, PCC
Coaching has always been second nature for me throughout my careers. There is something special about being able to help someone by doing something so simple as listening and asking deep questions. It’s a rewarding role that not only creates the opportunity for enlightenment in those you coach, but also in yourself.
The coaching experience is all about person you’re helping; however, I find it just as satisfying to see change and be a part of it. It is an honor to bear witness to an individual’s evolution, and by virtue of the experience, I find that it does change you, as the coach, most times for the better.
Taking the coaching program at UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education was career-changing and life-changing. It impacted me in so many ways. I immersed myself and engaged deeply in the experience. They say going to uncomfortable places creates growth, and I can assure you that this program did indeed do precisely that.
There were so many life-changing moments and learning experiences in this program. One of the most impactful was when our teacher told us a story about just listening to others. He was telling us about a conversation he had, in which he used his coaching skills and asked the person, “How can I help you?” The way he spoke, his tone and his intention with those very words were life-changing for me. I went through the following weeks experiencing how powerful those five words-that question-could be to those seeking a career in life coaching. It changed the core of how I presented myself. It evolved my approach to how work and life could be transformed by the simple process of fully engaging yourself with your clients, with the goal of understanding, “How can I help you?”
That question, and where it might take you in your client engagements, is limitless. It is bound only by how much you might help your clients and how dedicated you are to your profession as a coach. The answers can be a life-changing experience for both.
I use coaching in all aspects of my life-as a career coach and consultant, a business coach and consultant, and in my full-time job. I even use it with family and friends. When I have a moment, I reflect on lessons I’ve learned and even work to coach myself — striving to ask myself hard, honest, direct questions. I often do this through journaling when I feel I need to reassess my personal goals and journey.
Coaching is about today and beyond, not what’s in the past. One question, one moment of insight and self-reflection with a client, could genuinely change their course. Just as a question did for me.