Review of the free two day life coaching course in London

At the weekend I attended a free two day course in London on life coaching which was run by the Coaching Academy.  I have always been curious about the synergy between coaching and counselling/psychotherapy and, therefore, decided to explore what coaching was all about.  

The course promised that I would  learn some coaching fundamentals over the course of two days as well as having the opportunity to practice coaching skills. The Coaching Academy website also referred to the opportunity to be coached by my peers, witness a coaching demonstration and then leave with a series of tools and techniques that would make a significant difference to my life.

there was an absence of hard sell techniques

The venue was the De Vere venues in Portland Place which was very comfortable and more than adequate. I had been skeptical about the content of the course, beforehand,  as I feared that it would be little more than a self marketing exercise for their diploma courses. I figured that as an organisation they would be compelled to push their range of fee incurring courses at every opportunity given that they were taking a massive hit on the provision of free training. They probably have a corporate deal with the venue but even still, the central London location would not be cheap. To my surprise, however, there was an absence of hard sell techniques.  Yes, they mentioned their portfolio of courses on offer throughout the weekend (and by the last session they were really pushing these) but I didn’t feel that their marketing was particularly excessive.

Coaching Academy graduates, we were told, progress to a wide range of future coaching roles.  Numerous graduates set up their own businesses as professional coaches. Pictures of past delegates were plastered around the front of the room like the Colgate kids as they were all smiling with shinny white teeth.

So what did we do in two days?

I liked the format of the course in that it was quite interactive. There was plenty of opportunities for one to one work as well as small group work. We were introduced to techniques and theory, some of which was pretty new to me. If you have personal material to work on then you will welcome the structure of the two days. The other delegates were very receptive to undertake the work and all seemed very friendly.

The facilitators were quite good (I know that sounds so bland) but I liked Ruth Morris and Mike Blissett in that their style was not the kind of high energy presentation that I tend to find annoying.

The GROW Model

A good way of thinking about the GROW Model (Goals, reality, options (or obstacles) and way forward) is to imagine how you would plan a journey. Typically, you would first decide where you are going (which is the goal), and then establish where you currently are (your current reality). To utilise the GROW Model the exercise is then to explore various routes (the options) to your destination. Finally, establishing the will, you ensure that you’re committed to making the journey, and are prepared for the obstacles that you could meet on the way.

Wheel of Life Exercise

The 8 sections in the Wheel of Life represent balance. The sections are health, career, money, friends/family, personal growth, fun, home-life and romance or similar. The wheel contains eight sections that when viewed as a totality represent one way of describing a whole life. You, as coach, or your client may have other labels or categories or may wish to divide friends and family.

The Comfort Zone exercise

Perhaps the first step to moving out of your comfort zone is realising that you are in one. Coaches will often say to do something that scares you every day. The more one can make a habit of pushing o out of our comfort zone, the easier it becomes.

The Timeline exercise

This is essentially an NLP exercise where you imagine that you have the things you aspire to in the future. You set your goals and then imagine that you have achieved them. What are your magical moments?

The aforementioned exercises are useful tools in any context whether in counselling, personal growth, business or social. We also had some tuition on the elevator speech. I digress but did you know that the majority of people sacked at Apple were those unfortunate enough to spend time in the elevator with the late Steve Jobs. Presumably, staffers were unprepared for the need to roll out the elevator speech in response to an intimate moment with their overall boss.

Did I come to a decision as to whether coaching skills may play a role in my future?

By 5pm on the second day of the course did I know what coaching was and what it isn’t? I would have to say yes.  Did I come to a decision as to whether coaching skills may play a role in my future?  I would again say yes.  Was I in a position to make an informed decision as to what the next steps might be if I had coaching in mind? Again the answer is yes. I came away with some useful tips and tools as well as gaining further insight into my own limiting beliefs.

Would I recommend the free two day course?  Yes (in a  word). The combination of networking with like minded people as well as being in an inspiring environment for two days can help with personal motivation for the progression of goals.  Ivan Turgenev once said that if we wait for the moment when everything is ready we shall never begin. Perhaps he had something with that statement.

Other resources

Brian Tracy website

Brian is a motivational speaker and author