Communication: to hear and be heard!

Number four of our 7 C’s of purpose is communication and there are three very important reasons why communication means so much us. First of all, communication is important in my coachees’ personal relationships. Nobody is a mind-reader, and I find myself saying this to my coachees quite a lot. For people who have been through particularly difficult experiences, being able to say how you feel or to ask for what you need is pretty terrifying. Those who have been through abuse fear the consequences, those who have suffered loss or neglect feel it is pointless, and those who have had significant illnesses often do not want to worry or burden their loved ones with problems. The issue is that, as discussed in community and connection, we need trust in order to have open and honest relationships, and keeping things bottled up only causes pain to everyone involved.

Secondly, communication is important in the coaching relationship itself. As a coach, I need to be able to tailor the way I communicate to suit the coachee, whether that is in my verbal communication or in the activities we undertake. Non-verbal communication is also instrumental in being able to put coachees at ease, from how the physical environment of the session is set out, right down to thinking about not fidgeting too much or crossing my arms. And just as my verbal and non-verbal communication informs my coachee, so does theirs inform me, and I need to be able to recognise triggers and changes in my coachees in order to help them. Finally, on this point, and going back to the point above, I may have a number of skills and talents, but mind-reading is not one of them. Therefore, I always encourage my coachees to call me out on anything that they feel uncomfortable with.

Thirdly communication is the key to advocacy. Raising awareness around issues of resilience and wellbeing drives pretty much everything that I do. From the books I read and the topics I study right down to learning from my own personal experiences, everything can be used for the benefit of others. In my last job I used to travel around a bit talking about certain aspects of my journey; I found it exhausting and often quite nerve-wracking, but what kept me going was the belief that it stopped just one person from getting to the same place I did, then it’s all worth it. I do actually enjoy speaking and it is something I would like to do more of. My aim for 2020 was get an international speaking engagement but I think the current COVID-19 situation might prevent that from coming to fruition.

I’m still very excited as to where my communication projects might take me this year, with a text book and a workbook in the process of coming together, there are still many ways that I can potentially have the impact that I would like as a coach, including, obviously, through my coaching sessions themselves. I am intrigued as to whether there is anything I’m not doing, in regard to communication, that people would like to see? A newsletter perhaps? A mailing list? More videos? Please let me know by either commenting on the post or emailing me at gemmalouisecoaching@gmail.com.

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