4 ways the community aims to serve our fellow coaches.
In late December 2018 my friend and colleague Rob Rave and I opened the virtual doors to our online coaching community. In the few weeks since then our membership has grown to over 200 members from a range backgrounds, including corporate coaches, supervisors, independent coaches and coaches still learning their craft. In this short article we'll share why we created the community and what we aim to deliver for its members.
What coaches need
Between us, Rob and I are connected to hundreds of coaches on LinkedIn and we know many coaches personally. These networks have taught us about the challenges that coaches face day to day, and the community we've founded has, at its core, a desire to help alleviate these challenges and support our fellow coaches in their continuous development as they seek to go to the next level.
One of the challenges that surprised us the most was that of coaches feeling isolated in their occupation. Considering it's such a people-based field of work it's remarkable that people skilled in communication and forging powerful relationships with others can find it a lonely existence at times. Coaches describe an experience of going from client to client without ever having the space for self or shared reflection. Studies in the world of sport have shown that performance can grow markedly if a team take the time to bond and reflect on the game in a relaxed social environment. Taking this beyond the world of sport, perhaps this explains the popularity of 'Happy Hour' as a means to unwind after a tough day in the office!
Coaches, especially those working independently, rarely have this kind of social interaction with like-minded workers available on-tap compared to those working in other areas. Thus they miss the opportunity to reflect and grow, relax and unwind, and let off steam with people who understand them and the nature of their work. A coach's solitary working style and the confidentiality agreements they make with their clients put up significant barriers to having a similar resource available to them.
Being part of a community of coaches can pay huge dividends in this regard - after all, what person working as a coach or change-worker doesn't enjoy connecting with others? Our community, while it is hosted online, provides the opportunity to connect with others in a safe and supportive environment via shared posts, private messages and video conferencing, all of which can help coaches to feel less alone and instead part of a supportive group of like-minded souls.
2. Share new ideas, gain advice
In his personal-development book "Think and Grow Rich" written in 1937, Napoleon Hill describes the concept of a Master Mind group. The aim of the group is one of mutual support and inspiration. Being part of a group of individuals and being able to share and reflect on new ideas can be a huge positive influence on both you and your coaching business. To paraphrase a popular expression, "if you're the most knowledgeable person in the room, find another room" - it is always useful to spend time with individuals who can help you raise your game and inspire you to stretch your coaching craft and capabilities. Surrounding yourself with others who are doing or have done the things you are seeking to achieve can be an incredibly positive influence.
The Pure Praxis Coaching Community includes members ranging from new coaches to those with decades of experience, including master coaches, supervisors and even the odd visiting professor! We encourage you to fully immerse yourself in such an environment, ask questions of, and share ideas with, the group. Experts are usually delighted to share their wisdom and stories with others. If you have skills you wish to develop, allow being in a rich environment such as his to pull you up to the accomplished level of the group.
Experienced coaches also gain great satisfaction from sharing their expertise and making a difference. Sharing new ideas and teaching others can serve to deepen the knowledge not just of the sharee but of the sharer.
3. Get tips
The world of coaching touches many fields of research and exploration. To me, this is one of the most exciting things about the field. We understand so little about how the mind works that new research in neuroscience and psychology is constantly introducing ideas for ways to work with individuals seeking to make changes through coaching.
Not keeping up to date with the results of latest research or current best practice could mean that you are not delivering the best value to your clients as you could be. Many professional coaches grasp the importance of continuous personal development (CDP) and actively work to keep their skills up to date, fresh and evolving.
A group of coaching professionals can quickly share the latest ideas in the field and perhaps more importantly, whether they are proving useful with clients. This allows the group to grow in fresh insights and ideas far more quickly than one person could do on their own. There is an additional benefit to sharing with others working in different modalities and client-bases, in that it allows cross-fertilisation of ideas - leading to synthesis of new methodologies drawing upon a range of subject areas and expertise. I was recently pleased to be a part of a video call where a practitioner working with young people was sharing the methodologies they use with a coach from the business world. It was uplifting to see them sharing ideas and finding commonalities in their working styles, inspiring one another to change and evolve their approaches.
4. Support / Confidence
A significant number of coaches we speak to don't have access to a supervisor. A supervisor can be a huge asset to a coach in reflecting upon and learning from the coaching situations they encounter. It's not the same, and coaching supervision is something that all coaches should have access to, but a community can go some way towards meeting the support benefits that a relationship with a supervisor can provide.
The support of a strong network of similarly minded folks can provide more subtle psychological benefits too - knowing you have the backing of a group of people who have been through similar challenges can pay huge dividends in confidence and assuredness.
Join our free coaching community today, just click the link below. The community is offered free of charge and aims to deliver all the support detailed above though it's online discussion, shared resources and communication channels. Our members report huge benefits to feeling part of something and having the mutual support of their fellow members.
We invite you to sign up, engage, make yourself at home and get as much from the community as you wish. If you know anyone else who might similarly benefit, please share this article with them.
We look forward to meeting you and to you joining the conversation.