Professional Coaches: Building a Supportive Community

Dedicated to the Wild Women: Jennifer, BJ, Karen, Paulette, Jan, Mo, Sigrid & me.

It was 10 years ago I began coach training with the Academy for Coach Training (now Invite Change). The training itself was supportive from the start. Coaches are trained to take a good hard look at our own “stuff” and deal with it so we can be clear and focused for our clients.  We  students supported each other during this often challenging self-reflection and training.  We were in this together and no one was exempt from the tenderness and truth-telling we were asked to do.  Our trainers supported us by creating the space of safety and trust, with the expectation that we could and would rise above our smallness and reach for the stars.  And they were real-life role-models for us.

My training took a year.  After graduation, several of us decided to form a support group so we could practice our coaching and help each other as we grew into our new profession.  We called ourselves the Wild Women, and began to have monthly meetings over dinner or lunch.  We have gone on annual retreats  and celebrated our birthdays and other important life-events.  We have bi-weekly hour-long conference calls, where we each take a few minutes to share what’s up in our lives and businesses.  We share what we’re reading, thinking, stretching toward.  If one of us needs special support, we get it and give it.  Our retreats always include generous amounts of time (at least an hour) for each one of us to receive the full attention of 7 professional coaches who are also loving friends.

My Wild Women buddies have been a large part of why I continued to be a coach when it was so  challenging to  make a living. We were pioneers.  Coaching had not yet become a commonly known term when we began.  We were part of the  wave of path-makers, tromping down the tall grasses of misinformation and newness, forging the way to a sea rich with possibility!  That is  what we do as coaches- help people see what is possible and support them as they go for it.  This is an honor in life and it is my chosen profession.  I have my long-term partnership with my Wild Women buddies to thank.

This is where it’s at, coaches.  Become  part of a network of  coaches who meet regularly in an authentic, loving way while also being structured and focused.  Nurture it, feed it, grow with it and it will serve you beyond what you can imagine.  This is not the only support network of which I am a part, but it was the first and is the longest lasting.  And this gift just keeps giving.

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