Thoroughly Good Coaching: Starting a new story

Some who know me well will know that I work as a professional coach, supporting leaders, business start-ups, and managers identify solutions to their most taxing challenges.

For the first four years of my practise I had the benefit of a ready-made fully-functioning coaching network. The BBC sought to train new coaches and put them in touch with those across the organisation who sought out professional development support. What that meant was that I wasn't actively having to look for work. I got the best of both worlds: a steady stream of coaching work, plus the boon of getting to practise as a coach.

Last year I struck out on my own. I left the BBC and set up my own business (alongside a number of other activities like writing about classical music). People said things like, 'You're brave,' and 'I wish I had your guts'. In typically British style I found such compliments difficult to process and so I dismissed them. How uncharitable. How very un- coachy.

But a few months on with business underway, I'm beginning to realise what those people meant. Now their words resonate with me. I see this period in my life as an incredibly exciting (and, let's be honest, daunting). Now I want to start documenting the process of setting up my own coaching business.  

The Thoroughly Good Coaching Blog is about coaching, learning, and professional development seen through the eyes of a professional coach taking on his biggest challenge to date.

There are a number of positive coachy-style reasons for this. A list might help.

  • There could be a great many other people setting-up their own business who feel a little bit alone – a shared experience might just help support them
  • Self-reflection is an important part of the coaching process: a blog is one long self-reflection exercise
  • Good coaching practice starts with the experience of the coach – that's where a coach's motivation comes from.  Setting up a business is a challenge – sharing that experience could be useful for others doing a similar thing (though not necessarily setting up a coaching business).
  • Coaching services are a phenomenally difficult thing to sell – more so than classical music – raising awareness is an important step to take.
  • People know me primarily for classical music (and Eurovision), but not for coaching – raising awareness will also help with that
  • If people have an idea of the kind of person I am, they'll more likely seek me out for coaching work (I suspect they'll need to be avid readers)
  • Writing provides me with a sense of purpose. Developing my coaching network through writing helps fuel that sense of purpose

Expect a flawed individual throughout, one who values authenticity above shiny marketing. Where's the joy in being an expert at something? Far better we work at this thing together, isn't it? 

What to expect?

Well, expect it to be old-school for a start. I love keeping a diary – I always have.

I want to start at the beginning: why I do this; how I do this; and, what impact it has. 

But more than that, expect it to be authentic.

The kind of people I want to work with, are the kind of people I strike up a rapport with. They're curious. They like to have fun. They resist pomposity. They have quirks. They're the people who are protective of their vision because it doesn't immediately fit with the rest of the world considers is vision

Let me put it this way. You're not going to engage me in work if you're unsure whether you could get on with me, are you? And how can we get to know each other unless I'm in your office every single day? In which case, you're going to be paying me by the hour anyway?

A blog seems like a no-brainer. An easy on-demand way of getting to know me. 

Don't expect life hacks, promises to get rich quick, svelt bodies, or cheesy grins. Life is a struggle. If it wasn't, we wouldn't need coaches, counsellors or therapists. 

I'll level with you. Part of the reason for writing this blog is because I'm irritated as fuck by the preponderance of shiny coaches, grinning achievers, and smug advice-givers who purport to have life all sorted out. They don't represent me.

In my five years doing this work I recognise that all of the greatest people I've learned from are those who have made themselves vulnerable. By sharing something of themselves, I've grown as an individual. That is the secret to the effectiveness of the work I love doing. It is also the greatest barrier to getting people to engage in the coaching process.

Jon Jacob is an ICF accredited leadership coach, mentor and team facilitator. Find out more about his professional background on LinkedIn.

Email him at jon.jacob@thoroughlygood.me or call him on 07768 864655.

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