Your first child. Like many parents, I vividly recall my moment of reality when I realised my life (in a weird and wonderful way) would never be the same again.
Being pregnant with my first child now feels like a time of great excitement and also great indulgence. Baby showers, afternoon naps, discussing possible names, pre-natal classes, books on pregnancies and child rearing and yes, obligatory yoga. Lots of advice such as “get the rest while you can, you’ll need it” followed a knowing smirk or laugh. I would indulgently laugh too, for the truth was I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into.
When my first child was born after a difficult and complicated delivery, I was delighted to discover that breastfeeding for me was pretty uncomplicated. The nurse came in and helped my gorgeous little boy latch on. Once feeding was complete, I snuggled down into bed, content that I could tick the accomplishment of breastfeeding off my list of things “a mother”does.
Rest was short lived. Less than 2 hours later, I was woken up to repeat the exercise. Reality set in. I would need to repeat breastfeeding again, and again and again….A full night’s sleep was not on the cards for a long long time. In fact, my life was now devoted to feeding and protecting this little boy. It’s hard to describe that moment. It’s been best described to me as joyless love. A complex contradiction where your heart is going to burst with love, and yet your mourning your life as an individual that will never be the same. (I was diagnosed with Post Natal Depression a little later…)
I often feel there are similarities to coaching & raising children. As parents it’s on us to create a space for where our children can grow and thrive. A place where they can question themselves, others and the world around them. A place where they can safely push boundaries, learn consequence and build resilience.
And like giving birth, sometimes in coaching we will never be fully prepared on what is ahead of us. No matter how many books, stories, advice, processes and structure we put in place, the process of coaching is ultimately one of discovery both for the coach and those being coached. We learn what we need to coach on, by coaching. This is especially true when there’s a lot of uncertainty and change around.
That’s not to say we can’t prepare or that we can’t get help. Preparation and groundwork in setting expectations can be vital. Having someone to coach/mentor you through initial days can make the difference between a successful quality coaching initiative and a failed one.
Mostly in tech though, it’s through starting and doing something that we begin to understand and learn. Yes, at some point you may stuff up. I have stuffed up many a time, and sometimes that’s been really hard to handle. Have a mindset that you don’t have all the answers, and it’s ok to not have all the answers. Ask those around you for their input. Above all, be open to learning and discovery. A great example of someone with this mentality is Elisabeth (Lisi) Hocke who pairs with people all over the world to learn. If you can encourage that within yourself and in those around you, you may just find that the answer of ‘where to start’ lies within.
P.S My two boys are now 17 and 18. They are intelligent, articulate, compassionate and positive young men. They are huge source of pride to me.