"It demystified what coaching is and what's possible"

Harry McMullen is the Training Coordinator for People And their Brilliance, an employability skills training company that offers training to people who are on placements through the kickstart scheme in the UK. At the time of the interview, Harry had recently started training as a coach himself, and taken the Tuff Coaching Jobseekers Training and here’s what he took from it.

What surprised you most about training?

I think the thing that surprised me the most about the training was, how little it had to do with doing and how much it had to do with being. I think before I didn’t give a lot of thought to how I was being as a coach, and in sessions and just in life, generally, I had a lot of focus on ‘what’s the right way to do it? And the wrong way to do it?’ So I could avoid the latter and do the former. And, so much of it is about, how are you showing up? What space are you creating? How are you contributing to the climate or the atmosphere in the room? And how much of an impact that that makes. I wasn’t prepared to talk about that quite so much.

I also could see in real time as we were practicing just how important that was, and what a massive change, just a small adjustment in ways of being could have, which is really challenging and core.

And how did that change you? It sounds like it changed you a bit?

So a little bit of the kind of background of how I was arriving. I had not done any coaching before. And through working with People and Their Brilliance, I’ve become introduced to the idea of coaching for the first time. And I’ve been drawn to it as something that I think I’d like to do with my life. And so I felt this kind of power imbalance: there’s all these brilliant coaches here who already work for us, already have training and already have experience, and who am I to even be here? And something about just letting go of all of that and thinking about how am I showing up? It was a really good equalizer and reminded me that we’re all human and we’re all just trying to do our best.

It sort of demystified what coaching is and what’s possible, and so I left feeling a lot more confident that I’ve made the right decision to explore it, a lot more confident in my ability to do it, and a lot more interested in, wow, there’s clearly so much more to learn and dig through and explore and practice. What was really cool was the ability to practice in the sessions, and not be taking notes on ideas, but to go through things practically.

How has it impacted your work life?

It’s definitely made my work life more interesting, rewarding. I feel more empowered within it. Definitely. I don’t know if I would say that it’s made my work life easier. I think it’s allowed me to approach my work life with more power, with more control, with more intention. And I don’t mind that it doesn’t feel easy or I feel challenged you know, diamonds form under pressure. And that was what it was like going through the sessions. And that’s been something I’ve been able to hold on throughout. I’ve been able to hold on to that in my work life and go, okay, so how am I showing up? What results Am I getting? Or, how am I affecting the outcome of situations? And yeah, I’ve seen that I can be more intentional about that. And I’ve seen that the results do change.

This has been a new space for me. And then over the last eight months, I’ve just kind of soaked in it every day. And now I’m just really committed to it.

What other results do you see?

The way I’ve showed up in working with colleagues and doing a little bit of delegating and managing the times with people in my department, I can have a better outcome, actually, by doing less, being with them.

It now all sounds very, very theoretical, but that feels really tangible to me in my in my life that I now have a better sense of what’s going on. I think I feel less pressured to do things, and I’m still having a bigger impact.

What would you say to someone thinking of doing the training?

I think just want to reiterate that thing of, you know, my advice to anyone coming to one of these courses is to prepare to be challenged, be prepared to maybe be a little bit uncomfortable at times, and be okay with it. Because I think there are many ways to spend your time when nothing changes, where you don’t change, and that’s fine. If you’re coming to a training course, the expectation is you’re going to develop in something and that might not be easy or comfortable at first. But I think stay with it, and it’ll be worth it.