By Jon Hobbs, #RideTheWave Coach
On Friday 8th and Saturday 9th January, I had the pleasure of engaging with 18 wonderful people on a coach training programme with #RideTheWave.
I came into the course with no formal experience of coaching and only a vague understanding of the entire concept.
I was excited to finally engage in some meaningful professional development; the last time I had paid for any form of education was at university. Over the years I’ve had some notions of starting an MBA or gaining formal accreditation for a niche skill relevant to my career but I had not seen the value nor had a golden opportunity to do so.
I was fortunate to have witnessed the development of #RideTheWave through a connection with one of the co-founders - Lucy Mullins. Over the past few years I’ve known she’s been thoroughly enthused by the community that has been building and the work they’ve been doing and that enthusiasm was infectious.
So I took the plunge and decided to see if this coaching world was for me.
Within an hour on Friday morning I was already convinced of one thing - this would be an entertaining journey and I would get to know some fantastic people. Participants had been attracted to this course from many different walks of life and just the first few snippets of conversation let me know that at the very least I’d be exposed to some interesting perspectives and stories.
Some latent misconceptions about a stereotypical “life coach” were popping into my mind and being burst by the scientific approach to the work we were carrying out - the peer reviewed models and processes informing the learning.
By lunchtime on Friday my head was swimming with ideas about how I would use the skills I was about to learn - I was hooked. One of my early reflections was that when I’m learning, I am usually more comfortable in the “listening to the authority” mode but in this environment, I found myself craving the practical elements. I couldn’t wait to practice the skills we’d just been taught in supportive and encouraging pairs, triads or groups.
A passion had been unlocked and I could tell that amongst my training cohort light bulbs were being switched on left, right and centre.
In the short term I already feel better equipped to be a better manager and colleague through deep listening, inquisitive questioning and a truly open mind.
I said goodbye to the group on Saturday evening with that exhilarating feeling of being on the start of an important journey that could lead me in many directions, all of which will enrich my professional and personal life.
Get in touch if you'd like to discuss embarking on your own coaching journey: CONTACT US
Retirement is an emotive word. For some it means a long-awaited oasis of leisure time, fulfilment of life dreams, taking up new hobbies, more time with family and friends, along with many other well-deserved “own” time activities that retirement finally provides them with the time to do.
For others it means that as well as some of the above they also want to find a new purpose for themselves personally and professionally. People in “retirement” nowadays still have such a lot to offer their industries and communities with their many years of accumulated wisdom, life experiences, skills and knowledge. They may be “drawing back” from one area of their career but not from meaningful engagement and purpose...
Wave 2 of our #RideTheWave coach training programme which began in September 2020 was a workshop with a difference. This time, aspiring coaches from across the world dialled into our virtual classroom (aka the Beach Hut!), to begin their training to become professional coaches.
We approached the virtual experience with some trepidation, curious as to how the journey to become a coach might be different in a virtual world, rather than face to face. However, on the Welcome Call the group began to collaborate, learn and laugh immediately, reassured by the opportunity to use the chat and get to know each other in the breakout rooms. One of our new #RideTheWave coaches commented: “As an introvert who is massively out of my comfort zone, I felt the Zoom protocols worked well for me personally. The 'chat facility‘ on Zoom was excellent and allowed another avenue for communication.”
Joining us from as far away as Karachi in Pakistan, the workshop had a positive impact on all of the coaches. We were delighted to read the feedback from one of our “surfers”, as we call our coaches in the #RideTheWave community - “This is one of the most exciting experiences one needs to have in their lifetime. The reason being you learn so much about yourself and how you can be a positive force for the right change in other people.”
Everybody that joins #RideThe Wave is committed to becoming a coach who will make waves in the world by using their new coaching skill in their organisations or communities, and by offering their newly developed coaching skills on a pro bono basis to charities and social impact organisations. To enable as diverse a community of coaches as possible we award 2-3 social impact scholarships on every wave of our professional coach training programme.
Leslie Lumumba, Founder of TheBuild, was awarded one of these social impact scholarships to develop his coaching skills and help young men in his community to express themselves, become more confident discussing their feelings and connect with each to provide emotional support and personal growth.
Leslie said “Joining #RideTheWave has already been an incredible experience, opening my eyes to the world or professional coaching and providing me with skills and tools to further support my community at TheBuild”
TheBuild’s core vision is about the journey of development for young men. A particular focus on financial, spiritual and relationship growth. TheBuild aims to educate and empower each member through facilitating conversations about how to achieve this growth. TheBuild provides events, programmes and experiences where young men have a space and opportunity to open up and connect. One of TheBuild members explained why the organisation is so beneficial to him: “For me, as somebody that struggles to articulate my emotions, It’s actually helped me become a bit more open and it’s really inspiring because I feel within myself that I’m growing. Everyone’s been so honest and it’s so heart-warming to be able to share these things.”
TheBuild is the first of many social impact organisations we are supporting with professional coach training scholarships and pro bono coaching opportunities. If you think your organisation would benefit from working with us on bringing about much needed change in the world then we’d love to hear from you.
You can read more about our Social Impact here.
By Coach J' , #RideTheWave Alum
Standing ankle-deep in the sea on the pebble beach of Praia Da Garajau in Madeira, I looked as far as my eyes could see. Where the sky appears to blur into the sea, and the clouds created random steppingstones, had me reflecting on my journey to become a qualified coach and mentor - what I should be doing versus what I am doing. Basically, I wanted to have a bit of a pity party. But instead, I had an a-ha moment, and for the first time in years, I felt connected to my vision and dreams. I saw my fears and acknowledged that I am the only person putting limitations on my both my coaching practice and personal life. Beyond how far the eye can see is unlimited possibilities for anyone who dares to look in the distance. Such an overwhelming moment, that renewed my faith in me and unblurred my vision - not only could I see my dreams come true, but I felt its energy in my body.
That moment was quickly broken as a wave came and almost swept me off my feet. But I stood firm, and it felt so good to stand strong against the stone-cold wave that had come up to the shore of the beach and covered my legs - an unpredictable force of nature. As I watched the water recede, I became curious about the formation of a wave and wondered what I could learn from the motion and formation of waves.
Every wave starts from energy passing through water which, comes from the wind and causes the water to move to form a wave. Waves travel and raise to various heights based on the wind and many other variables. Waves are a complex result of an amazing assortment of meteorological and geological variables that are part of an ocean that is never still always moving, very much like us humans.
No two waves are the same, and they travel at different speeds and heights. And because the sea is a never-ending bed of water that is never still, waves will always be formed, and the sea will never be still or free from waves. And, waves support each other – look at the sea – no wave travels alone – that is mind-blowing and magical to me.
The sea holds so much, and each wave that comes from it holds so much too - calm, peace, history, life, depth and the ability to just be. Waves are not perfectly formed, and they never stop moving, neither do they resist or fight against their ability to move freely and seemingly in the same direction.
The waves reminded me of my coaching family - aka Surfers – birthed from the Ride the Wave Coaching Programme, an incredible group of individuals I met just a year ago. I saw their faces in the waves and felt the energy of my elite coaching community. I'm thankful to Lucy and Sonya for having the vision and creating Ride the Wave Coaching Programme. I do believe the coaching profession will be changed because of their vision and desire to challenge the status quo. To change it from a single person profession to a community of coaches, who work in various spaces - commercial, social impact, physical training to name but a few and they do it with laughter a bit of karaoke and a lot of deep reflection.
I'm also thankful for connecting with my fellow coaches. Their collective strength and abilities continue to encourage me and having been coached by them, I know, their clients are in very safe hands and will be fortunate to work with this new wave of coaches.
Becoming a Ride the Wave alumni has been both a learning and reflective journey, which felt overwhelming at times and made me feel inadequate in a room of exceptional individuals. I've pushed and challenged myself to knock down the wall of self-doubt and remind myself of the type of coach I will be/am.
More than just providing a listening space for someone to talk - or not talk, my coaching practice will be an invitation to put your feet in the sea. To engage and connect with your own inner strength and listen to its wisdom as you ride the multiple life waves no matter the depth, height or intensity. It is beautiful to see and hear the transformational process of clients. And, it's humbling to work and watch them reconnect with their greatness but also see their faces light up when they remember how resilient they are. It's what I've learnt about myself during the programme and what I want those who choose to work with me to learn about themselves.
When life gives as waves – we just have to find new ways to stand firm and sometimes we have to relearn how to ride the wave if we get knocked down. Also, we can achieve and dream without limitations as far as we allow our eyes to see.
Here's the chance to learn a little bit more about Co-Founder, Sonya, as she talks candidly to Stephen Clements, in his podcast - The Curious Coach.
By Lucy Bramley, #RideTheWave Alum
Do you have a robust plan for work and life? Have the next 5 years all mapped out? Look back on your life’s achievements with pride at a job well done?
No, me neither!!!
I bimble through life on a rollercoaster of trepidation, joy and guilt. I regularly feel that life is something that happens to me. I’m usually surprised by deadlines and tend to look back on each day feeling that, although I’ve been busy, I’ve just not achieved much.
Let’s talk about techniques that you and I can utilise to make us feel more in control, and some simple tools to recognise our efforts and achievements.
“I love it when a plan comes together” (Hannibal Smith, 1980s)
A plan’s only going to come together if we make one, so come on let’s grasp that nettle right now! Use whatever format you feel most comfortable with to get your plan documented. Even after 22 years working in the tech sector I’m still a pen and paper gal, so I have a lovely A3 weekly planner pad. To date this has been misused for doodles, pipe dreams and shopping lists. However last Monday I committed the 6 Big Ticket Items that I wanted to get done last week to paper in the To Do section of this fine document. Is 6 things too many? Only you can decide that. Look at what’s urgent and what you really need to get done. What do you really want to get done? Do you have the time to do things justice? If not, how might you create space to do that? Do you have some fun stuff in there too? (All work and no play makes for a pretty miserable week in my view!)
So we’ve crafted our goals for the week. Well done! Now let’s look at how to ensure that these things get the focus they need over the next 5 days (or however many days you work each week). What does your calendar look like? Is it lovely, empty, and just waiting for you to block out chunks of time for the tasks you need to do? Or does it look like it has been invaded by hordes of time thieves, none of whom are interested or involved in your goals for this week. Mine’s the latter! So first up is a bit of realistic pruning. When you’ve determined what needs to be there do another check on whether that gives you the time and space to get your goals met. Is what is in your diary going to help you meet those goals? Might it introduce more work for you to do? Will you be able to schedule that extra work in? Do you need to?
Top tip – be really firm about what’s in your diary. If it’s not going to help you to execute on your plans does it need to be there?
“But don’t look back in anger, I heard you say” (Noel Gallagher, 1996)
So how was it for you? My plan worked perfectly until about 09.15am last Monday morning when Other Urgent Stuff Came In. But I greeted the new tasks with grace (and breathing exercises). I had also built a bit of contingency in my week by blocking out chunks of focus time for the unexpected. Did you find that you had bitten off more than you could chew? How will you handle that next week? I noticed that goals which I left a bit loose, and not tied to tasks on specific days did tend to slip. So I have started pegging some of my chunks of focus time to defined work.
“If we took a holiday, took some time to celebrate, just one day out of life, it would be, it would be so nice!” (Madonna, 1983)
Listen, celebrations shouldn’t just be about holidays. You should be celebrating every little achievement you make every day. When did you last pat yourself on the back for all the good things you did during your busy day? One of the great things about maintaining a plan is that you get to see your successes as you gleefully strike through them in fluorescent yellow highlighter. I take some time each week to reflect and to recognise myself and those around me for a job well done. That gives you and those you thank a little hit of dopamine. Great to set you up for more success next week.
Let me know if you found these tips helpful, and please share your productivity and motivation hints in the comments. Have a great week!
By Simon Greenwood, #RideTheWave Alum
Hello, my name is Simon and I’d like to tell you about my experience of executive coaching and how it’s helping me become a better personal trainer. I have 13 years of experience in personal training and I have been lucky enough to work with a huge variety people. Their obvious objectives are to lose weight, improve fitness and gain muscle. The majority of the time, with the right dedication and consistency, these things can be achieved. What I have learnt though over the years is each client, no matter what goal they come to me with, come with an element of external stress. This is where executive coaching can play a crucial part of reaching new goals.
These external stresses can be work related, relationships, money, mental health … the list is endless. Some clients, when external stresses were high, found it harder to be disciplined with tasks given to them regarding their gyms goals and therefore reducing their chances of achieving the results they’re working for.
This got me thinking and through this reflection I made a number of changes to my programming style to fit client’s external environment. I found the change to be really impactful to my clients’ stress levels, but there were still some inconsistencies.
Personal Training revolves around being a ‘people person’, the ability to listen well and be empathic. Although, for me, as someone who always wants to help and fix a problem I found myself being less of a sounding board but more of a ‘giver of advice’. I would try to guide a client’s actions to improve whatever it was they were struggling with in their day to day. My objective – if I can help them improve their external stresses, it will improve their chances of success in the gym. Where my intentions were always for the good of the client, my advice was more along the lines of; “this is what you should do” or “have you ever thought of trying this?”
I was advising clients on what to do, rather than allowing them to come to a decision they felt was best for them. Where this undoubtedly built trust it also leaves me as a trainer in very murky waters, especially if the outcome of my advice isn’t the desired one. I felt there had to be a better approach to helping clients with external stress and coaching in a way that puts them in the driver’s seat of their decisions.
Enter ‘Ride The Wave’ (RTW) Professional coach training. My first experience of executive coaching.
The course structure comprised three, three-day modules all of which were jammed packed with opportunities to learn, apply and reflect. The delivery of the course, incredibly interactive and relaxed, aiding in a great learning environment. However, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t walk into module one overly confident, thinking that “coaching people is what I do for a living, it’ll be easy”. Although for years I have been a ‘giver of advice’, but with my new skills in executive coaching, the strategy is not to advise, it’s to guide.
I really struggled at first, having to holding back my usual approach and taking a step back to listen. I was soon to realise that there is so much more to the art of executive coaching, a profession that requires knowledge of a vast number of coaching techniques and how best to apply them. This was uncomfortable at first, but I’m a firm believer in making the uncomfortable, comfortable, so this was a great challenge for me.
Lucy and Sonya are brilliant at what they do and enable you to really discover your own coaching style. They wanted us to bounce ideas off them and all the others on the course, giving us another opportunity to learn. The learning doesn’t just stop once you leave module three either. You build a network of fellow coaches and mentors to help continue your development in executive coaching.
#RideTheWave opened my eyes to how best to communicate with my clients. How, through the art of open questions and tools to help open perspective, you can help empower people to make their own choices to better their lives. I now use my coaching as a tool to bridge that gap between client goals and their habits outside the gym. The skills I have learned have completely changed my approach and role as a PT and will be forever grateful.
An exciting future awaits.
By Coach Dom (#RideTheWave Alum)
There’s not been a lot of light for many of us in the last few COVID-dominated weeks, but today a brilliant ray of sunshine flashed into my life when the Association for Coaching informed me that I had achieved my Executive Coaching certification – and I was now an accredited Foundation Executive Coach.
By Sonya Shellard.
I’ve been running accredited coaching courses in the UK for many years now and have been excited to watch them evolve and indeed feel privileged to have been part of that evolution.
I am often asked what the essential components of any accredited coaching course should be, to help guide people when making their choice; so, I’ll share here what I think the key questions are that you should ask yourself...
By Sonya Shellard.
So I've learnt a lot about online coaching over the past couple of months with "lockdown" resulting in all of my coaching taking to the waves and now being delivered via Skype or Zoom (amongst others!). After a rebalance on my board, I have now found my feet and am comfortable doing this as the rule rather than the exception (for the time being at least). So I wanted to share my learning hoping to make the experience more rewarding both for you and your clients...