Last Sunday my family and I had a walk through a tiny wood crossed by clear and crystal creeks. It was a sunny morning and our last day of holiday together. To live it in a memorable way, I had a surprise for us all: I sat on a wooden bridge and got a bubble soap tube out of our pic-nick rucksack!
While blowing through the pipe to create bubbles, admiring their rich and changing colours and listening to the wows of wonder and laughs that were coming out of the three of us, I suddenly thought of professional coaching. Of my becoming a coach. And said to myself: this is part of it!
I’ve been training at Epicoaching Academy to become a professional ICF coach for five months now. Together with studying and practicing, I’ve been going through such a deep process of self-discovery and conscious change that I could hardly tell. One of the challenges I’ve been offered by my trainer and mentor Cristina Campofreddo is all enclosed in this question: “Who is Romina who takes her time?” Answering this question by shaping a new me is the goal I’ve been gradually achieving since mid-July.
In point of fact, as an ICF coach who embraces and abides to the ICF standards and code of ethics, I’m asked to embody the coaching-mindset and heart-set (I would add). That means that whatever competencies I put in action during a coaching session with a client of mine, I need to experience myself first during my everyday life: accurate listening, non-judgemental attitude, focusing on one thing at a time, managing the time, setting and keeping a natural rhythm, promoting awareness and growth – just to mention a couple of them. As everything in this world, these competencies need their time to be understood, practiced and mastered by a coach.
So: how are soap bubbles related to professional coaching? What are the insights that I gained from playing with soap bubbles? And how do they support me in the process of “shaping Romina who takes her time”?
To make big bubbles and avoid wasting precious soap, you can’t just dip the pipe into the liquid and blow, moved by the passionate desire of being surrounded by bubbles. You need to check there’s the right quantity of soap on the pipe and have the care and patience to blow slowly through the pipe, observing how the bubble is forming itself and how it leaves the circle and starts flying in the air. While making the bubbles and interacting with my son and husband, I was somehow living in two worlds at the same time: I was there on the bridge and in front of a client, during a coaching session. I was experiencing, in fact, some ICF competencies: being present in the moment, mastering the process, being focused on the goal, feeling light, open and curious to whatever was happening (in that case, to me, to the bubbles, to the rest of my family – dog included – to the creek, the wood, the spider web on which a bubble had a rest). I’ve been gradually realizing that the abilities just mentioned are not only essential to make a coaching session effective, great and transformative – in partnership with the client – … they also allow me to live fully and happily.
On our way back home, I asked myself how I could bring those experiences and observations into my study-room and my work as a coach, from the day after on. That’s a very coaching attitude: I experience something, observe it, gain some new insights from it and put them in action to move forward on my path toward the realisation of my desire: “shaping Romina who takes her time”.
The soap bubbles experience set the keynote of how I want to live, that’s to say:
– well-focused, as when I slowly blew through the pipe;
– light and graceful, as a bubble.
Great! It was Sunday night when I declared all this to myself. The day after would have been Monday: the first day back to work. The day when I usually read and answer emails, reconnect with the activities I was doing before my vacation, plan the future energetically. That’s to say I sometimes forget to breathe properly. No soap-bubbles-wise at all…
I’m writing from my study now. Taking my time to write this article and share my experience makes a big difference. I haven’t planned almost anything yet: I gave up rushing to get to a blurred and weak point as soon as possible because it sounded cool and smart.
Coaching is usually matched with words such as goals setting and plan of actions. Which is absolutely true. Between the goal setting (1) and the action plan (3), there’s a crucial process of awareness (2) in the middle. As ICF professional coaches, in fact, we are trained to focus on the “being” side of ourselves and of our clients, before moving to the “doing” side – the actions related to the goal you have set. By taking all the necessary steps, one at a time, the actions you’ll plan will not only be certainly and clearly related to the goal you have set, but it will also naturally develop from the awareness you have gained in the meanwhile. That will make your achievement deep and sustainable in the long run. That’s success! Huge and shareable.
Since I want to succeed for my own sake, for EpiCoaching community’s, for my clients’ and anyone else’s who may benefit from my consciously driven change, I’m staying on the “being side” a bit longer. I actually want to start working differently: before making a plan for the oncoming weeks and month, I want to set the tune of “Romina living and working well-focused, light and graceful”. It’s a part of “taking my time”.
How it’s all going to be, I totally ignore. I’m sure it will be great, though.
Have a look around: you might happen to see me turned into a soap bubble every now and then!