My Coach Training Journey…under the African Tree

All my life I was doing strange things and attracting people with a lot of challenges. I was wondering why people opt for me for problem solving and advice. Then in 2017 I learnt through a television show that there is a profession called Life Coaching and when they described it, it was clear to me that this is what I was yearning for. I then researched further and pursued that career by enrolling for the basic coaching training of which I obtained the certificate in March 2018.
I started to practice part time until I engaged again in another coach training program which was focusing more on the Executive and Management Coaching and I got my first certification.

I am a person who always likes to empower myself and others. I started to network with other coaches locally and internationally.
One day during my networking I came across a loving lady called Cristina Campofreddo, MCC. I was so attracted to her warm smile, energy and aura. She told me about their Coaching and Training Academy, and what they are offering.
I jumped into that amazing opportunity and enrolled with them. What attracted me mostly was the fact that their academy is affiliated to the internationally recognized body called International Coaching Federation (ICF). That gave me the confidence that whatever I will learn out there is of the international standard.

I have started my journey with EpiCoaching Academy in February 2020.
As much as I was overwhelmed during the first few months due to the workload and my full time job, I managed to find my balance because I have learnt how to multitask. The secret is to create your life schedule to be in line with your job schedule.
However, there are days that always go against your plans. I talk about the sad days of COVID 19 pandemic that was and still in our midst. It created havoc in our lives, in such a way that one could not predict what the future holds.
At some stage I felt like quitting the training because I had too much on my plate!
At that time, what kept me going was the fact that I was communicating with my other coach students around the globe. Our virtual classes helped us to learn how other people are coping and surviving the pandemic. Our coach trainer Cristina Campofreddo kept us sane all the time with her warm smile.

This journey taught me to be aware of many things in my life!
Awareness opens the door to millions of possibilities, and if we know that we are the artist of our own life, we can make a choice from all those possibilities. The awareness of knowing my Life purpose was my biggest highlight. I have learnt to create my own Life purpose statement of which I live by it right now. I knew about goal setting, but the training I have chosen allowed me to see things from another perspective and I managed to align what I did with my Life purpose.
My main objective was to take this coach training program, complete it, be certified and accredited as a professional coach! I knew what I wanted, and it was an achievable, realistic, and measurable goal.

The most exciting but scary experience at the same time was when I started to do practical coaching sessions with other students. The funny part was when you think you already know everything but you find out that you still have a long walk to freedom! Practical coaching sessions were unleashing our true potential within us.
The more you practice the more you sound better and the more you feel confident. I guess the English saying that says “practice makes perfect” clearly represent what we are going through in the practical coaching sessions. Our goal is not perfection though, but is professionalism. The scary part was when there was a language barrier between myself and my client!
A good coach is the one with active listening skills, but what happens when you try to listen attentively, and you just don’t understand all the words that the client is saying? Listening actively is one of the ICF Core competencies I have learnt to overcome such predicament. I integrated the client’s words, tone of voice and body language to determine the full meaning of what is being communicated by the client.

Another great thing I have learnt throughout my coach journey training is the exposure to diversity. Learning other people’s cultures, values, morals and beliefs is such a gift.
At EpiCoaching Academy we are exposed to various webinars which involved different types of people and coaches from all over the world. Oh, talking about webinars, one of my ancient goals was to hold a webinar which includes diverse people from around the globe. Cristina gave me that opportunity.
At first, I was a little bit scared. She believed in me, so I did it! I remember my first one was called “Meet Zonke under the African tree”, it was an amazing experience! I was sharing my knowledge about my continent and culture. The interaction was amazing!
I grew confidence to host more webinars with my other partners. They say the greater the contribution you can make, in whatever it is you are gifted to do, the more confident you will become. So, it is true that this training program unleashes our true potential!
Coaching taught me a new approach in life, my beliefs were too limited to what I thought I could do around me. Coaching helped me to identify potential results, hence, I managed to achieve the goal of facilitating webinars to reach the global community.

Talking about courage. There was a time when we experienced some major crisis at work.
I, as the leader, together with my team, were at loggerhead with the stakeholders. That pressure caused mental exhaustion to me as a result I felt again like quitting my coaching training and focusing on my work. One day when I was leading the caucus team at work, I applied the ICF Competences like active listening, evoked awareness by asking thought provoking questions, and acknowledging the team’s emotions and energy shift.
With that being applied, we witnessed a mind-shift and a great collaboration between the teams, and as a result we managed to work hand in hand towards our main objective. Coaching in my profession taught me how to show support, empathy and concern for my colleagues and clients by demonstrating respect for their identity, perceptions, style and language.
After a while, my organization gave me the opportunity to coach some managers in leadership. That is where I realised that quitting my coach training was not an option because instead of stressing me it is sharpening my leadership skills.

With that in mind, I remember Winston Churchill when he said that success is not final; failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.
Yes, even now it is the courage that makes me continue ‘til the end!

Being in the EpiCoaching training program does not only give me the knowledge in coaching but I am also benefiting in different ways like improving the way I am thinking, taking decisions and approaching any challenges. As a leader in my organization, I acknowledge ethical practice by demonstrating personal integrity and honesty in interactions with my colleagues and clients.

The search for knowledge requires effort. You must seek it like a treasure that is precious to you. (Myles Munroe, 2008).

My coach training journey is a treasure to me.

The treasure that makes me proud of my profession as a professional coach. In conclusion, I would like to highlight that what I thought was coaching before I embarked on my coach training journey, it was not.

Through my journey I discovered that the coaching profession is not the same as any therapy profession, however, it focuses more on partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.

Now I have the best approach, tools and techniques for all those who need to maximize their potential.

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