“Coaching Moments” takes a
thoughtful look at how coaching
can be interwoven into our daily lives.
Sharing the Journey ~
by Janice Hunter, IAC-CC
A parent’s willingness to nurture a child will define our fate. ~ Barack
Obama (His inauguration speech, 20/1/09!)
For many of us, too many choices can be overwhelming. For the anxious perfectionists
among us, the thought of making the wrong choice from an overwhelming array
of possibilities can be paralysing, especially if the first step feels like
a leap of faith.
As a parent, I’ve often found it hard to deal with the anxiety that
comes with such a huge responsibility. Turbulent times and global financial
crises haven’t helped. I’ve had to learn to trust more, to take things
less personally and to balance letting go with being more present and engaged.
Constantly trying to evolve as a coach has helped me become a wiser parent,
a more grateful wife and a less judgemental daughter. Coaching is a career journey
that has finally enabled me to blend all that I am with all that I’ve learned
and believe in.
Last night, after a long, leisurely family meal, my husband and I sat at the
table with our teenage daughter, discussing her passions and dreams, her talents
and skills. In a few days’ time, she has to choose the high school subjects
she’ll be taking to exam level.
My kids attend a small state school with a good reputation for its nurturing
environment and committed teachers. The downside of its size, however, is that
the students’ curriculum choices are restricted by staff numbers and timetabling.
Every year, I hear harrowing tales of young teenagers, with distinctive clusters
of interests and talents, having to abandon subjects they love because they
clash with others in a timetable geared towards offering a broad education.
It’s a week I’ve been dreading ever since she started school.
What if we ask the wrong questions? Guide her too much? Give the wrong advice?
Give her too much freedom?
My daughter’s teachers haven’t placed any restrictions on her choice of individual
subjects as long as there are no timetable clashes; she does well academically
in all of her classes and represents both the school and the county in sporting
But what of her gifts? Her passions? The passions that make her feel unique,
special and good about herself? The things she’d do all day from morning till
night if we let her? The interests she talks about endlessly, those that make
her lose track of time when she’s engrossed? Her love of reading, creative writing,
film, music and drama, passions that have driven her to teach herself the technology
she needs to write ebooks and publish them online, to make films, design CD
covers and websites, to record her own songs and learn to play three musical
instruments by ear?
As her mum, I know where her heart lies, but I also know the difficulties of
earning a living in many of the fields associated with her gifts.
It came as no surprise to us when she mentioned how many of her friends, after
similar discussions with their parents, have suddenly decided to become architects,
lawyers, doctors or physiotherapists, careers they’d never mentioned an interest
To encourage her to empathise with all sorts of paradigms, I pointed out that
some careers – like those her friends are considering – often lead to financial
security and good job prospects, something which many parents want for their
children. I almost cried when she said, “But maybe they won’t be happy.
I want to do something I love. I want to do something I love so much
I’d do it for free! I don’t need to have one job, one career; I can have half
a dozen!” The smile in my heart reminded me why I got into coaching in
the first place.
I love championing people, acknowledging their achievements, helping them explore
and expand their talents and discovering alongside them how they’re destined
to use their greatness to benefit the world.
It doesn’t surprise me then, on a day filled with TV and radio coverage
of Barack Obama’s inauguration, that if I could ask him three questions, it
would be these:
- What did it take for you to get where you are today?
- How will this personal achievement benefit your family, your community
and the whole world?
- What would your mum and grandma say to you now if they could?
For as I sit at our kitchen table typing, tears streaming down my face while
Martin Luther King’s most famous lines ring out from the radio, I find
myself thinking about Barack Obama’s grandma and his mother and how they
didn’t live to see this momentous day.
I can imagine the pride in their eyes as they ruffled the young Obama’s
tousled brown curls, watching him doing his homework while the birds outside
sang to the breaking dawn.
I don’t know if his mother, standing making peanut butter sandwiches,
ever said to him “I know you’re sleepy, son, but finish your homework,
do it well and someday you could grow up to be President.”
I don’t know if, as a small boy, he woke up one day and decided he wanted
to be the President of the United States.
But from where I sit, at the kitchen table of a small house in a quiet little
town in Scotland, I know in my heart that somewhere along the line he was coached
well. Somewhere along the line, he felt the power of focus, of connecting his
own hopes and dreams with a much greater purpose, one that has driven and led
him ever since.
I belong to an international coaching association, and our newsletter is read
by thousands of people all over the world. For every coach who is inspired and
delighted by Obama’s presidency, there will be another who doesn’t like his
politics or share his vision. But laying aside our own personal beliefs, it’s
clear that he has inspired hope in millions of people, people who not only had
a dream, but who judged him by the content of his character and took the steps
to make that dream come true, for him, for themselves, for others and for future
Millions of people, all over the world, are celebrating his mixed
race background and how it has come to symbolise more than the union of two
people who came from different backgrounds and cultures to create a child, a
new life filled with hope and potential.
No matter what my daughter chooses to do, I’m reminded today that her young
life is filled with promise. No matter what she encounters along the way, I
know she’ll travel the road she’s meant to take. No matter who she
becomes, I believe with all my heart and soul that every day I’m allowed to
share her journey is a blessing.
Hunter, IAC-CC, is a writer and IAC-certified coach who lives in
Scotland with her husband and two children. She specialises
in homelife coaching (helping people create authentic,
spirit-filled homes and lives) and also enjoys supporting
other coaches through her writing and collaboration. Contact
compiled all of her Coaching Moments pieces from the last
two years into a free 46 page ebook, ‘Coaching Moments: a
Collection of Articles about Coaching in Everyday Life’
which can be downloaded
here or from her