Why I became a Coach....
I calmly stood up from my desk hardly able to contain my excitement and made for the door. I took out my phone, dialled my wife and said: “I know what I need to be doing.” The next morning I resigned from my position as a corporate lawyer and began a new chapter.
What fuelled this drive to take such radical steps? I had been spending some time trying to figure out why I was really a corporate lawyer. I was asking myself what positive difference I was contributing to society and if I felt personally fulfilled. I kept hitting a brick wall and couldn’t find the answer. We often hear others talking about finding their purpose. Is this a cliché or is there something more to this? I wasn’t convinced because I hadn’t found it. What was my purpose? Was it to be a corporate lawyer for the rest of my life?
It suddenly hit me at my desk that day - I did have a purpose and it was clearer than anything I had ever experienced in my professional life. Where it came from I don’t know, all I knew was that now discovered, I had to act on it - I owed that much to myself. My purpose was and remains simple - to help and support others.
Where to start?
It seemed so broad, to “help people”, yet I knew the right opportunities would follow. Sure enough, the following week I noticed an advertisement in my local paper. A residential care home was looking for extra support in their dementia wing. I vaguely understood the role of a carer based on experience with elderly family members and this did seem to fulfil my brief of working to help and support others.
I reached out to the care home, who were slightly surprised by my background. I applied for the position and, I’m grateful to say, was accepted even though I had no care experience. Within a few weeks I was placed on their internal training programme, which opened my eyes to the amazing work carers do.
I absolutely loved the work - although challenging at times, the residents I had the privilege of looking after were incredible. Dementia is different for each sufferer. My role wasn’t to try and keep bringing them back to the present, it was to support them on their own journey. On occasion I was leading a board of directors through a merger (my corporate law experience really paid off!); climbing a mountain where the team had forgotten key equipment; or being a friend. Wherever they were, I was being present beside them.
After 6 months my wife and I relocated, prompting a search for a new position. I joined another residential care home and provided end-of-life and palliative care. It was such a privilege to have the honour of working with someone at the end of their life and I had many incredible conversations as people reflected about what had been truly important to them. Seeing life from the viewpoint of someone who is dying completely shifted my own perspective. I realised the true importance of leading a life where you are true to yourself, making the most of opportunities and not taking anything for granted.
The journey continued…
My cumulative experience in law and new gained perspective from my work in care led me to coaching. Having worked with those at the end of their lives, I was keen to work with people who still had a lot of living to do and make the most of life and the opportunities they faced.
I had heard the term “coaching” being thrown around in various conversations but I didn’t really understand what it was all about. By attending some taster training days, I discovered its benefits and was struck by how positive the experience can be. Coaching does not dwell on negative emotions or barriers, but breaking through them - it seemed like a perfect match.
Following this personal epiphany, I re-trained and became a qualified coach. I am enjoying the journey and every day I get to stay true to my purpose - to help and support others.