We hear a lot these days about the toll that stress is taking on the teaching workforce. I coached a teacher, Beverley* between 2015-16, who came to me with acute anxiety and stress. This post gives some insight into how one teacher reclaimed her life with help from her life coach!
Beverley had 6, one hour, sessions of coaching over a 9-month period, with regular in between session tasks and email contact.
In our final session she surprised me with the news that she had already made the move to leave her job in the UK and move with her husband and daughter to start a new life in Spain. She would continue to teach and support her husband to realise his dream to build a business.
Below are her responses to the questionnaire I use to evaluate the impact of the coaching relationship we had developed. I hope you find it has touching as I did.
What has the coaching relationship with your coach (Charmaine), enabled you to achieve?
Coaching has helped me to increase my capacity for life. My husband and I have recently decided to totally change our lifestyle. We have had a dream of moving to Spain and starting up a business there. We were waiting for the ‘ideal time’ to come. But after five sessions of coaching things had changed so much that I asked myself, “Why wait? Why not go now?” This time last year, or at the time the coaching began I would not have could do that.
I also have more self-acceptance; instead of setting myself impossible standards I consider something, put it into perspective and then box it. I have stopped beating myself up about the things that are not in my control.
I am sleeping better than I ever have in my life. I used to wake up in the night, in a cold sweat worrying about all sorts of things and not be able to go back to sleep. While this may still happen at times it's now a limited occurrence.
What coaching techniques have you learnt to use for yourself?
The techniques I have learned that help me are basically to do with changing my thought patterns. My thoughts are now more balanced. Before they were very negative and self-critical, self-blaming and judgmental. Instead of reacting to events as if everything was my fault or that I was in some way to blame now ask myself, “What am I doing right?” My self-talk is much more positive and productive. I still have some moments of overwhelm, but we all do, now they are fewer and I can deal with them.
What is most important thing that you have learnt?
I have learnt that I am good enough. That I have the capacity to take on a lot more than I thought possible. Like this move to Spain. All the things that the decision to move means we must do I just plan for. I accept that it will be hard, plans may need to adapt to circumstances changing but I have much more flexibility.
This has changed things for my family too. Because I am good enough we are all good enough – both me and my husband. This business in Spain is his dream. He has supported me through getting a degree and then making the transition from one career into another. Now that I have the capacity I can support him. I am there for him when he is stressed and I can be there for him now to make his dream come true.
What do you wish for the future?
My future goals are all tied up to the move to Spain. I want to live a more balanced life. I will still be teaching but expect that the longer school days mean that once I leave the building I will not have to take a lot of work home.
I want to have more time for my daughter, have more quality time as a mother. It's my husband’s turn to be supported and my turn to be the support.
I find inspiration in the lives of my clients. Coaching wakes people up to the choices they have in life and creates the capacity for them to make them in line with their values, dreams and aspirations.
I wish Beverley the best and will certainly be keeping in touch with her.
*Not her real name.