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Coaching: Something to smile about

Bing Matoto



After writing two columns on coaching, I thought it was time to move on to another topic that could be of greater interest to my readers. After all, there seems to be no limit to the pressing concerns that are dominating the headlines. Inflation definitely is one, particularly because of the impact on prices of everyday needs. The devastation that typhoon “Ompong” recently inflicted on us that will surely nudge up inflation once more. The rising death toll in the landslide in Naga City in Cebu is heartbreaking. And a recent disturbingly vivid video newsclip that went viral about an elderly man being slowly and as if intentionally, being run over was shockingly appalling to say the least. The stock market entering bear territory is certainly another anxiety inducing headache, especially for retirees like yours truly who are firm believers in the importance of having an equity position in an investment portfolio in order to boost returns. But now, we are not just facing the prospect of a diminished return but sadly, in fact, even an erosion of principal. But I asked myself, why dwell on the obvious and end up just being more glum.

Why not a piece then that could provide a feel-good feeling for a change? All of us, consciously or unconsciously, are always experiencing some form of stress. Not being a psychologist, I can only surmise that stress, whether negative or positive, is always brought about by some form of concern. This concern could be one of a myriad of so many that could consume our whole being such as health, family, career, money, romance or even as mundane as whether Ateneo or UP will win the next game or not. Presumably, if we are able to crystallize a disturbing concern and develop a goal and a plan and take the necessary steps that will address this concern, our stress will be relieved. Of course, we can always attempt to achieve this self realization and actualization of a goal all on our own. But in the short period of time that I have been exposed to coaching, I have realized the immense value of having a trustworthy coach without any agenda by my side providing support and encouragement in my attempt to attain a goal. As a matter of fact, judging from the number of views of my recent article on coaching plus some friends who commented that they found the article interesting, it does seem that coaching has struck a similar chord with quite a number of like-minded people. I am beginning to realize that the mantra, “…coaching is the most powerful people development tool…,” in one of the exercises during the recent Accelerated Coach Training Program (ACTP) I attended, is indeed true.

Ok then, it’s settled. If it’s ok with you folks, I have self-realized and have decided that as a declared goal, I will write not just one more but perhaps several more articles as I share with you some nuggets that I am beginning to learn as I journey on the path to becoming a coach.

My initial sharing: coaching is premised on the assumption that all of us are imbued with inherent potentials and that we are naturally creative, resourceful and whole. And once realized, with the help of a coach, this will lead us to a new mindset and attitude. The subsequent action that we take, will result in a new behavior and transform us into a new person that will enable us to accomplish our goal. Simply put, all of us can! Now that’s something to smile about.

Another sharing: During our ACTP workshop, our coaching jedi master Julius Ordonez, suggested a great book for extra reading, Quiet Leadership by David Rock. In this book, I learned that because of the plasticity of our brain, when something is amiss, such as a stroke, our brain adjusts to the situation and gets “rewired,” enabling renewed functioning.

Amazingly, later studies revealed that our brain doesn’t just get rewired only when life-changing events occur, the changes in our brain literally happens every second as we see, hear or feel what happens around us. And experienced repeatedly, it gets hardwired into our brain, turning our reactions into a habit, or change, regardless of age! And because of this scientific finding, to quote the book, “… we have an incredible ability to change…” And change, of course, is the end goal of coaching. Talking about change, one of the most important spokes in my own Wheel of Life (a coaching tool used for assessing critical aspects of one’s life) is my own spiritual growth which would not have been possible without the continuing support of my spiritual director in Opus Dei (another topic for another day). This “guardian angel” who shall remain unnamed has over the years provided patient spiritual direction that I have just realized is actually coaching. Most definitely, this is certainly something to smile about!

Until next week again folks…one big fight!

(An erratum in last week’s column: ICF should read as International Coach Federation)

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