This year I had two major events professionally. The first one was joining bp and the second was getting my Professional Coaching Certification (PCC) from International Coaching Federation (ICF).
As I was reflecting on the year gone by I also remembered that the reason I chose this path to become a coach.
This year was like a roller coaster ride with many ups and downs but it was much smoother than I had anticipated. Thanks to my wonderful colleagues at bp for their care and support. Last week as part of our Christmas celebration at work I was given an award as a ‘Coaching Ninja’, it is very special because it gave me some sort of validation that I was looking for and it is also special because it was chosen by fellow coaches.
Why did I choose to become a coach?
I’m about to tell you a beautiful story. The first time I came across this story was when I was about 14-15 years old. In a way, this story has helped me to define my purpose in life but it took a long time for me to realize it. This story is from Born To Win by Muriel James, Dorothy Jongeward(2)
The story is as follows …
Once upon a time, while walking through the forest, a certain man found a young eagle. He took it home and put it in his barnyard where it soon learned to eat chicken feed and to behave as chickens behave.
One day a naturalist who was passing by inquired of the owner why it was that an eagle, the king of all birds, should be confirmed to live in the barnyard with the chickens.
“Since I have given it chicken feed and trained to be a chicken, it has never learned to fly,” replied the owner. “ it behaves as chickens behave, so it is no longer an eagle.”
“Still,” insisted naturalist, “it has the heart of an eagle and can surely be taught to fly.”
After talking it over, the two men agreed to find out whether this was possible. Gently the naturalist took eagle in his arms and said, “You belong to the sky and not to the earth. Stretch forth wings and fly.”
The eagle, however, was confused; he did know who he was, and, seeing the chickens eating their food, he jumped down to be with them again.
Undismayed, the naturalist took the eagle on the following day, upon the roof of the house, and urged him again, saying, “You are an eagle. Stretch forth your wings and fly.” But the eagle was afraid of his unknown self and world and jumped down once more for the chicken food.
On the third day, the naturalist rose early and took the eagle out of the barnyard to a high mountain. There, he held the king of birds high above him and encouraged him again, saying, “You are an eagle. You belong to the sky as well as to the earth. Stretch forth your wings now, and fly.”
The eagle looked around, back towards the barnyard and up to the sky. Still, he did not fly. Then the naturalist lifted him straight towards the sun and it happened that the eagle began to tremble, slowly he stretched his wings. At last, with a triumphant cry, he soared away into the heavens.
It may be that the eagle still remembers the chickens with nostalgia; it may even be that he occasionally revisits the barnyard. But as far as anyone knows, he has never returned to lead the life of a chicken. He was an eagle though he had been kept and tamed as a chicken.
This story has left a lasting impact on me as I was growing up. First, it inspired me to discover my own potential through learning and experimentation, and the second was to support people to discover who they really are. Like the eagle in this story, all of us have enormous natural potential and we should unlock it.
Coaching has helped me to explore my own potential and I want to help others to explore their potential through coaching. One of my missions is to support people in finding their purpose, it is not easy but not impossible if you go for it.
The first time I experienced coaching in action was at Landmark Education, wherewith the help of coaches I could see how I can go beyond the constraints and create impactful results. Then the Course Supervisor Program (CSP) helped me to develop deep listening, self-awareness, and empathy. The ICF courses further enhanced my abilities and gave me a solid foundation on the processes along with various tools and techniques. It also grounded me with the code of conduct and the ethics of professional coaching. Finally, the real learning came from the practice session with fellow coaches as well as conducting the actual coaching sessions.
In the last 7 years of my journey to get the professional coaching certification I have come to realize that it is a real honour and privilgae to be a coach, one never becomes a coach with a certification, every coaching session is unique, as a coach I have to bring my whole person into the conversation, it is a continuous process of becoming.
1. Becoming – The title was inspired Becoming by Michelle Obama a memoir of former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, published in 2018
2. The original author of the story is not known (there are various attribution on the internet )
3. Special thanks to my coaches and teachers at Landmark Education – Forum Leaders with whom I had the privilege of being a course supervisor – Praveen Puri, Balvinder Singh Sodhi, Mahesh Nambiar, Late Sri Ananth, Ferdi D Souza.
4. My Course Supervisor Program (CSP) – Venkat Rao (head coach), Poornima, SK Rao, Suresh, Shylaja, Kumar, Anu, Pranav, Prasad, Srikanth, Srivatsa, Rahul, Seema, Prasad (Hyd), and Sachin.
5. My coaches and teachers during my PCC – Sai Ramesh MCC, Bhaskar Natarajan PCC and fellow coaches Satya Kumar, Arjit, and Rahul. Special thanks to my brother Rajesh Mithare.
6. Inspiring instructors from Being a Leader Course – Michael C. Jensen Harvard University, Steve Zaffron, CEO Vanto Group, Kari L. Granger the United States Air Force Academy, and Finally – the one and only Werner Erhard.