Coaching Moments: Journey to Mastery

I was going to keep this post for later, in case my blog ever goes back to fulfilling its claim to be ‘Soulfood and Support for Coaches, Writers and Homemakers.‘ However, given that I’m prone to abrupt bouts of cyberhibernation – deciduous blogging, I call it on a good day… blogging suicide and shameful abandonment on a bad day – I decided there’s no point in fighting it any more. It is what it is; I post when I post. My posts definitely seem to blossom in spring alongside my ubiquitous tulips.

If you’re not a life coach, an IAC coach who’s thinking of attempting certification, or any kind of coach, then I apologise if this post is of no interest to you. Escape now! (Or simply scroll down and read the last four paragraphs.) You may have just saved yourself a lengthy wade through words. What can I say… I’m a word-loving blether and I’m glad to be home!

Last year, I attempted to reprise my coaching column, Coaching Moments, because my coaching association’s newsletter and blog were edited by a talented young woman who liked my work and ‘got’ me. At first, writing and sending her pieces that were intended to support fellow coaches reminded me of the pure delight I used to have when the column was first created; sadly, the blog and social media format of the association’s current publication fried my brain and I only wrote three pieces. Two were published and this one was abandoned when the editor resigned.

So, this is for all my coaching friends who are ‘kent faces’, and for you, the silent coaching friend I’ve yet to meet. If you subscribed after downloading one or both of my coaching ebooks, I’d enjoy hearing from you.

Coaching Moments: Journey to Mastery

Mastery isn’t a word we often hear anymore, but it’s as critical as ever to achieving extraordinary results. As intimidating as it might initially seem, when you can see mastery as a path you go down instead of a destination you arrive at, it starts to feel accessible and attainable. Most assume mastery is an end result, but at its core, mastery is a way of thinking, a way of acting, and a journey you experience. ~ Gary Keller

Are you thinking of going for IAC certification? Perhaps the Master Masteries Coach designation? I have one question for you if you are… Which specific, deeply cherished dream of yours would come true if you were IAC certified? I ask because my own certification journey didn’t just make mine come true; it changed my life and in many ways, saved it.

I discovered coaching when I read dozens of self-help books and kept journals to lift myself out of low grade chronic depression – so-called walking depression. The seeds of several books germinated in those journals and as gently as waking from a dream, I realised I wanted to support folk through coaching and writing. As an ex-academic, though, I knew I wouldn’t be happy without the self-esteem boost I’d get from certification. I needed to feel safe in the knowledge that a team of highly experienced coaches had validated my coaching mastery and deemed it safe for me to share my intuition, skills and knowledge.

I studied online. I found mentors and coaching buddies who’ve become cherished friends. My dream was never to set up a traditional coaching business, but in striving for coaching mastery, by following the flow of what I loved, I ended up with three strands in my patchwork coaching life. Niches found me.

When things got hard – and I failed my practical exam first time round – it was the support of other coaches and that dream of seeing IAC-CC after my name on the back cover of a book that kept me going. The book didn’t get published, but I became a masterful coach and intuitive peer-critiquer as a by-product; more importantly, I became a kinder, happier, wiser person because of my certification journey.

All mastery requires clarity of purpose, deep self-awareness, dogged determination, hard slog and the support of others, but coaching mastery has a magic all of its own; it elicits and consolidates our greatness, but will never let us move onwards or upwards without championing us; it shores up our achievements by connecting them to our dreams, our Big Picture, the legacy we hope to leave behind.

Coaching mastery means that we have the tools to drag ourselves back when we find ourselves drowning in our dramas; it encourages us to make friends with those uncomfortable, provocative questions that open us up like flowers in the sun; it requires of us that we love what is, that we cherish our humanity and the learning in our Now.

Mastery also requires that we breathe. It flourishes and blooms when we sit still and simply enjoy being, which is the heart of all curiosity, presence and active listening.

The best way to become a Master Masteries Coach? Study the IAC Masteries as if they’re a spiritual instruction manual for your life; imagine they have nothing to do with coaching. Live and breathe them and grow to love them like poems learned by heart which become part of you.

Get brave and bold and explore new territories. Untangle the strands of what makes you feel stuck. Calm the clashing values that strain and pull against each other like dogs on choke chains.

Make your journey towards mastery part of your every waking moment. Be grateful for the rocks that make the stream sing and listen deeply to the silences between the notes that make the music. Be as curious as a child and lay your day’s discoveries out on the table so you can poke around in them and wrap the cherished ones up in a handkerchief. Celebrate your humanity, your daily triumphs and the lessons that help you rise when your heart stumbles.

Don’t rush headlong into the next challenge without asking yourself how you want to feel and how you can get yourself some of that feeling right here, right now, in everything you do.

And my dream? This is it. I’m writing here, right now, for you. And it feels like home.


  1. Hi Janice – that’s great to see you back and to see you encouraging us to be aware of our needs and thus the potential of being coached and inspired to follow our dreams, but to work a plan with our strengths to hand and your help for our weaknesses. It’s great to see you back – I’ll be around … and I do love those tulips and the header … cheers Hilary

  2. Hi Janice, this post made me smile in recognition and nod in agreement. I particularly like this part: “I became a kinder, happier, wiser person because of my certification journey.” Exactly the same with me.

  3. Hi Hilary and Barbra,
    Good to see you both – thanks for your support, as always!

    I knew this post wouldn’t get many readers or comments, but it was crying out to be posted and housed so I could draw a line under it. I still have a lot to offer coaches who are attempting coach certification, but in these days of 24 hour social media, instapics, entertaining videos and info-bytes, I know I’m a wordy, lumbering dinosaur.

    I swithered whether to post this or not, but when I check the download statistics for my ebooks, I know there are silent coaches out there who read the blog or subscribe after downloading one or both of the ebooks. The logical thing to do would be to have a homepage with an option that’s just for IAC coaches, but it seems like such a faff, when I have to check stats to see if anyone’s reading. That’s why I really appreciate all my commenters here so much; it makes life more pleasant, as well as easier, knowing who, if anyone, is out there ‘listening’.

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