Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s in Melbourne’s working class as the daughter of European migrants I experienced a lot of racism, social isolation, inequality and hardship. My family connections were however incredibly strong. I grew up believing that the most important thing was to always support each other especially in times of adversity. My belief in social justice was born and knew I was always destined to advocate for those who didn’t have a voice.
My career began as a youth worker in the mid 80’s which had me working in the Community Sector for the following 25 years in various roles and organisations. I also had my own family raising three daughters whilst working and studying. Whilst my awareness about the needs and issues young people faced in our society grew so did my desire to learn new ways of working with them to find new approaches to achieve different outcomes. There came a time when I realised I would see the same issues and people present themselves and knew change was needed to do something differently. I discovered Coaching! I felt that coaching could take things to another level that would add value to the skills and knowledge I already had. I wondered how I could start to explore this coaching concept that I was becoming more familiar with through my research. My life was already busy and knew I would have to take a risk and jump wholeheartedly into it. I was faced with standing at the edge of my comfort zone deciding to stay in a securely paid position knowing I wasn’t happy with this decision. As fate would have it, my position as a Youth Services manager for a non-profit organisation became redundant giving me an opportunity to walk through the door of coaching and explore what it was all about. I had the opportunity to see how coaching could compliment my skills and knowledge working in the community sector. My coaching journey started at The Coaching Institute in 2012 when I enrolled and did my intake weekend. I was blessed to meet the wonderful student support team who continue to guide and encourage me throughout my coaching journey. I was also honoured to work with Joe Pane and more recently with Johnnie Cass who are two of the most incredible and inspiring people I have ever known. Acknowledgements are not complete however without mention of the founder of TCI Sharon Pearson who has shared her wisdom, inspiration and encouragement throughout all the training.
To honour my desire to compliment my work in the community sector with my coaching studies I took on another position in a non-profit organisation that works with young people experiencing homelessness. I am able to bring my coaching knowledge and skills to my role and teach others techniques they can use with their clients and indeed with themselves as a self-awareness tool. Coaching is becoming more common in the Community sector now and is a new approach when working with young people and their families. We have a Coaching Community of Practice in my workplace that promotes coaching in our work even more.
I have embraced many opportunities over the last year to build on my coaching ability. I deliver sessions to staff on various coaching techniques and knowledge. This has allowed me to build on my skills and confidence in mastering coaching even more. I had a great opportunity in 2013 to co-facilitate workshops at a Youth Conference demonstrating how coaching works with young people.
I also continue to seek opportunities outside of my workplace to expand on my coaching ability. My latest achievement and highlight was delivering workshops on goal setting for the 7 Sisters Women’s festival held at Mt Martha in March 2014. These were my first workshops to develop and deliver on my own. I faced the fear and didn’t anyway! In preparation for the workshop I recorded a CD with the workshop content to sell at the festival which is another highlight and achievement for me. The workshops were well attended and I received great feedback! This has boosted my confidence and motivation to do more workshops.
Whilst I continue my studies and build on my coaching experience through various outlets my aspirations for the future are to have my own business running workshops and retreats. I love seeing how people can transform their lives from places of adversity to that of empowerment to reach their potential and “live their dreams”. Once upon a time I too was someone who was so afraid of leaving my own house to face the world and had no belief and confidence in myself. If I can come from such a dark place to where I am today with the support and encouragement I received over the years then so can anyone no matter what or who they are. My dream is to work with women to come out of their houses and develop self-confidence to believe in their potential to live their dreams!
I look back at the last couple of years and laugh at the times I have procrastinated, came up with excuses and sabotaged many opportunities. Learning all about Coaching and NLP I saw that I still had a lot of old values and beliefs that no longer worked for me and that I had to change. I discovered that I chose short term pleasure over pain sacrificing my long term sustainable and successful outcomes. The first and most significant thing I had to do was to “Get Over Myself” and embrace the idea of moving forward and letting go of everything that held me back. The Coaching journey I have been on has been a major self-awareness journey and one that continues. I now embrace uncertainty knowing that it will take me beyond my boundary condition of thinking which allows me to grow and build on what I already know. The journey ahead is bright and exciting!