“My life didn’t please me, so I created my life”
Coco Chanel

Today was, at it turns out, my last formal coaching conversation with Carl Haggerty.

We’ve been going through a coaching process since around the end of January this year, and six months on it feels as if it’s fulfilled its purpose of supporting me on a part of my journey and I can move on from it. That’s not to say my conversations with Carl are over, but more of that later.

First, it seems like a good point to sum up the trip (and it was a trip) I’ve had through this process. My blogged reflections in order are here:

Let me summarise for those of you who don’t want to read through all of that:

  • coaching has supported me transition to a new stage in my career
  • helped me let go of some stuff that I didn’t need to keep carrying around
  • aided me in being open and proactive about my own potential
  • and it has helped me recognise my value professionally and start to think openly about qualities I’d like to develop for the future.

From the first conversation where I curled up in an armchair next to my phone and stumbled over words about who I was, to today where I looked out at the farmer bailing hay in the field behind our house and happily chatted about how coaching and recent opportunities have been the conduit to me being confident in living and telling my own story.

That is a powerful thing. It was a necessary thing. Most definitely, for me, right now, a good thing.

What now?

The formal part of our coaching arrangement has naturally reached its end. The actions it was helping me navigate toward have all been reached (although, like I said in my last post, I’m a working prototype so only reached in the sense of first iteration).

The themes and actions were:

  • courage and catalysts
  • visibility and resilience
  • self-limiting beliefs and challenge
  • self-awareness and regulation
  • focus.

The last conversation (before today) started us on the path back to mentoring, to mutual peer support and challenge. Carl and I have both found value in this and so we’re now going to find time every couple of months to have a new type of conversation with each other, moving away from the formal coaching arrangement. We’ll probably both blog about it when we get there!

I’d like to thank…

Of course I would like to thank Carl – for the offer of coaching through to the time he’s given to me over the last six months. The open and honest space we went into with coaching was exactly the right place for me to explore. Not all coaching needs for there to be an existing relationship (in some cases that might actually be detrimental) but for me the shared journey Carl and I have had over the last decade, as well as our friendship, was necessary to how I needed to think about things and the trust I needed to be able to say some things out loud. So – THANK YOU CARL 🙂

And there is also thanks to my managers and colleagues too – this was exactly the professional development I needed at this point so I am hugely appreciative that I have been supported and encouraged to do it.

There is also thanks for the people around me who have been open to me and the possibilities I’m enamoured with as coaching has bought parts of me, bits of thinking, back to life.

Last but not least I’d like to thank those of you who have commented on the posts I’ve shared or tweeted me. It’s been encouraging to hear other perspectives on my thinking as well as hear about people’s own journeys through coaching and mentoring.

Final thought

Coaching, alongside the professional opportunities that have come along in the last six months, has helped me to understand where my strengths are, to challenge myself on my weaknesses, to take responsibility for my own choices and development and have the confidence to pursue my own potential.

While tied to the local government part of my life the changes in my mindset it unlocked has undoubtedly allowed me to fall in love with and put myself in the way of the possibilities in the other bits too (like firing up Noble and Wild in a pretty full on way, and writing my first novel).

It has been a gift. It has been the bridge that has helped me get from one part of my professional life to another. It has been a rehabilitation away from remembered pain. It has been an upgrade in my thinking. It has helped me get back to the place where even when I’m scared of opportunities I’m not so scared I say no.

Coaching has been the challenge that will lead to future opportunities.

In the reflection on my first session I referenced The Charlatans’ song Try Again Today. It seems fitting to quote it again, although picking slightly different lines, to complete the cycle:

“Make a brand new start, I’m telling everybody to turn it up again, Something’s gotta change, Good bye yesterday, Try again today”


You can find me on Twitter.

I write about music for Louder Than War – in the next few weeks I’ll be covering Indietracks and interviewing Mark Morriss.

I run Noble and Wild. In a really small, but really lovely (for me) way, I’m doing digital PR type stuff for Chris Helme (well, we’re on the starting line with it anyway). You should buy his album, I think you’d like it.

And I just finished my first novel. It’s called The Winter Passing. I blog about writing here and am on Twitter in my author identity – Riley Reynolds.