Su Mee Tan (43) is always keen to support others. A few years ago, she realized that to help others, it’s essential to also focus on yourself. In the IT department where she used to work, there were a lot of opportunities to support others but possibilities to grow herself felt limited. Su Mee had been trying to establish a better work-life balance, and to discover what she really wants to do in life. She therefore contacted a coach who helped her find a solution: having discovered that she wanted to be a coach herself, Su Mee decided to take the Co-Active Coaching course while continuing to work in IT part-time.
Anyone wishing to become a coach can choose between several courses. At first sight, all appear very similar. They teach you how to help other people achieve personal growth or to restructure their lives. If you examine the courses in more detail, however, some important differences emerge. Anyone with the desire to become a coach generally faces a difficult choice. Su Mee Tan is the exception: she did not find the decision at all difficult.
'I immediately opted for the Co-Active Coaching program,' she explains. 'One reason is that I had a Co-Active Coach. I thought she is wonderful. It was a study advisor at Competence who gave me the final nudge. She was extremely enthusiastic about Co-Active Coaching and gave me all the information I needed. It felt right.
I enrolled with Competence (Schouten & Nelissen, by the time), which is the only training organization in the Netherlands to offer courses in Co-Active Coaching. I signed up for two courses at once: Co-Active Fundamentals & Co-Active Intermediate. I felt committed from the start.
Having completed the first two courses, I started on the intensive and inspiring program which would lead to CPCC certification. I am now a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, have left my job in IT, and I have my own coaching business, Into The Mirror Coaching.’
Head and heart
‘One key characteristic of a Co-Active Coach is that he focuses on the entire person and not on one particular problem. He helps his clients to strike the balance between head and heart. This is important because it enables them to make well-considered choices. They can take both the rational and the emotional aspects into consideration and doing so provides extra motivation. They will be more inclined to act than those who do not understand the reasons for their choices, or those who allow other people to make their choices for them.'
Co-Creation between Coach and Client
‘Another key characteristic of Co-Active Coaching is ‘Co-Creation’. This means that coach and client are equal partners. They work together as a team. The coach is confident that the client can achieve the stated goals and has the strength needed to do so. If the client does not share that confidence, the coach can apply various techniques to help him find the necessary strength. This is something we experienced and practiced ourselves during the course.’
Dare to talk
‘One of the techniques you may need relates to getting the client to talk freely. There may be something he is holding back, such as a strong emotional response. You have to be able to broach the topic and encourage him to open up. This is something else we practiced during the course, both in groups and in one-to-one situations. We then received feedback from both the trainers and our fellow students, which I found particularly valuable.’
‘I like the Co-Active Coaching approach because it takes such a positive outlook, just as I always try to do. Looking back, I think it’s fair to say that Co-Active Coaching has changed my life. I can make more reasoned choices, I focus more on the positive side of every situation, and I am more willing to rely on my own intuition. I’m not the only one to benefit: so do my family and everyone else around me. Everything is more positive!’
Su-Mee Tan, Life & Leadership Coach and Trainer