Over a handful of months, I’ve had the good fortune to attend some workshops on coaching people. It’s something that I’ve somehow found myself doing through work, and to small extent, at Chameleons too.

One of the things we spoke about the in class was, what do we mean by coaching? Well, if you imagine a line with counselling on the left, and on the right, telling people what to do; coaching – at least as the tutor pitched it – would be sort of left of the centre.

It’s been a fascinating few months, and I’d like to think I’ve picked up some quality advice and ideas over the sessions. Certainly, the listening skills, and how different people react to things, has been both useful and challenging. I do love to talk – as those who’ve met me may attest to – so knowing when to shut it has been a learning curve.

What I’ve really enjoyed is mapping some of those ideas to things a work-mate has taught me. I guess it’s a bit like only knowing about plumbing, and then someone tells you how electricity works, pumps, and design. Slowly a whole new picture starts to form, and its by joining those elements up, you can see something new.

I think that at Chams, and also at work, if someone does come along and wants some encouragement, my role in it is to help them on their way. Not by telling them what to do, but by asking them what they’d like to do, how they might do it, and how – if at all – I can help them get there. With the latter, it’s certainly not doing anything for them, but helping them make up their mind on how they might do it, and supporting them in doing so.

I’ve said this to colleagues and to folk at Chams too; my role in all of this is just to help you move on. A certain point, you will know more than me – if indeed you don’t already – and it’s fine to be passing through. I know I wouldn’t be who I am, nor enjoying being what I am, if it wasn’t from the help of those who helped me at Chams, and the Ever Lovely Mrs J.

If you can, play it forward.

Much as seeing someone gain confidence at Chams and go on to live their life as they want, is somewhat bittersweet. At least when I think of them, I know they’ve gone on to do what they want. Hell, even if it’s just a chat here and there, and people get their head around the idea that it’s okay to be trans, that’s all good.

If there’s a point to this week’s post – and apparently Rhi says I do seem to try and make one 🙂 – it’s making yourself available to help. Not stepping in and doing, but making people know through conversation that you’re there for them. Maybe if enough of us look out for each other, we’ll all get on in the direction we need, whatever they may be.

Lastly, my questions to you would be what would have helped you get out and be you, and what answers (if any) were you looking for?

Take care,

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