People tell me I am a good listener. Being a trailing spouse here in Singapore for the past six years have definitely helped me hone those skills, having put in many hours over coffee discussing the trials and tribulations of life with others in the same boat as me.

I have been wondering how I can apply this skills in a more practical way. Maybe, I could make a career from all this listening. But how? I don’t want to embark on a full on Degree in Psychology or Counselling. It doesn’t feel right for me. It’s been so long since I studied, it’s just too daunting, not to mention the costs and time involved in a Degree.

The answer came when a friend of a friend suggested that if I really wanted to shake things up, learn a lot about what makes me tick & hone my listening skills whilst earning an accredited Diploma then I should consider the 9 month diploma course in Mentoring, Coaching and Interpersonal Facilitation conducted by Global Coaching Academy in Perth.

So what is Coaching and Mentoring? Well, it’s different from counselling in that it focuses on the present and future rather than delving into the murky waters of the past. Coaching helps people ponder on what is holding them back from realising their dreams, goals or from reaching their full potential. It works on the basis that every person has their own deep knowing but sometimes they just get stuck. A good coach asks powerful questions and respectfully holds a space for the person to explore their behaviour, limiting beliefs and motivations to help them to find the pearl of wisdom that is always there but often just hidden under layers of fear or old thinking. A good coach talks 20{95a2435e1d5758f6d9d5615cfe8f4203fd5bccff0e058dcf69a7b31d3a698e0b} of the time, really being in the moment with the client, listening intently, trying to pick up on subtleties and cues that might lead to the burning question that will help the client find their truth and move forward. The remaining 80{95a2435e1d5758f6d9d5615cfe8f4203fd5bccff0e058dcf69a7b31d3a698e0b} is for the client to meander along the path of their thoughts and experiences. The Mentoring side is more about offering wisdom through years of experience when asked by the client to help them move forward. It is offering feedback to the client in a way that is always loving and kind.

“That sounds just what I am looking for” I say to myself and before I know it I am on a plane heading for Perth to attend the first of 3 weekend residentials. What an adventure, catching the train from Perth station out into the suburbs to be greeted by a fellow participant and driven to the venue which is surrounded by the beautiful Australian Bush, so far it is all feeling right.

Those 3 days go by in a flash, I bond quickly with my 4 fellow participants. The course creator and founder of Global Coaching Academy, Belinda Baillie, is our teacher and co facilitating is Julie Skinner. Both are experienced coaches and mentors and are clearly experts in this field. They have a vast amount of knowledge and experience to draw upon, which makes the course feel all the more authentic.

It becomes evident that the premise of this course is that before we can become good coaches, we must first hold a mirror up to ourselves. The first 3 months of our learning, in addition to the art, science and theory of coaching, is based around self-reflection. What have been the turning points in your own life? What are the pillars of self-esteem? How healthy is yours? What are your triggers? How authentic are you? What are you limiting beliefs?

I come back to Singapore and begin an intense personal journey of self-discovery and I am surprised by what’s coming up for me. I am having more lightbulb moments than I anticipated “Ohhhhhh, so that’s why I behave like that, when xyz happens” The support is only a phone call/skype away should you require it and every fortnight there is a 90 minute online tutorial that we must attend. This is a good time to discuss what’s coming up and how we can apply this learning to our own coaching. We are encouraged to meditate and keep a reflective journal as well. It will all contribute to our personal growth and our final paper.

Three months of learning the theory side of coaching and the self-reflection work passes by quickly and the FIRST of our practice telephone coaching/mentoring sessions begin. Gulp! Time to put what I have learnt into practice. At least I have the comfort of knowing that my peers are also feeling anxious and that we are there to help and support each other as we go through the process. Also on the line is a tutor from the course to help us settle in and one of my classmates is peer mentoring me, there to provide feedback and encouragement at the end of the session. I have 45 minutes to chat with my client (a fellow classmate), I manage to hold the space, only talk 20{95a2435e1d5758f6d9d5615cfe8f4203fd5bccff0e058dcf69a7b31d3a698e0b}, let my client do the rest, and I am delighted when they come away with an outcome. Something tangible that they feel they can implement, that will help them in their life. What a great feeling.

I’ve now completed 7 of these practices and the feedback and learning from each session has assisted in my growth as a coach enormously. I can sense in all of us a new level of confidence and proficiency the more we practice. We are actually sounding like coaches.

I am implementing these new learnings and skills in my everyday life and it helps improve my relationships with everybody. I have found a new way of talking to my teenage daughter that elicits more than yes/no answers and we are engaging in some wonderful conversations that help her see things in a new light. It seems that this course is benefitting my whole family not just me.

The time has absolutely flown since that first trip to Perth, it has been such an amazing ride, the learning and growth I have experienced on both a personal and professional level has been immense. Now, I can clearly envisage the day I proudly hang my framed Diploma on the wall and I am excited at the prospect of using all that I have learnt to help others to navigate positively through life.

If you are interested in this course, please visit the website