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  • Writer's picturePenny Kehagioglou

How Lifetime Experiences can Power your Coaching approach

Updated: Jun 12, 2022

The following story is real and is a story of courage and perseverance. This story can teach us that our professional training can only partly contribute to who we are. Our life experiences, the people we meet, the choices we make and the learnings from those, mostly shape who we are and how we choose to live our lives. Reflecting candidly on those real-life experiences, distilling what worked and what didn’t work, under what circumstances and the impact of our choices on us and others, can power our approach as Coaches.

‘A young man sets out to become a school-teacher, he is compassionate, loves helping others to learn, has no fear of others being better at school than him and his performance is consistent and mediocre. He has the encouragement of his parents and his younger sister as well as his teachers and he achieves to get the grades he needs to start his teacher training journey.

Suddenly, his mother gets ill and eventually dies after couple of years. His sister is affected mentally by the event and drops out of school, his father worked long hours to support the family. The young man finds himself to be the main carer for his mother and sister during her illness and he cannot carry on with his studies to become a teacher. He gradually starts to appreciate that caring for people and treating people’s illness, enabling them to live a full and happy life for as long as possible really matters to him.

Following his mother’s death, he drops his long-term vision of becoming a teacher and he decides that he wants to become a nurse, specialising in palliative care and pain management. He works hard and takes him another 2 years to complete his exams and he finally succeeds in entering university and start studying for his nursing degree. He has sacrificed a lot to achieve his goal, his friends moved on ahead of him and he had to move away from his family home. His character strength of perseverance, empathy, hope and love for what he truly believed was his purpose in life, enabled him to get through his difficulties.

He joined the university of his choice, excelled in his studies, made new friendships, travelled around the world in humanitarian and charitable missions to help people and communities and fundraised for orphans with mental health illness, like his sister. He has also inspired his sister who is now also training to become a nurse.’

It is difficult to isolate a single story from the number of powerful stories I have heard from people over the years. The one theme that comes out strongly in the above story, is the magnitude of human resilience which powers our leadership potential. This young man’s resilience comes from his strong values of empathy, compassion, purpose, love of life and family.

How inspirational it would be if we all reflected on our experiences, our own and other people’s stories, in order to enable people to face life adversities positively and with hope.

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