When I signed up for coaching, I didn’t know how this would help. I’ve been pleasantly surprised, especially by how helpful it’s been to talk things through – and for the ways it’s shown me where my head was stuck in the mud!
When we complete a series a coaching sessions, we ask faculty to describe the gains they’ve experienced from coaching. Here’s what they tell us.
Talking Things Through
- It’s incredibly useful to say what I’m having trouble with out loud – just saying it often presents answers. Then, being asked questions about it shifts the frame of how I’m thinking about it.
- Regular conversations like this give me a perspective of time and what is and is not changing. When you say, “Last time we talked about…” it gives me a bigger perspective on my experience.
- The more leadership I do, the more I feel like things are just being thrown at me. Talking them through helps bring order, perspective, and a sense that I can handle it.
- I’m good at making lots of lists about the things that need to get done – but talking about them helps me think more broadly, put things in context, and see how all the pieces interrelate.
- It matters so much to have the feedback that a lot of what I’m feeling and thinking is normal – and to be able to gauge when sometimes it isn’t, and have help with those moments, too.
Calibrations and Changes
- I’ve changed from having no time to write to now having Fridays protected. It helped to start incrementally and test various ideas that I thought would work – but that didn’t. I had always assumed I should get writing done in the early mornings. It helped enormously to realize that just isn’t a fit for me.
- I’ve shifted from having a lot of worry to translating those worries into actions I can take. Sometimes it’s as simple as noticing things like, “That paper has sat on my desk for a month.” Instead of having that continue and build into worry, I take an action – even just a small one – to move the paper forward.
- I’m often frustrated with the things that don’t change – but I’ve learned to see the early signs of change and to appreciate more when I’m moving broadly in the right direction, even if it’s not yet manifesting in the specific outcomes I’m wanting.
- I’ve learned how to limit my formal leadership role so I’m not at constant war with it.
- I know I’m becoming less reactive. I have more tools that interrupt the reactivity and help me refocus on how I’d really like things to be. Sometimes that’s just being better at taking a breath or letting something go. Sometimes it’s quieting the inner panic voice: “Yes, I’m not comfortable, but I’m ok…”
- I realized that I should prioritize paper writing in the first six months after an annual review so that I know what is accepted before the next review.
- It was incredibly helpful to look at my conflict modes and realize how much I shied away from advocating for my own needs. Now I’m learning to look out for myself more and say, “I’m happy to do this with you, not for you.”
- I had naively thought that all academics shared an understanding of our goals and the role that students play. Now I see how many differences there are – some that help me improve my own perspective; others that I just have to learn to productively disagree with.