By Camille M. Cañiza
Graduate of 2024 ICF Level 1 Coach Certification, Benchmark Consulting
Manila, Philippines

Investing in this coaching course is one of the best self-investments I’ve made in my life, and to have gained invaluable knowledge and skills and a new perspective during this life break I’m taking is truly priceless.

During my February to June 2024 Accelerated Coach Training Program, I’ve had the privilege to coach a diverse group of people with different corporate roles, life roles, life stages, and socioeconomic backgrounds. I witnessed their strength and vulnerability, certainty and uncertainty, and happiness and sadness. No matter their differences and their gamut of emotions, they all converged to a desire to be a better person living a better life.

I am beyond grateful for the trust of my coachees, allowing me to help them see, be, and do better. I’ve spent countless hours reflecting on each session and coachee, writing my reflections and keeping the lessons (and what I should do better next time!) in mind as I went along the course. Now that I have graduated, I am thankful to be given this opportunity to share what I have learned.

To coach is to do the hard work within. It is more an internal work than it is external. To be effective is to work from the inside out. To do good work is to have one’s brain, heart, and gut work in good order and harmony during a session. One must continue practicing to be able to work with (boundless) curiosity, (real) compassion, and (instinctive) courage.

To be able to hold a safe and nurturing space is the best gift we can give our coachees, but to first hold space for ourselves to grow as a person and as a professional is the best gift we can give ourselves. We can only help transform others if we first transform ourselves. We cannot give from nothing.

Here are my key takeaways in my professional coaching journey so far:

  1. Self-preparation. I do a self-check if I’m ready to be 100% in mind, body, and spirit in each session. This is the reason why I space my sessions.
  2. Deep dive. The presenting problem is NOT the real problem. Go deep. Get to know the person more, and not the problem, so we can coach the person and not solve the problem.
  3. Being 100%. As clients (and even ourselves when coached!) tell their story, more often than not, they can’t identify what their real problem is, what lies underneath the problem, who they are and who they need to be, and what they need to do. That’s why we are here. Sometimes, they just want us to listen to their story. The answers may take a while to surface and the process may unfold oh so slowly – give it time and space!
    • During what I call the discovery process, as a coach, we need our MIND to be SHARP and CURIOUS (to help make sense through reflective inquiry), our HEART to be PATIENT, KIND, and NON-JUDGEMENTAL, and our GUT to COURAGEOUSLY put ourselves out there in the discomfort zone.
    • And when the stories are just overwhelming, we must strive for FOCUS by asking the coachee what he/she specifically wants to explore and achieve in the session, but then again, it may not come right away. We need to find comfort in the discomfort zone.
  4. Self-awareness. If we find ourselves emotionally and psychologically triggered during a session (as I did a couple of times!), we must strive to be self aware of what’s happening within and release whatever it is very quickly and get back into the game. Self-mastery is key.
  5. My mantra. I keep these two words in mind: Love and Enjoyment. I do this for the love of my coachees and for the enjoyment of the privilege of coaching, and with both, I hope to spread more kindness and compassion in the world, one person at a time.

Gratitude to Julius, Benchmark, my classmates, and fellow coaches for the start of this awesome life-giving journey. Ready for what’s next.