[Day in the Life of a Coach]Interview with ICA Coach, Maria Paredes
(Coach Supervision, SPAIN)
Maria brings a world-full of experience to coaching. She has lived or worked in Venezuela, South America, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Barcelona and very briefly in Mexico. She has worked as an HR consultant, and as a Coordinator for employability projects for people with mental health history, multi-cultural backgrounds and mothers returning to the workforce.
Oh, and she speaks four languages English, Spanish, French and Italian!
Maria especially enjoys coaching coaches in an effort to create and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Because of her background in psychology, her own experience of coaching, and her cross cultural experiences, Maria feels uniquely positioned to support coaches.
Whatever her day has in store for her and her clients, one thing you will find her doing is spending time with her five-year-old daughter, Zoe. Family is the most important thing in her life, says Maria, and is the motivation behind her journey into coaching.
Interview with Merci Miglino
Merci: Hi, this is Merci Miglino and this is another Day in the Life of a Coach and we have Maria Paredes with us today who is a citizen of the world, originally from Venezuela but lives in Madrid, Spain, and has lived all over, wow, it looks like different continents and different countries. So welcome Maria!
Maria: Thank you so much Merci. Thank you for the opportunity of advancing the coaching profession.
Merci: Maria has an interesting background. She’s just completed the ICA’s Essential Program and has upgraded to Certified Program which means she gets involved in Observed Coaching and is readying herself for the ICF credentials of Professional Certified Coach. You have a background in psychology and psychoanalysis and I’m curious, how does this work in your coaching?. What do you see as a result of having this background and now, pursuing coaching?
Maria: Yes Merci. I am a psychologist. I have a psychology degree in Venezuela. I have a post-graduate in Jungian psychoanalysis in Barcelona, Spain. And I’ve also have had training in Gestalt psychotherapy. I have been myself through group psychotherapy and individual psychotherapy as part of my professional and my personal growth and development. And I saw coaching as a natural step for my career.
Merci: A lot of people have asked, well you have a robust background in psychology, what does coaching offer? Is it a complement? How does it differ as you see it Maria?
Maria: For me it’s a very useful tool. It’s very powerful and it differs in a sense that it works with people who are functional and maybe psychology is in general, for people who have an issue or an illness. So for that, coaching will not be suitable. Coaching is for somebody who is functional. You could have a mental health history but you need to be functional at the moment of the coaching.
Merci: That’s a good way to put it. They can work in conjunction. They can work alongside of each other. But the difference is coaching is for somebody who is fully able to function within the coaching relationship which means they have to be open to accepting feedback and be in the position where they can change. Very interesting blend of these two things I think from time to time show up. You know, with positive psychology which is more about fully functioning instead of restoring and wrestling with any past issues. So I find this really a fascinating field.
Maria: And I think that what is most important is that in a coaching relationship, the coachee or the client or the patient if you want to put it that way, has the wheel. The coachee is in complete control of the coaching relationship. And the coachee decides what to work on, what to address and at what level.
Merci: Well said. I think that makes it very clear. So thanks for that. So it sounds like from the professional and personal development, coaching was the logical next step as you said. Could your family have something to do with your decision. Tell us a little bit about that.
Maria: I made a decision, I needed to make a change in my life. So I decided to go through a bit of transition and I knew that I needed support. I knew that it was going to be easier to make that change, go through that transition with some professional help. So I was looking for that support and it could have come in the shape of a psychologist, a counselor, and but it happened to be a coach. So I knew about coaching, I wasn’t fully aware of coaching but I knew more or less what it was about. And so when I found the coach, I started to work with a coach. And I just found that it was so effective. So useful, so powerful that I felt that I want this to be my next professional step.
Merci: So what does a typical day in your life look like now? It sounds like you’re mostly through the transition. So what’s a typical day for you?
Maria: Ah, let’s call it a business start talk. I decided to do the coaching training, I went through it at a steady pace and it worked for me. I finished the Essential, and once I finished the Essential, I decided to upgrade to the Certified, which I have almost completed but I sort of taking my time to really think about the written assignments. A day in my life, is as I mentioned, I see more, at this stage, as a business start-up because I think, because of my background, I feel very confident with my coaching skills. It’s just the business part, how to get the clients, how to start-up your coaching practice, that’s what I’m looking at this moment. It’s like the coaching training was very straight forward for me. It’s just the next step. Once you are trained as a coach, then build a robust, coach practice.
Merci: Yes, where to begin and where to start. And it is a business. That perspective helps new coaches. Often we are a little concerned. Pretty common to say, “I don’t really know how to start” a business but I certainly love coaching. For me one passion can lead us to understand when we get started in a business. So have you given any thought Maria to who you would want to coach, a particular niche?
Maria: Yes. Well I heard a lot the expression that the niche finds you. Saying that, when I started coaching, within ICA’s coach training, one of the first things I did was to look for a coach who I could sort of reflect on my coaching. What I had in mind was, because I was aware of how the work of a coach, or a counselor, a psychologist or an agent of change is, what I felt was ok, once I have these coachees and clients, I know we are going to be doing some work that’s emotionally charged. And so I thought I would like a coach that I could go into offload the emotions that I’m getting from the coaches sessions. Because what I find is that we as coaches, or agents of change, we do a very good work, we offer a very good service, a little bit at the expense of the own person. I offer you a great service, and I’m a little bit charged with all the emotions of the work that we’re doing. So that’s what I wanted to look for, to offload that. And in the process I realized that it’s not just the emotions but also the idea. So you know when you talk to a client, you start to have some ideas. You might be wrong but they’re still in your head. And it’s helpful to have a place to sort of offload that, all that is going inside you as a coach or agent of change and then be more present at the coaching session. You as a coach be able to give a service that is in a way cleaner, and in a way more balanced for you as a person. Because I do not doubt for a second that a service we coaches and support workers in general is really good but it’s how then do we find a balance within us.
Merci: It’s like we’re an instrument of coaching, right? So we need to maintain that instrument and self-care comes to mind. Doing something about the emotions that might build up. Doing things that will keep us present with our clients and release judgement requires that we care for ourselves and I like that awareness. And even being able to provide for some of the other coaches as a coach provided for you. I think it’s a significant role. I think coaches need coaches. Yeah, we’re not immune. So I like that.
Maria: And it’s not only that we’re not immune. It’s just the opposite. Like if I’m not coached, I probably would have stopped my coaching as a client, as a coachee. But because I am a coach and I am dealing with all these people’s ideas, prejudgements, personal charge, then I think I need a coach for life to be able to keep a balance. To offer a service that I can possibly offer. And also to maintain the best possible personal balance. So that’s what I looked for when I started coaching in ICA. Well you know, this is something coaches will use or would be of benefit in general. And then I thought, well because I am a psychologist and I have this background, somehow I have the skills, the strength, the training, the experience to be able to give it. I have this extra that I can offer to coaches for them to have that service. And then I eventually found out that the name is coaches supervision. And I do not love the name, because coach supervision sounds like I’m going to supervise your work. And it’s not about that. It’s about offering you a service. You’re a coach, you’re an agent of change, you deal with stuff and you would benefit from this service of going to another coach who will offer you the space to offload and to reflect and to grow professionally and personally as a coach.
Merci: That’s really the point of having a coaching supervision atmosphere whether it be in a group where you bring what your challenges are with a particular client or what you need to express to feel complete like you said to get that cleaner and more balanced perspective. That’s very true.
Maria: It’s funny, you cannot actually go to the bar and say, “Oh I had a tough day” because of confidentiality so if you had a rough day of work, or if you’re struggling with something at work, it’s not something you can really share with the world. You need to share it within a very confidential space. And also to make it funny as well, your friend and your family are not going to appreciate you bringing in your work, even if you keep it really really confidential, people are not going to be happy to listen to you talking about your work. So take it to a professional who can support you and who can offer you a service for you to make that space to grow.
Merci: We’ve come to my last question, Maria. If you can tell the world one thing about coaching, what will it be?
Maria: That it works!
Merci: Hmm. Beautiful.
Maria: Yeah, coaching is effective, it’s powerful. It is a tool that is very useful. I also want to say it is not the only thing that is there in the world. It’s just a very useful tool. That it has worked for me and for many people. And that if you would like to try it, try it. Maybe another thing I want to say is that if you try a coach and for some reason, it doesn’t work, you can try another one because it’s just any other profession. Maybe you like another optometrist more, or a dentist more, or a lawyer more. You have that with some other professionals. If you try with a coach and it doesn’t work, try it with another one.
Merci: As a consumer, there are many varieties of coaches out there and there are many styles. And get to find one what works for you.
Maria: And when that fits your own personality, your own style, your own values. Again, it’s like almost any professional. There are professionals that you are not comfortable going to, it could be an accountant and you don’t feel comfortable going into the person’s office, so try another one.
Merci: Yeah. Exactly. Well thank you so much for spending the day with us Coach Maria. And we wish you all the very best in your continuing studies of coaching and of course in bringing this wonderful process to the world.
Maria: Thank you Merci. Once again thank you very much for the opportunity of advancing the coaching profession and also coaching supervision. Thanks a lot!
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