Hi, I’m Colin. Everyone calls me Col. I’m married to Claire and I’m dad to Teenager-Daughter and Almost-a-Teenager-Son. We all live in Derby, England.
And I'm a coach.
Took me a while to figure that out, but now coaching is one of my biggest joys in life.
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After finishing a degree in geography I entered the world of corporate IT. It made perfect sense at the time. Honest.
I programmed, I project managed, I fixed services, I led teams that fixed services, I transformed teams and departments. At the start I just focused on the screen in front of me, when I left I was leading teams of hundreds. At the start I was focused on what I could do. That quickly and firmly changed to helping others achieve the best they could. I had many job titles during those twenty years, but the one constant was that I coached.
Twenty years went by. Then I left. It was okay though. I had a plan: I’d go contracting. Earn a decent amount of money. Use the IT skills I'd collected over two decades. Then, after five years of that, I could do what I really wanted: coach full time.
Several months of frustration, apathy, and ignoring the truth of my situation followed.
I know now that lots of things happened that changed my direction, but two specific ones stick in my mind.
First up, an Interview. It was for a great job. It would give me more than enough money for the family to live comfortably. I’d have to travel again, but it would only be for a year or two. I’d have my prize of doing what I truly wanted down the line. It might even bring it closer by a few months.
The interviewer was brilliant. She knew her stuff, she knew what they were after, she asked devilishly hard questions. I felt I was responding well though and it was all going smoothly. Then, she asked what I was most proud of.
Not my biggest achievement, my best success, the most valuable delivery. What I was proud of.
I'd asked a variation of that question in a hundred interviews, but never had it directed at me.
I stuttered for a bit but then the doors opened. I didn’t stop talking about the positive changes I’d helped others accomplish in their lives. Promotions, career changes, life changes, decisions about relationships, direction, parenting, turning outsourcing into something positive, successes out of work.
There’s not much you don’t cover when you've led hundreds of people.
I spent the rest of the day thinking about coaching and nothing else. What it would be like to do it now.
But that wasn't the plan...
Later that evening I was sat on the sofa going through the motions of sending my CV off for various jobs. My heart wasn't in it, but this is what I did every evening, it was autopilot. Claire came down from saying good night to Almost-a-Teenager-Son. She had tears in her eyes. As she came over I asked what was up.
"He just turned to me and said, 'this will sound silly Mum but I feel closer to Dad.'"
I smiled, but I could feel my own eyes well up. "That’s nice. Did he say why?"
Claire sat next to me, reached out, put her hand on my leg. "He said it was because you were here in the morning, but more because you drove him to school."
I chuckled, wiping my eye. "But we sit in silence, apart from the odd silly joke."
"That’s what he likes," said Claire. "He likes that you just sit there. Then fist bump when he gets out the car, you say you love him, he ignores you and smiles."
Lots of things hit me at that moment, but none more so than the fact that in five years time Almost-a-Teenager-Son would be able to drive himself to school.
Twelve year olds often hit on the truth with pin-point precision accuracy.
In that moment I chose to be a coach.
Rather than choose to do the same thing again - to stay in IT and coach in the background - I got curious about what I could do if I flipped it.
That choice, that curiosity moved me forward.
And now I'm doing what I love.
Hi, I’m Col. I’m a coach.