My coaching journey with Shirley: The origins of “coaching”…The first use of the term “coach” in connection with an instructor or trainer arose around 1830 in Oxford University slang for a tutor who “carried” a student through an exam. The word “coaching” thus identified a process used to transport people from where they are to where they want to be.I met Shirley Pool in 2011 and I wish it had happened sooner. Shirley graciously gave her free time to support me through my career development and personal goal achievement. At the time we were both employed by the same company, however I came across Shirley’s skills profile in 2009 and I was in awe of the strong programme management and general IT experience Shirley had in her profile. There are not many local South African women working in IT management roles for +/- 30 years, whilst being a mother and raising a family. In 2009, I knew already, that should I meet Shirley in person, I would love to have a coffee with her and find out how she made her way through her roles and have some insight into this strong woman’s career, so that I too can see the possibilities in my own career. I have a background in human resources and resource management but my dreams and aspirations were to move into project management. Shirley helped me put my goals into achievable small chunks and together we made it happen. The journey took some time, had huge learning spikes and challenges for me. However, from a coaching and mentoring perspective, Shirley helped me focus on what is achievable now, what can we plan for and what key choices and opportunities I should potentially look out for. In isolation and without insight from someone who has been there, done that so to say, it was a limited view of the horizon, based on my experience. Shirley helped me think differently and I soon started to learn from her experience. I was a single parent during this journey and not everyone is privileged with the time to make every mistake themselves, so Shirley taught me how to grasp the lessons learnt and apply them in real life experiences. I also experienced a very traumatic attack in my home, which led to a criminal court case and thankfully a successful end. However trauma does take its toll on one’s mind and ability to focus. Shirley helped me regain focus on the career goals and positive life goals that I wanted for my then 4 month child and I to achieve. My coach walked with me, alongside me though this journey helping me see situations differently, to think differently and see the possibility in the painful moments. And because of Shirley, I grew from this pain both career wise and in my personal life. I am now a successful agile project manager working at a multi-national company. I have achieved all the milestones we set out to obtain. During this journey with Shirley, I was motivated enough to complete my Prince2, Lean six sigma, COBIT 5, ITIL and I am a certified SAFe Agilist. In my personal life, I found peace of mind and happiness, I am now happily married and now have my second child and I feel very blessed. Blessings come in different ways and we have to seek them at times and I am very grateful for Shirley Pool. As my coach and mentor, she helped me grow into the person I want to be, the person I am proud of and a career and life I love. Shirley took me from my “as is” to my “to be” and we still meet twice a month to continue this growth journey. I would highly recommend Shirley Pool as a coach, mentor and life advisor. Shirley gave me a competitive advantage in a digital world that is ever changing and helped me think better.

“Plan purposefully. Prepare. Proceed positively. Pursue persistently.” – William A. Ward

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