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One Year of Coaching and a Lifetime of Change

cator_sparks_ch2 Cator Sparks

Cator Sparks

What a wondrous journey coaching training has been. Through it, I have been completely rewired. 

When I first started this journey, I was in such a different place. I was at a pretty low point and that's why I decided to really stop to rethink my life and what I wanted. I love listening and watching people blossom, and life coaching has helped me tremendously over the past nine years, so I asked around to therapists I knew and even my own coach about their thoughts of me exploring this career move. They all cheered me on like they had been waiting for me to make this decision since birth. Their response was my first boost of confidence on my new adventure. 

Looking back through my notes, sitting with all I have been reading, listening to, learning, I wanted to reflect on some of the bigger picture things I have learned through my first year of coaching: 

  • Slowing down: From the moment I wake up, I make sure to take a few minutes just for me, in silence, for my thoughts to come into form and not instantly reaching for my phone. 
  • Flow: The way I talk to people has changed. I ask empowering questions in everyday dialogue, I listen deeper, I try to let go of judgment.
  • Listening: I now can tap into my three levels of listening and really see the meta-view (big picture) instead of focusing on the minutia. This also has strengthened my intuition, which is a big part of coaching. 
  • Pride: Anyone who has read The Velvet Rage has most likely worked on their 'Gay Shame,' but it wasn't until coaching that I really dug into this. I was usually the only gay person in the class so talking openly about being bullied, 'sounding gay,' and finding power in my drag persona was life changing. I've always thought of myself as a proud gay man, but focusing on my values, life purpose, and inner allies, I really took my pride and acceptance of myself to another level.
  • Truth: The biggest lesson I have learned is speaking my truth. I have been talked down to and not stood up for myself for years. In jobs, relationships, and friendships. I never want to hurt anyone or rock the boat. And that has caused me to be bulldozed and bullied. 
  • Go Deep: I have learned to deepen the learning and not forward the action quite so fast. A life coach is not there to tell a client what to do. The answers come from the client and you just guide them along with the right questions. We don't have to solve any issues by the end of a call, we can go deep and let the client marinate in it until the next call.
  • I have learned that there are parts of me that may not ever change. But how I handle those demons has changed, from numbing them with alcohol to calming them through meditation, yoga, kettlebells, and the power of positive thinking. 
  • Coaching skills are life skills. I love sharing what I have learned with my clients so they too can live a life that is more balanced, that flows.

Self-work is never done. It's an ongoing process for those who choose to accept the challenge. I have gained so much self-confidence, self-love, patience, and acceptance through this journey. I am excited to share all of this knowledge with clients, friends, and family. I am also thrilled to be in a profession where the learning never ends. I am facilitating a GBTQ+ men's group every Wednesday for the national men's organization, EVRYMAN, as well as coaching for Boon Health, a mental health platform. Also, being a part of The Gay Coaches Alliance has helped me network with other gay coaches and even try some of their programming.
And now for the next chapter to unfold. I am so excited to see where the next year takes me and this new career path. I am trying so hard to be patient. But I am eager to expand my business, connect with more clients, and continue to learn and grow in the wellness world. Even coaches have to coach themselves: I know I simply need to take a deep breath, connect to self and spirit, and keep my eye on the prize.

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Wednesday, 04 August 2021

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