From Student To Practitioner

I’ve always loved transitions. Moving from one place to another, starting things, packing up. It is a time full of potential and I relish the change. I’m meeting new people and feel buoyed up by optimism. It’s energizing.

In my current transition stage from ‘coach in training’ to fully fledged practitioner I am in a good place; the fear : excitement ratio has tipped slightly in the favour of the latter and that’s all I need to keep going.


The Between Space

For me, the difficult part was not the ‘becoming’.. it was ‘beginning’.

This time last year the chasm between student and coach was a dark place with no discernible path. I had a dream of being a successful coach, running my own practice and making a difference in people’s lives, but the in-between place was a no man’s land. How could I get started when what I was aiming for seemed an impossibility, a pie-in-the-sky scheme?

Visualising didn’t help. The picture I would try and build in my head seemed too far removed from where I was. I couldn’t relate it to myself, the disconnect was too big. Me, self-employed and running my own business? Or the biggie; me, being commissioned and paid for my skills and expertise? No, I just couldn’t see that. Because how can you imagine anyone else valuing your abilities if you don’t value them yourself? This is where my biggest doubts crept in; believing anyone would part with their hard-earned cash for what I have to offer.


Those First Steps

So, how did I move past the anxiety to start my journey toward becoming a coach?

I began by making some plans to take me in the general direction; enrol on a course (make sure it’s a long one!), tell people that’s what I’m doing (just to hear it being said out loud)! But the truth was, I never really thought I would get there. If I had, perhaps I would not have risked starting out!

Head down, step by step, I started wading through that murky in-between place and I have found my path. My training has bolstered my confidence but the biggest leap of faith has been an internal one, one of self-belief. Embodiment is integral to positive psychology coaching; a good practitioner does just that – they practice the values they espouse. It is this work that has helped me spot the mechanisms at play that had been feeding my fears for so many years.


A Little Bit of Hope Can Shift Our Perspective

Reading Snyder’s hope theory (1994) I recognised my own Waypower as being strong but my Willpower was a small voice, spouting caveats and get-out clauses! I’d had a good grasp of the reasons for this for some time but here is where positive psychology is different. It doesn’t only support self-awareness and understanding, it offers the practical tools for changing your behaviour out there in the real world.

For those of us interested in self-development, we spend years growing past our childhoods, coming to realise how the environment that shaped us also shapes how we perceive the world and ourselves within it. But understanding and recognition often only take us so far. I for one carried on behaving as if the beliefs I developed in response to my childhood were still who I was. I continued to act as if the cards I’d been dealt were the ones I still held in my hands. I couldn’t see the reality of the aces I had earned and acquired for myself.

The perspective shift needed might only have been small but it was fundamental. As you start to recognise your own agency in the world the knock-on effects just keep coming; you step out more confidently, your shoulders a little squarer and your chin a little higher.

An advert keeps popping up on my phone; ‘ How much is a person’s experience and knowledge worth?’ the man asks. I press skip so I never find out his version of an answer, but for me, – how much do I think my experience and knowledge is worth? The answer, it turns out, is simply what I believe it to be worth.


Snyder, C. R. (1994). The psychology of hope: You can get there from here. Simon and Schuster.

Read more about Tracy Bevan and her other articles HERE


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