For a long time, I have had difficulty separating my business coaching and marketing services, and the personal coaching and therapy I offer. It always seemed as if I had to keep the two apart, because these are two totally different client groups. Good marketing practice says I should be clear which segment I am talking to, and I should make sure my communications are appropriately targetted.
I’ve had that view challenged recently. In part it’s come about as I have a new coach (I definitely believe in the physician heal thyself philosophy, so having a coach myself is important). In part it’ s come about because I recently attended a Dark Angels Creative Business Writing course up in Scotland, at a wonderful converted croft called Moniack Mhor.
There are 3 Dark Angels tutors. On the recent foundation course we worked with two of them: John Simmons and Jamie Jauncey. ‘We’ were an eclectic group of 10 writers, with varying degress of writing experience. Some people were already published authors, but for many of us the course brought the realisation that we were really are writers already. John and Jamie gave us the space to explore and expand our talents through a mixture of exercises, readings and tutorials.
There was a kind of magic that came about during the 5 days we were there. We’ve all remarked upon it. None of us can quite pin it down. But that’s what makes it magic. Some of it came from the tutors, some from Moniack Mhor itself which has a serene energy, and is set in a beautiful part of rural Scotland. But alot came from our interaction as a group.
I’m not just talking about the boozy evenings where we caterwauled, sorry sang, our way through the karaoke songbook, courtesty of 2 ipads (for the words) and some wee iphone app which gave Jamie all the chords he needed to accompany us on the piano. The time delay on the wi-fi meant that we were often on to the next song before the words for the previous one appeared. Half the time I was too paralysed with laughter to participate, and I ‘ve never been an Elton John fan, so I never learned the words to his songs.
There was also the spirit of the support, encouragement and friendship, which has continued after the end of the course. It was a piece by Neil Baker, one of the other participants, that got me thinking again about this question of separation. I’ve come to the conclusion that if you can make it work, all well and good. But if you can’t do it without experiencing significant amounts of angst and cognitive strain, then don’t.
In my career coaching work I see people tearing themselves apart as they try to be ‘themselves’ at home, and a corporate being at work. Clients even tell me it is not possible to be true to themselves at work, because Work wouldn’t like it, or they would miss the next promotion, or they would have no authority, or they would suddenly lack credibility. And in the next breath they explain how stressful this is.
How interesting that I have being doing something similar without even realising it.