WHO AM I?
Coaching was definitely not my first calling. I am what you call a ‘late bloomer’. I trained as a teacher in visual arts and I also have a university degree in art history. After an interesting career at the Catholic University of Leuven, I started my own company as Professional Conference Organiser, which fitted some of my talents well.
However, after 18 successful years, the work could no longer offer me the fulfillment I was looking for and I became keenly aware of other themes that were closer to my heart in this phase of my life. Through self-study and self-examination, it became clear to me that coaching could offer me the fulfillment I was looking for.
Automatically I started looking for clues in my personal history that could point to coaching being my ultimate destiny.
At first I did not see the connecting thread. I saw plenty of what seemed to be loose dots, but when I started connecting them, a clear drawing appeared.
Now I realise that I have always had a clear preference for the natural course of things and a belief in the self-healing power of people and the human body. I insisted on a natural childbirth for our 3 children – after all, having a child is not an illness! Two of our children were born at home which gave me full control as a woman in labour. Later on we chose to send our children to a Freinet school, where self-managing plays a very important role. Finally, a few years ago I trained as a herbalist, because I have always been fascinated by the fact that the human body, together with what nature offers, has an enormous self-healing power.
As a coach I firmly believe in the natural creativity and resourcefulness of my clients to take their own lives in hand and solve their problems.
Another theme that emerges is empathy. I easily sense the emotions of people around me, as if they were my own. It takes me little effort to see the world from someone else’s point of view. I also do not judge others at first sight and it takes me little effort to give my full attention to someone. It is no wonder that quite a few people have confided in me when they had a problem and needed a listening ear. A good friend recently told me she really appreciates this and that it is rare.
As a coach this is an important skill, even an absolute condition: to be very present and listen to your client without judgment.
As a coach I ultimately want my client to take steps and take action that will lead to more fulfillment in life.
Next to this I now also see very clearly that I have always been very enterprising and creative. I take decisions quickly and once this is done, I take action. It is no coincidence that I was an entrepreneur for 18 years, with my own company in conference organisation, employing 4 persons at its peak. When this no longer offered me the fulfillment I sought, I promptly changed course. Many of my acquaintances call me brave to have done so, 10 years before the official retirement age.
Last but not least, there is the theme of service-mindedness towards others and creating great satisfaction in helping others. Conference organisation is a good example: the goal of our services was to take away the practical worries from our clients, so they could fully concentrate on their expertise, namely the content of the conference. Many aspects of this work have therefore given me a lot of fulfillment. I have also been active in community activities for many years, as I value the larger goal for society. The connection with coaching strikes me now as well.
To make a difference, to help others make their dream come true and reach their full potential – this is what attracts me in coaching.
So when I connect all the dots, it is no longer odd that I became a coach.
I am a Certified Professional CoActive Coach (CPCC). I followed the core training and the certification programme with The Coaches Training Institute (CTI) from the US. More information can be found on www.thecoaches.com.
I am married to Mark and we have 3 beautiful grown-up children: Niko, Nina and Benjamin. I am also grandmother to Delano and Livio.