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  • Writer's pictureCommunity Bridges

Our founder's coaching experience

Building a life that stays true to your values and identity - an experience of coaching

Last year I took a 6 session coaching programme with CB director Patricia Afonso. The sessions were spread over 3 months, and each one provided amazing and sometimes surprising insights into my personal values, identity and vision for the future.

I am writing this article another 3 months since finishing the coaching. And I really feel that these sessions have helped me look at projects and opportunities with a more constructively critical view. Asking myself does this opportunity align with my values or vision for the future? This has helped me work more effectively and maintain a better work-life balance.

The programme started with a SMART goal setting exercise






By the end of the programme I wanted to achieve change in 5 areas

1. Becoming more decisive

2. Improving my work-life balance

3. Working more strategically with others

4. Earning more money

5. Being more creative on a daily basis

In fact, just thinking about the goals I wanted to achieve, when and why, was a brilliant exercise for getting to know myself. That was just in session 1!

One interesting thing to look back on as I write this are the 3 qualities of the coaching which Pat asked me about at the end of every session.

If you could sum up in 3 words what this session has meant for you

1. Enlightening | Challenging | New

2. Enlightening | Calming | Interesting

3. Enlightening | Confidence-boosting | Clarifying

4. Challenging | Thought-provoking | Intriguing

5. Challenging | Insightful | Uplifting

Enlightening and challenging seem to be the key theme and thinking back I would still agree. So much of life we just pass through, taking next steps based on other’s perception or advise, social norms or professional ambition. But what we need to do is be challenged and asked questions so we fully understand our identity, value and vision. And work in alignment of these factors, I believe that is how you get the most impact and value in life.

After developing my goals we discussed an approach which we verified each session. Depending on my needs on the day, my mood and what I wanted to achieve, Pat brought though-provoking, challenging and enlightening exercises to help me get to know myself and build a life that is aligned with my identity and core values.

2 exercises that stood out to me

Work-life balance exercise

We looked at my work-life balance, working out the amount of time I spend on my health and wellbeing, work, friends and family and how much time I would like to spend on each of these. I reflected that my mood often is involved in how I distribute my time, if I am feeling more stressed or anxious my time can shift to being 80% work. I kept a note of my mood and activity – starting to identify the best activities to do when I am fully energised and those that are more suitable to lower energy times. This helps balance and distribute my work according to my life.

Robert Dilts’ Neuro-Logical Levels

A systematic review tool helping you gain insight on your purpose, identity and drivers - i.e. beliefs, strengths, behaviour and environment.

This was the most challenging exercise and I still remember it now. In my office at home with Pat on zoom, me writing down on scraps of paper the headers of the questions and creating a pyramid on the floor. I would stand on each scrap piece of paper as I answered the related question. This mixture of physical movement with deep personal reflection helped me push myself and my thinking further than I would normally.

‘What does a productive environment for you look and feel like?’

This was the first questions asked in the Robert Dilts’ Neuro-Logical Levels exercise. But now it’s over to you, have a think and let us know what environment do you work best in? What does it look, smell, sound, feel like?

If you are interested in a being a more effective leader. A more cost-effective innovator or a more supportive community member. We are now offering coaching programmes to our community, please contact for further information on how you can build a life that resonates with who you are.


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