The Making of a Coach

For those who don’t know – and if you don’t know, why the hell not – I spend one weekend a month in New York City. That is until I move here.

In February of 2016 I started life coach training with Accomplishment Coaching. They’re the most prestigious training program of it’s kind and I see why.

I am about to go start month eight of a twelve month program. And I can safely say that my life is forever blessed and will be forever changed by this experience.

Full disclosure, I can’t go through the details and the blow by blow of what’s going on each month. I’d love to, but there’s a measure of confidentiality and secrecy that needs to be kept.

While I am not able to go over the nuts and bolts of what’s happening, I’d love to share the ways in which I’ve changed and grown in these seven months.

Make no mistake about it, there’s a long way to go between now and January. There’s a long way to go between now and the time I’m able to get certified. But that’s absolutely irrelevant right now.

I am a different man now than I was in February.

Perhaps the biggest thing I have learned is that the Great Wall of Ryan has started to erode. I’ve built the Great Wall for two main reasons.

  1. To keep others out so that they can’t hurt me.
  2. To keep me away from others so that I can hide and stay safe.

I have my reasons for the wall. And I have wanted to be right about it for so long. Because keeping people away from me has kept me safe from judgment, ridicule, and bullying. And it keeps my imposter syndrome live, alive, and in charge.

You know my imposter syndrome? That eventually my greatness is going to be discovered to be a fraud.
With my work in therapy and in coaching over the past three years, I have seen little chips away at that wall. Think hammer and chisel here.

Accomplishment Coaching has been like semtex, C-4, and dynamite rolled into one. And the ignition switch…the plunger…

That’s my long way of saying that AC has blown my wall up. Blowed up real good.
It scares the hell out of me. I’ve used that part of me to survive for close to 40 years. It’s kept me safe, but it’s also kept me from developing true and authentic relationships.

I learned that authenticity is nothing to fear. That authenticity isn’t something you should be afraid of. Authenticity opens yourself up to the full expression of who you are and that’s a gift to humanity.

Another thing that’s a gift to humanity: vulnerability.

I have an aversion to showing emotion in public and in front of others.

Okay, I take that back. I hate showing emotion with the heat of a supernova!

I don’t know if this is a man thing or a Ryan thing or both. But – to me – showing emotion is akin to weakness. If you’re a man and you cry, you’re weak-willed. You’re…well, all I’m gonna say is that if you cry then you’re no better than a popular slang term for the female sexual organ.

Y’all know the word I’m talking about, right? I’m trying to keep this blog all ages here.

But I keep telling myself that crying is just water leaking from your face. If a woman can cry in public, why the hell can’t a man?

There’s one more thing I have learned. This has blown all of my minds and has affected my body and soul in ways that I can’t really explain or understand fully. That thing I’ve learned is that I can be accepted unconditionally and without question by a group of people I’ve never met.

Before I met my teammates, I didn’t know any of them. And they didn’t know me. I knew one person involved with the program – my old coach and mentor.

In these four months, I’ve grown to love each and every person in that room. These are people who come from all walks of life. They come from all ways of being. Men, women, black, white – human.

I have developed close friendships with several in the room. And those who I haven’t become friends with yet, I will by January.

In all honesty, I don’t know if I would have sought out the friendship of my teammates if we weren’t in the program together. There’s a lot of preconceived notions about their covers. But as the novelist in me knows, you can’t judge a book by its cover.

I am proud to write this next sentence. The people in that room are my family. My brothers and my sisters.
But more importantly than that, I have been accepted. I have been accepted by these people without question, reservation, or hesitation.

I always thought that I was only loved for my sense of humor. And when I wasn’t the funny guy, I was easily discarded.

But I’m loved for me. I’m loved for my funny, my warmth, my connection, and my generosity. I’m loved for my me.

As I’m writing this, I’m blown away by my language. Not only has this group of people accepted me without question, but they’ve opened my eyes and heart to know that I’ve had this all along. I have had this kind of circle in my life this whole time.

“I think you’d really dig it,” my old coach told me as I was considering this move in my life. I couldn’t tell you how drastically she undersold it!