By Debra Payne
I was handed a bright, beautiful gift when I was given the privilege of learning to become a coach through The University of Texas at Dallas. The fact that this was all paid for by my employer (Western Governors University) made this a dream come true for me! It’s difficult to reign in all the benefits I’ve received from this program in one short little note, but if I had to sum up the biggest one of all, I would say it is this: I learned to ask powerful questions that can challenge assumptions and create new awareness, which is the space in which change can begin to happen.
Learning how to ask questions that evoke thought helped me immediately. I’ll admit that at the beginning of the program, I focused first on my own growth, both professionally and personally. Asking myself powerful questions such as “What is your biggest fear about that?” and “What’s the cost for not taking action?” which prompted me to move forward with bolder strides in my own life. I knew that if I did this first, my ability to help others would be much stronger and more effective! I was right: My job performance as a student mentor working under a Gates Foundation Grant with at-risk students improved, as I was able to be more direct and impactful in my communication with them. I also started working with coaching clients from all walks of life. As I learned, I was able to help many people move through their individual challenges, and make significant headway towards their goals.
What a joy this has been! I know I have much more to learn about coaching, and knowing this fills me with anticipation. Thanks, UTD!
Debra Payne, PhD
Western Governors University, Cohort 3