I like to improve myself. It’s not that I am unhappy with myself, but I feel that doing nothing to improve myself is like going backwards.
On the projects I worked on, I tried to learn something everyday. I quickly discovered I learned faster by reading non-fiction books. Then I realized that I could learn even faster while following courses, or better practical workshops. I became independent because I wanted to follow more courses. I now spend 20% of my income (not my profit) to books and courses.
Although I was working in IT, I was always interested in the customer, in the relations between the developers etc. 7 years ago, I realized I wanted to learn more about people and their interactions. My father had followed a training for leadership when I was 15-16, so I asked him what he felt about that course. We talked a long time, the one sentence I still remember from that talk was: "I only regret one thing for this course: I regret I did not follow this earlier".
That was the encouragement I needed to know. So I followed the VTLG (Advanced Training for leading groups).
That one year course blew me away. It changed my life both professional and privately.
Fast Forward a few years: I realized that the lack of communication skills in a lot of IT people when I was working as an MCT
In the last issue of Microsoft The Architecture Journal Joe Shirey said it very nice in his The Softer Side of the Architect:
Many problems stem from the inability to communicate with people in the terminology they use on a day-to-day basis.
I agree when I hear from projects that go wrong, in 80% of the cases it is because of communication and not because of bad (use of) technology.
That is also why I switched from a .NET trainer to become an agile project coach.
After doing a few years of coaching, it felt like I wanted to do this the rest of my life. So if it is really my thing, why not follow another training on coaching. I looked at a lot of training’s, workshops etc about coaching. I did not really see any of these training that jumped out of it.
So I started to think, ok what are the skills I want to learn in this training.
I wanted to improve my communication even more.
Communication is 4 things. Reading, writing, Speaking and listening.
- I read 20 to 30 pages a day . I am a great reader
- One of the reasons for this blog is writing more and improving my writing skills by doing that.
- Speaking is ok.
- I have been giving technical training for 5 years. I can talk to IT people.
- I started my career as a Telephonic software support engineer. I can talk to customers. Both end-users and business people.
On top of that Dr Covey says that 40% of all communication is listening. Ok I think you can never learn enough how to listen. At least learn how to listen empathically.
Where can I learn how to listen?
And then I stroke me: GTT Gestalt Therapy Training (GTO Gestalt Therapy Opleiding). If there is one profession where people need to listen, it would be a therapist. And of all the therapist probably the gestalt therapy is where I will learn most (As they look at the complete picture.)
When I told my father that (He and my mother are now both Gestalt therapists), he agreed with me it was the best out of all the courses I mentioned.
On top of that I don’t know any other training where people learn how to listen. No other.
This training is 4 years. During these 4 years I have
- a weekend once every month.
- we have to read a few books,
- I have an exam about psychology.
- We have a homework group once every month.
- We have several practical exercise days on top of the weekends.
- We have to write a report about every weekend (I should be writing that instead of this blogpost.)
- Update: it’s considered best to do some learning therapy sessions with a real gestalt therapist. Both to grow and to see how it works in a one-to-one session
The first two years are personal years. The trainers do a lot of personal stuff with us. So we see them working with real people, while still working on ourselves.
The last two years we have to do work as a real therapist. In the beginning I tough I will only do the first two years. Before I started I realized I wanted to do the whole four years. So yes I will be working as a therapist for 2 years.
At this moment I still think I do this to improve myself as a coach. And I will not leave IT. (I might change my mind after I have finished the 4 years.)
One of the reasons is I see people doing dangerous stuff in groups. Someone reads a book and gives a training about that, and does not realize that he /she might go very deep for a participant. That is dangerous. I prefer to create a safe environment.
It is a fine line between coaching and therapy. I have already been accused that I was doing therapy in a company. I knew enough from therapy and from bringing greater results to teams to know I was not doing that. I did not knew enough about therapy to explain the difference to that CEO.
So if you came on this page because the fact that I am doing a Gestalt therapy training and you wonder why would a project coach, leadership coach do this; I hope I convinced you that I don’t want to do therapy in your company.
Oh I am sure I will run into people that could benefit from a therapist. If that happens I will focus on getting the best results with these people and at max I will propose them to go to a personal therapist. (And I do know 15 future therapist close enough to recommend one that could fit.)
If you like acronyms like GTT & GTO, check out my post on acronyms
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