This week clear out of the blue, My coaching partner Georgina Terry www.bpdassociates.com gifted me with a wonderful experience. Georgina had designed a workshop on developing Presentation Skills which she was going to present at the Commonwealth Youth Forum aboard the Caribbean Princess docked here in Trinidad for the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting. This ship was being used as a floating learning center for the youth of the Caribbean Region to discuss different topics and to offer free training and development for the youth.
Well as the story goes Georgina only found out two days before she was supposed to facilitate that the workshop was not one hour but rather one day and she could bring along other facilitators. So she called up her Associates Kaffi Phillips and myself to see if we would be able to help at this eleventh hour. Georgina redesigned the entire workshop and here I was off to facilitate a presentation which I had not yet seen. Because coaching is my passion, I rearranged my day so that I could attend this workshop.
At 8:00am after we had breakfast I sat with Georgina and looked through the slides as the workshop was begining at 9:00am. Slowly people started walking into the room one by one. Young people between the ages of 19 and 29. We greeted and had introductory conversations with different people as they found their ideal spot and made themselves comfortable in the room.
I do not believe that any of us in that room were prepared for the transformations that were about to take place. Being a transformational coach, those AHA! Moments (a higher awareness) when we stand in a truth and things can never be the same are some of the most meaningful moments in coaching.
Georgina began the introductions and began the facilitation, with everyone sharing their expectations and the ground rules- rules of engagement. The group got very involved setting out the guidelines of how they wanted to show up in this space.
As the presentation continued the youth realized that this was going to be an extremely interactive and engaging workshop and no one would be falling asleep or have time for boredom.
We worked with them around creating a vision and reconnecting with their passion in order to develop their compelling story for their presentations. Some people got to work immediately and there was a buzz in the room but others could not remember or find something that they were passionate about. So we walked around the room and supported those who needed a little help by using empowering questions.
I noticed one person in particular who had a blank page and was staring ahead of her in thought. I asked her if she needed some help reconnecting and she said yes. So we sat together and I began asking her some questions helping her reconnect to the things that bring her joy in her life. She started jotting down all these ideas and then I asked her to see if she could find or make a connection between them. I asked her not to think if it was possible, but to just open up to the image and create a space for the possibility. I asked her if I could share a possible perspective and option with her. As soon as the words came out my mouth there was a twinkle in her eye and her body shifter. She wanted to be able to write and share stories of different cultures and travel around the world doing so, and had never ever thought of that as a possibility for herself. Now she had a vision. It was as though a light went on inside her. I could see the energy of excitement, possibility, and passion pulsing inside her. I told her this was just one possibility and when looking at the words on her page see how she could connect them with the word and versus or and create something new and exciting.
After we had finished the exercise while Georgina was speaking two gentlemen came over to me to say that they were reporters with the BBC. They had visited the different workshops and wanted to interview five from our workshop as this seemed like the place where people were passionate about their views. So I asked them to wait till the session was nearing and end and then I would let them speak and introduce themselves so they could choose the volunteers.
In the end everyone was connecting with their “joy juice” the energy in the room changed, people were excited to share and participate and were eager to share and receive feedback. One person shared her story and had touched on a truth of why what she was saying was so important for the youth and shared a personal story, she became very emotional and continued as Georgina and myself stood at her side. She told a compelling story and it touched everyone in the room. She thought she had done a terrible job, because she had gotten emotional. I shared with the group that many of us think that power is a strength, a force, being in control of our emotions, not showing our weakness, but true inner strength comes from being able to stand in your truth no matter how difficult and share your vulnerabilities with others from the deepest places in our hearts.
At the end of the first session The BBC broadcasters stepped in and asked for people who were willing to share their stories, both the shy girl who I helped and the one who thought she had done a horrible job, were two of the volunteers that stepped into an empowering space. I realized that as the shy girl had allowed herself the opportunity to believe in the possibility, her energy shifted and BBC reporters arrived to receive her very first story. Validating the saying by Napolean Hill -What the mind can conceive and believe, you can achieve.
It was such a joy and privilege for me to be standing on the brink of an empowering space, witnessing these youth rediscover the passion in their hearts and their untold stories.
I was not present for the evening session as I had my radio show that evening the Power of storytelling and Kaffie Phillips took that session with Georgina. Georgina shared with me that the stories in the end were all beautiful and inspiring. Everyone had stepped into the empowering space of sharing their vulnerability, a truly powerful place where they stood in their truth, and were transformed as speakers, and presenters.
It was a wonderful journey from the head to their hearts.