Where I Became a Coach

Stoke Newington Water Resevoir

Just the word coach made me want to vomit in my mouth.

I had had a track and field coach. She was awesome. I have no doubt I became a faster runner because of the disciplinarian we knew as Ms. Fox.

Later on, I had my first business coach. Claudia would help me see things through a different lens. She provoked me to be a creative entrepreneur (something I still have some resistance to twenty years on).

Now, I have a life coach. He’d chuckle at that term. He thinks of us as conversation partners. It does sound sweeter.

But for me to be a coach? Hell no.

Good Ol’ Stokey

Stoke Newington is a village-like part of East London chock-full of cafes, bars, eateries, and indie shops. Like most of London, it’s a cultural melting pot with Asian, Irish Turkish, Jewish, Afro-Caribbean, Polish, and Somali communities.

Off the high street is Clissold Park home to lakes, a skatepark, and some goats. My friend Alison suggested we have a coaching session here. She was training as a coach and I could see no reason why not to indulge. So off we set.

On a bright spring day, we meandered around the park. At a slow pace, it felt a bit like a school field trip only the students were missing. It was just me.

Deer in Clissold Park

In between coaching questions, my guide pointed to a few things of interest. Who knew you could swim, sail and kayak here? Deer went undisturbed by our presence.

After two or so hours of strolling through the park, we got to the nearby water reservoir. It’s here where I had my coach moment.

“You’re a coach!” smiled Alison.

“I am?”

“Yes, you are my friend,” she declared.

And that was that. A few months later I had my first official coaching client and I haven’t looked back since (well until now I guess).

Coach Aversion

While the idea of having a coach sat well with me, becoming one didn’t seem in my cards. My aversion had been twofold:

  1. Many coaches are snake oil salespeople
  2. There are too many damn coaches out there

Undoubtedly I’ve since taken a different view. There are many coaches who are genuine, compassionate, and impactful. And there are so many damn coaches because there is so much demand. Find me someone who wouldn’t benefit from someone invested in helping them flourish?

The beauty of coaching is that it exposes blind spots, reveals new perspectives, and allows powerful insights to emerge. I know this because I’ve experienced it firsthand for myself. And the past several years I’ve guided hundreds of others to feel the same.

It turns out that the reservoir played an instrumental role in assuring a water supply to sustain London’s rapid growth. And cheesy as it may sound, I can’t help myself in making the analogy to coaching — which is all about helping people grow.

I’m glad I took Alison up on her offer that day. Walking this path feels. And besides, the coaching life really does work for me.

If you’d like to try an open-hearted, no-pressure coaching conversation with me simply here

I can promise our conversation will be:

Co-Active: We’ll work together in action. You’ll stretch your sightline, get out of your comfort zone, learn, and grow.

Creative No two clients are the same. But every client is creative, resourceful, and whole. My superpower is the ability to dance in the unknown to help you gain clarity.

Candid: I’ll call it out! If you’re hesitating or demonstrating a limiting belief I’ll be sure to let you know.

Caring: I have no agenda other than to help you flourish. With this as our foundation, you’ll feel supported no matter what you say, think, or do.

Comedic: If drunks, kids, and comedians tell the truth — I think coaches should be in the same camp. Sharing things with humor is my way of expressing truths in an unthreatening way. Laughter is medicine for the soul.



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Jonas Altman

Jonas Altman

Founder, Coach & Author of the bestseller SHAPERS → www.shapers.life/book