It is an interesting experience, embarking on adult education. Schooling simply happens to children: it’s a path you walk down with very little decision. Oh, perhaps you might choose the subject matter and whether to go for higher education - but it happens to you, and all of a sudden you’re blinking in the harsh light of the real world with a handful of qualifications and often very little understanding of where you might go next. Choosing education as an adult is the exact opposite: you’ve seen the world and decided, “I want to be there” and then you make it happen. So, after 17 great years as a journalist, I felt I’d gone as far as I could, and I wanted to work with young people. I chose Noble Manhattan’s Practitioner Coach Diploma, knowing it would give me the skills I needed. What I didn’t realise is just how much extra I would get out of it.
Sure, the feats of memory and mental facility that were a snap for my teenage brain come far less easily now, but the thing about education is that you learn, whether you like it or not. And one of the unexpected – and invaluable – side effects has been its effect on how I think. It is impossible to work your way through the diploma modules without applying them to yourself, not just in the form of the exercises provided but by the reflection created by any form of education, which causes you to ask, ‘What does this mean to me? How does this apply? How would I use it?’
As you might expect, I am infinitely better at setting a goal, making a plan, following it through and making sure I achieve in a sensible time frame. But deeper corollaries are: after reading the question module, I stopped asking my young children ‘why?’ questions, taking a little piece of stress out of my family life. I started to apply the power of silence - I listen, better, which means I understand people better. My study on self esteem and limiting beliefs has made me more forgiving of others’ foibles. And I am kinder to myself, I see myself more clearly – my many warts and all – which means I’m calmer, and kinder to others. I am, simply, happier. What an unexpected gift.
And another thing: when I was 21 I was given the opportunity to study in Japan, along with students from 22 other countries. It remains one of the great experiences of my life – an extraordinary melting pot of cultural exchange, dialogue and understanding. Rather wonderfully, the residential course in Bulgaria had the same effect on a smaller scale. It took me out of my comfort zone, and reminded me that you can create rapport with anyone, regardless of background, religion or sensibility, provided you are both sincere in wanting it. In an age of similar friendship groups, how wonderful to discover the wider world again! Hermione Crawford - January 2018