Do leopards change their spots?
Can People Change? I believe the answer is yes.
I know from personal experience if we want to change enough then we find a way to do it. I suffered for many years with depression it was a constant battle with the darkness that enveloped my life. It was on one occasion after seeing my GP that he’d told me to look upwards and outwards rather than inwards. I had no idea what he meant I was disillusioned and had got to the point of ‘enough is enough’. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. The rest is history and I got the help I so needed from the right source which happened not to be my GP. I don’t want to go into all that on this occasion but more touch on how change can affect us all positively if we are willing to embrace it.
A new Spark.
A little over a year ago I was fortunate to coach a young man who could be described as having a history of improper behavior. He was unemployed, had personal and financial problems, and was into drugs. You could be forgiven for thinking “this guy’s on a downward spiral, what a waster”
He knew he was in a bad place, that his support network was pretty none existent and the chances of him finding work with his background were slim to zero. I love a challenge, and rather than be just another person in his life to kick him when he was down, tell him he was a waster that he would never amount to anything. I set about helping him change his self belief and in turn his life.
I saw a spark in him that no one else had, I told him I believed in him. He was intelligent and we talked on many subjects. Through our coaching sessions and countless conversations I identified his inspiration. His deepest desire was to turn his life around, to get a job and take responsibility. But as yet nobody had managed to help him do that, nobody had shown him their belief and faith in his abilities. He just needed a chance, someone to give him the leg up he so rightly deserved. I took on that challenge and wondered, could someone with a background such as this change, would he be open to turning onto a new path and would he commit to the challenge I presented before him.
I need not have concerned myself. As I found the old saying ‘when the student is ready the teacher appears’ is so true. He grasped the opportunity with both hands and his enthusiasm and commitment were amazing. He ran with the ideas I presented to him. I laid out in practical terms what was possible and how we could go about taking those all important steps to bring him closer to his hearts desire.
We encountered outside setbacks and frustrations we had no control over, yet his determination never faltered. Each time something happened I encouraged him to move a little further forward. We kept on, his own self belief began to mirror my own and he began to realise new found abilities and was progressing towards achieving his dream.
This was a specialist contract which offered individuals with difficult or challenging circumstances up to ten funded personal coaching sessions. This allowed clients who would otherwise be unable to afford coaching the opportunity to experience it. We had reached our tenth and after some very emotive sessions it was time to say our goodbyes. I was confident I had given my best as a coach and he had taken all I could throw at him and more.
Leopards do change their spots.
I bumped into him recently as I was waiting to catch a train. He strode up to me with a very large smile on his face. He was well dressed, clean shaven and looked a different person.” I am so glad I have seen you he said. I wanted to say ‘thank you’ for everything you have done for me. I followed through on everything we agreed. Including as a starter taking work I was offered to get some valuable experience. It didn’t pay much but it was better than nothing and I knew as you’d said the experience would put me in a better position. It paid off because I saw a vacancy with a much bigger and better company I applied and they offered me the job. I’ve been there six months now and plan to move home to be nearer, it will be a good move all round. It’s all down to you and the help and support you gave me so really I thank you again so much”
So why am I sharing this story with you?
From a coaching perspective it is a success and I feel grateful to have helped him on his journey. How many of us are in a much more privileged position whether it be financial or otherwise, and yet make excuses as to why we cannot take those all important life changing first steps. Regardless of what needs changing whether it be, health, financial, emotional, behavior, relationship or something else. With coaching support, determination, commitment focus, and self belief it is possible to bring about positive change. Your circumstances, background and standing in life can’t hold you back unless you allow them.