Programme & action: ERASMUS+, Key Action 1: Youth Exchange
Venue: Uzana, (Gabrovo region), Bulgaria
Dates: 27 September – 5 October 2016
Participants: Ludmila Pátá, Jiří Valeš, Barbora Opletalová
Please read the info-pack
Participating countries: Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Croatia, Spain, Italy, Poland, Great Britain, Romania, Greece
Hosting organisation: C.E.T. Platform Bulgaria
9 sunny days in Bulgaria
One day in the middle of September I looked at the facebook page of EYCB and I found an international project in Bulgaria with an really interesting topic – coaching. After too short holidays I was thinking of taking vaccation somewhere at sea relaxing, regenerating and doing nothing. This training course (TC) even seemed to take place “in the middle of nowhere” – pretty far from Sofia, far from cities, away from civilization and really far from the Black Sea. No matter how remote from my plans it was, the topic of coaching turned a light inside of me telling me just “Go”. I used to read motivational quotes manytimes a week mostly on facebook and also read few books about personal development and also about coaching a little bit. I participated in TC about non-violent communication and feedback giving last year and it was an amazing experience. When I got confirmation from the agency I was very excited.
Although I knew there were two Czech participants already in Sofia I decided to explore the city on my own. It always brings me the feeling of a new begining 🙂 One day for sightseeing in Sofia can be enough when you don’t get stuck in the National Gallery. Meeting point with organizers was close to the centre at the main Railway station. However asking for the best route can always be very funny and adventurous. Finally I found Nikolay from YAS Bulgaria and met guys from Greece, Romania, Italy, Croatia, Great Britain, Spain, Poland and Bulgaria. After nice four hours in rented bus we safely stopped in front of the hotel in Uzana in region of Gabrovo around one kilometre from the geographical centre of Bulgaria. We met the hospitality of Bulgarians very soon and after nice dinner we left into our double rooms to get ready for the start of the training. Actually the training started even earlier with two newsletters about coaching sent by trainers into our facebook group.
Except two days the beginning of our program was set to 9:00 am, the end of our common activities was set to 17:30 pm. Two coffee breaks a day always after one and half hour were just enough for our brain to get bright again. However hardly one could stop chating, interviewing or sharing feelings and experience with each other during breaks. The program of the day was developing continuously – the “box” of knowledge and experience was slowly opening during the day as a really valuable present. Every day our trainers Ogi and Dessi started by insipirational story. Both trainers were trying to explain topic very schematically, although their attitude was very human. We were all together discovering the principles of coaching – the essential necessity of correctly asked questions, the body and the frame of true empathy.
During a day there was always scheduled time to experience how is our attitude as a coach. Working in triads – coach-coachee-observer – was a good way how to identify our present limits. It was great example of “learning by doing” principle. In my opinion the greatest obstacles for common work were different personal motivation for participating in project and different experiences with coaching. In general the atmosphere was very friendly and during the project the sessions and discussions within the group were getting more polite, kind, and deep. It might look strange to build as deep and true relationships in such a short time, but that’s the reality of TCs with topics related to personal development.
I can say that since the first ice-breaking game I was sure this project is going to be special.
My personal experience from sessions with “my coach” were very intensive. I was just confirmed that right questions can be more than enough – that all the answers are inside us. Getting feedback from my observer indicated that my whole body and face express how important is the question for me. It was very nice to clear up my personal values and needs. The most valuable recognition for me was the connection made by coaching between emotional context of our needs or dreams and reasonable planning of reaching our goals. It is really nice to find this connection that we can rationally move forward towards fullfilling our dreams.
I was personally very curious how the coaching attitude can be useful for artists – people with intuitive, spontaneus, sensitive, emotional or impulsive way of life. I can’t say I got all the answers but I think it’s obvious that spontaneity, intuition and inspiration are something that is unable to be planned. Despite that coaching can really help with detecting reality (1st step of ROSA model – Reality – Objective – Solutions – Actions) and can wake awareness of necessary steps in every field of arts – buliding ground of every skill. Also coaching principles can possitively influence the ability of following the time plan. I am sure that I will use a lot of experience and knowledge i learned on TC either in my career, or in my relationships. I hope I will manage to implement coaching principles in my personal delopment and use them as a future teacher. After the project I am even more motivated to continue reading personal developement literature and to be as effective as I can become. I continue thinking about creating and non-formal educational centre for artists. I recommend everybody to participate in TC or YE with coaching as the topic. It was very useful and also very relaxing. Beautiful weather, common trip to Gabrovo city, hiking to the peak Ispolin, sauna, slacklining and impro workshop where the cherries on the cake of this wonderful project.