Jackee Holder has kept a journal of her day-to-day life for the past 25 years. It’s her safe space, her place to vent. It also enhances her ability to really show up as an executive coach. Clients and supervisors can feel the benefits, too.
Over 25 years, I have filled close to 100 notebooks with thoughts, reflections, experiences, inspirations, ideas and aspirations. My journal has been a safe and confidential space, devoid of judgment, in which to vent, to rage, siphon off fears and daily dramas and all the things that get in the way of us showing up.
Journal writing is like playing the violin, as writer Kim Stafford describes in her book, The Pen and the Bell: “a violin played every day will keep the vibrations of the music in its body, even while lying still and silent. If it is not played every day, the vibrations dissipate and the wood grows lifeless.”
In my work as an executive coach and coach trainer, journal writing is an integral part of my continuing personal and professional development.
It’s a practice that I believe can benefit coaches, coach supervisors and clients.
Journal writing activates reflection – the ability to step back and pose an enquiry or questions about why things are done in a particular way, and then come to a better understanding of self in the process.
Research from the University of Minnesota showed that workers who write down the day’s events in the office experience a lowering of stress levels and blood pressure. They also experience improvements around physical symptoms and mental health, and the ability to switch off from work, for example (Metro, 2013).