On Becoming Glish

Four years ago I ditched my possessions and set off on a “round the world” adventure with retired teacher written on my backpack. I’ve not stopped roaming since and don’t plan to stop – especially now that I have evolved from ‘retired teacher’ to ‘intrepid traveler’ to  ‘intrepid, digital nomadic English conversation coach’ and soon to become…ta-da….fanfare… a Glish Guru!

Hang on a minute, Charlie, I hear you thinking, what on earth  does a conversation coach do? What on earth is a Glish Guru?

Well, you won’t find an exact definition in Wikipedia, not yet anyway, but you will find me in cyberspace at Glish. This is how it goes…..

I wake each morning thinking about the good work I can do to be a good citizen of the universe and feeling excited about what, where and especially who, I’ll encounter that day.  My transportation mode to work is fast and efficient. My appointment schedule is of my own choosing. I take part in real conversations about amazing and topical subjects  from “The Kinky Sex Life of Insects” to “The Power of Believing That You Can Improve” to “Where is Home?

My needs are basic: a trustworthy laptop, efficient wifi,  a quiet space, a glass of iced-water.

Clients from all around the world connect with me via skype to practise real conversation about real topics in a series of 30-minute appointments.

I’ve adopted some habits: listening with brain fully engaged, using clean, clear language, never ever interrupting flow to correct mistakes and most importantly, mindfulness about cultural differences.

I listen to global voices. All this without leaving my little cabin in the forest in Northern Thailand. I feel fortunate!

It all started when I had the good fortune to meet Dani Leis when she  was completing a TEFL course with plans to stay in South East Asia to teach. Like me, she had decided to create change, crease-up life a bit and make her escape from the rat-race. As time went by, she realised that her forte was not classroom teaching. With enormous amounts of energy, perseverance and determination, she built up a client base on a tutoring platform, all the while developing a method that works brilliantly. She took the method and launched her own business, Let’sTalk! She tapped into a niche market attracting intermediate and advanced level ESL clients and was astonished by their progress using her method.

With loads of tips and guidance from Dani, I launched myself as a conversation coach, joined an online English tutoring platform and embraced her “tried and tested” method. It’s about having real conversations that focus on developing fluency. It works!! I tried to convince her to sell me a franchise for Let’s Talk! so I, too, could be independent, but the franchise idea did not align with her world view or her values. She spent the next year fine-tuning the method and exploring ways to share her vision for  English conversation coaching. Glish: Global English Conversations is the result.

One  thing I really like about Glish is that it will be operated as a co-operative – fully transparent – with opportunities for both clients and coaches to contribute, share and develop together. It may be the first digital English language learning co-op. Glish will be enriched by cross-cultural  coach-led group conversations, NGO partnerships to offer scholarships, a  focus on global issues as well as a solid site with easy access to mentoring for all coaches. It’s a people-starter venture involving sweat equity, an innovative organisational structure, people with skills coming together in cyberspace to create good. I like everything about Glish.

LIfe is an adventure!

Life is an adventure!

I felt euphoric after my first successful conversation coaching series using the Glish method. The conversation flowed…it was magical. After one month of weekly conversation, it was the day my client’s spoken words flowed smoothly, easily and confidently. I’m  now calling this feeling  the “Glish-glow”. I could feel it through the skype screen. I could see it in their smile. They felt it too!

I can take this work around the world with me and my goal is to be the first Glish Guru to spark a dialogue in South America. I’ll have Glish Guru stamped on my backpack for the next adventure but first I’ve got to earn this status by helping to build the Glish Co-operative.

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