To move forward in life, sometimes we need to see things from a different point of view. Like putting on special glasses to watch a 3-D movie, coaching can bring things into focus and make things jump out at you in fresh and surprising ways. Today’s featured client tells the story of how she put on those glasses and keeps looking through them today.
The best reply to that age-old question, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” is, “Yes.” Sometimes we act ourselves into a new way of thinking; other times we think ourselves into a new way of acting. And the process of coaching usually gets people to experience a little of both.
There’s no doubt that the habits we develop, the words we speak, the thoughts in our mind, and the feelings in our heart influence the direction of our lives. Habits, words, thoughts, and feelings are the stuff of coaching. Through conversation and a way of being, we assist our clients to discover new perspectives and to move in new directions.
Today’s featured client, a Senior Project Analyst for a major US corporation, shares the significance and the process of shifting her frame of mind • the way she was thinking and feeling about life issues in both her personal and professional life. By shifting perspective, by putting on a new pair of glasses, this client was able to make her life much, much better.
Q: How did you learn about LifeTrek Coaching?
A: My best friend, who was working with you herself at the time, introduced me to you in the fall of 2001. You were completing your Certified Professional Co-active Coach training, through The Coaches Training Institute, and you were looking for a practice client to complete a class assignment. So I agreed to one, 45-minute practice session. After that one session, I hired you as my coach.
Q: When you contacted us for coaching, what did you want to work on?
A: I actually was not looking for a coach when I agreed to that practice session. I thought I was just helping you out. But immediately following our first session together, I recognized that working with a coach was exactly what I needed.
I wanted to work on making the best out of a career that I didn’t want to be in, including improving my ability to deal with my management team. I also wanted to improve my health and fitness, and to gain independence from my coupled friends.
We ended up working together every week for about 18 months. Since then, we’ve continued to work together sporadically, off and on, when I wanted to focus on another area of my life. Our coaching relationship has been very significant for me.
Q: How did your objectives evolve or change over time?
My objectives and the focus of our coaching evolved as situations in my life arose and changed. For a while, staying motivated in the area of health and fitness was the focus of our work together. Additionally we focused on my career, which motivated me to get back to something I love: my passion for writing.
We also focused on the personal, work, and romantic relationships in my life. We worked a lot on “in the moment” stuff while staying focused on building fulfillment and balance across my whole life. We always had an “anything goes” conversation each week.
Q: How has the experience of coaching impacted you?
A: Our work together resulted in so many “light bulb” moments, especially in between calls. I learned to step outside of myself and look at the big picture of my life: my dreams, passions, who I wanted to be, and what I wanted to do in life. The process challenged me to step back and to let the answers I was searching for simply come to me.
It also enabled me to be more open to considering another’s points of view. I became less judgmental all the way around, and much less quick to assume that someone was “personally attacking me” with their words or actions. I learned to put myself in the other’s shoes, which made an incredible impact on my life.
Q: What were the large or small shifts (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, etc.) that you made because of coaching?
One of the largest mental and emotional shifts I made was that I learned to be more gentle with myself. I used to be so tough on myself and hold stuff against myself. Coaching assisted me to let go of this, to be more kind and forgiving with myself.
Another shift was that I stopped taking stuff so personally. For example, when a friend would make a comment I would dwell on it, even if they meant me no harm. Because of the coaching, I can now laugh with my friends more and take things more lightheartedly.
I have a much more positive way of looking at the world and a much more positive self image. I am also much more aware of my gremlin (the inner voice of my negative critique). I’ve learned to be more forgiving of myself, even when I choose my gremlin’s option. Overall, the many shifts I made got me out of a negative funk.
Another important shift helped me to work through conflict in close relationships. By making some mental and emotional changes, I developed a more productive way to talk to my best friend. And I certainly learned to take criticism constructively, as a learning experience, in order to prepare myself to act differently the next time.
Q: What behavioral changes did you make through coaching that you are still practicing today?
A: Well, in addition to the things I’ve already mentioned with regard to my mental and emotional shifts:
- I started writing again and working toward getting articles and even a book published!
- I’ve become considerably more outgoing and I’m no longer afraid to be alone (going out by myself) in social settings.
- I stopped smoking for a long time and today my smoking has been reduced to where I have only an occasional cigarette.
- I’m far better at dealing with frustrating situations and interacting with people who frustrate me, especially in my workplace.
- I’m not as hard on myself.
- I now workout regularly and I’m much more conscious of my eating habits, living a much healthier lifestyle.
- I’m aware of my inner gremlin and I consciously choose the perspectives from which I live and function.
Q: Did coaching push you beyond your comfort zone? How were you stretched?
A: Coaching certainly did push me beyond my comfort zone. There were a few times when I got into a negative vicious cycle that was very difficult for me to come out of. The coaching prompted me to work very hard to break these cycles.
The most difficult work I did through my coaching involved shifting my perspectives about so many things (about my health, my relationships, my career, and my future), but this perspective work brought so many rewards to my life.
Additionally, coaching stretched my listening skills and my openness to other perspectives. I had to stop and say “I’m frustrated,” then let it go so that I could “try on” another more powerful perspective. This required that I physically, mentally, and emotionally “leave the perspective” I was currently in. As I tried on other frames of mind, I found perspectives that were more satisfying, powerful, freeing, and fulfilling.
Q: What would you say to others who are contemplating working with a coach?
A: Coaching is not therapy. It is also not complaining about your day and having someone feel sorry for you. Coaching is taking an emotional, analytical, logical, and hard look at your life so you can move toward the improvement that you want to make in your life.
Coaching allows you to work on something that you desire, to try new strategies in a positive and motivating way. Coaching is where you sit back and discuss goals, obstacles, and how to get where you want to go and who you want to be in life.
If you’re not sure where you want to go, you’ll figure it out with a coach. Coaching is a lot of hard work on self, but you will come up with the answers. The coach does not give the answers but guides you to uncovering your own powerful thoughts and feelings. Coaching helps you find the answers you need to live the life you want.
Coaching inquiries: Where in your life are the glasses that could shift your perspective and change your life? Where could you use a little nudge? What frustrations are you ready to release?
To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.
Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..
I have enjoyed so far glancing over your site on my PDA. I have subscribed to your e-mail version and look forward to learning a great deal. I saw your recommended reading list and I’d recommend three books that have impacted my life: His Needs, Her Needs & Love Busters by Willard F. Harley Jr. as well as The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell. Hope you enjoy them! (Ed. Note: I have looked at Maxwell’s book and agree that it is good. We will add them to our site. Thanks for the recommendation.)
I recently visited your Website and was very impressed with your video message Click. Great content and technology!
I have been having trouble viewing some of your pages using the Mozilla Firefox and Opera web browsers. I don’t like Internet Explorer because it is just too much of a security risk. Could you fix the problem? (Ed. Note: Thanks for the heads up. The problem is now fixed.)
Please congratulate Megan on her new book! Click I look forward to reading it!
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Christina Lombardo, PCC, CPCC (Christina@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International