This week’s Provision features a client who’s greatest discovery was that she did not need to be fixed. The work that comes through coaching is not about uncovering all of our flaws and mending them. Coaching instead encourages compassion and acceptance of our whole selves as a pathway for being at choice with who we are becoming.
Too often clients come to coaching because they feel wrong. They feel that they are broken and need to be fixed before they can do something truly meaningful with their lives. These clients come with walls up, resisting those parts of themselves that cause shame, embarrassment, or discomfort.
What you can’t be with won’t let you be. If there are parts of ourselves, aspects of our personalities and tendencies, that we cannot accept, we will continually attract people and situations into our lives that will force us to face those things. It is the way of the universe to keep showing us who we are so that we may become whole again.
If we can instead embrace those parts of ourselves, in others, that we have disowned, we can make peace with ourselves and with the world.
Such was the case for today’s featured client. This client came to LifeTrek wearing a mask designed to keep her safe from emotional risk and regarded as successful in the eyes of society. She left coaching as someone different entirely. In the course of the last two years, not only has her career changed, but so has the place she calls home, the people she calls family, and the name by which she is called.
Q: So how did you first learn about LifeTrek Coaching and what prompted you to contact us for coaching?
A: I attended a business dinner and heard Bob speak to a bunch of project managers about “flow.” I almost jumped out of my chair because at the time, I was digging into all sorts of self-improvement books, thinking I needed to fix myself and his speech really hit a nerve. He had us do a meditation during the session that stirred something in my soul.
On the Myers Briggs, I’m a Feeler and often felt like a different language was being spoken in the business world. Yet here was Bob talking about emotional stuff in a room full of analytics. I thought, “There’s something here in my heart. How do I get it out?!”
For 10 years, I had the same plan • to fix myself. I thought coaching was another resource for doing that. Isn’t that sad? I thought I was so broken and didn’t know what to do. I just wanted to find the right things to fix me.
Q: How did your objectives evolve or change through your work with a coach?
A: I learned that there was no need to fix anything. I needed to find out who I was and fall in love with that, with me. In doing that, I have gotten to fall in love with many other things.
Q: What impact has the experience of coaching had on your life?
A: I look at the first conversation with my coach as the point where everything shifted. Instead of living the rest of my life in my head, I get to live the rest of my life in my soul. I had been on a path shut off from myself, following the rules. If I had kept on with that, I would have appeared to be content on the outside but I would have been dead on the inside.
Q: What shifts have you experienced during the coaching process?
A: Everything else (relationships, career, hobbies and passions) is now secondary. The most important thing to me is loving myself and living without fear. That is what I do now. That is who I am. For many years, I was working on systems • Dr. Phil’s books, reading What Color Is Your Parachute?, etc. These all only addressed the symptoms for me. I had to open up the doors to my castle, my soul, again. In working with my coach, through the values definitions and writing that we did, I was able to get in.
Q: What behavioral changes have you made as a result of coaching?
A: I find myself giving again, much more freely. I don’t keep track of how much I’m giving anymore. I trust that the universe invited me here and that I’m right where I am supposed to be. I don’t get angry anymore. I don’t have a wall anymore. I’m more like the vision I had of myself in the future • I take care of people and am open to them. I have peace of mind, with no static.
Q: How have you been stretched by the coaching relationship?
A: I can’t think of a way that I wasn’t. Every question was a challenge of my wall. We picked and picked at it until we finally broke through. I’d get scared and then I would come back to face it.
Q: How could coaching have assisted you or continue to assist you more?
I can’t imagine things being better than they are now. I think that things are exactly as they are supposed to be. So, that question is irrelevant. The flower has to open in the time it’s meant to.
Q: In the future, under what circumstances would you seek the partnership of a coach?
A: I feel like Erika is my coach for life even if we are not formally working together right now. If we started working together again, I would be able to say, “I think I’m losing myself again, can you help me find the rooms in the castle?”
Erika knew me from the moment we met. She was patient and just kept saying, “Let me see a little more of you. It’s safe here.”
Q: What recommendations do you have for someone who is considering working with a Coach?
A: Try to feel it. See if the coaching conversation feels good, but don’t work with a coach who will give you approval. The coach needs to challenge you and put you in your growth zone in a way that balances your fear.
Q: What metaphor or analogy would you use to describe the coaching relationship?
A: Coaching feels like having been stuck in the car in silence on a long journey, then hearing the best music in the world and jumping out of the car into the street and dancing all out, dancing freely, for everyone to see.
Coaching Inquiries: What parts of yourself, personality, or character are you unable to love? What can’t you be with? How could you dance more freely?
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.
In your last Wellness Pathway, you compared the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems to the “gas” and “break” pedals of a car. While “break” would be the wonderful psychic and physical space we occupy when we’re not doing whatever it is / was from which we’re taking that break, BRAKE is the spelling for the mechanical contrivance that slows down an automobile, thus completing the parallels within the analogy.
And as I typed that last sentence, it occurs to me WE are automobiles, as long as we can propel ourselves. No wonder so few people pay attention to our English language • it’s darned confusing! And I don’t mean to pick on you; it’s the reflex action of a copy-editor who apparently was born with teeny dictionaries for blood cells.
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Erika Jackson (Erika@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International