This week we share the story of a LifeTrek client who experienced the energy and love that often results from a coaching relationship. By viewing clients as creative, resourceful and whole, coaching clears away distractions in order to champion clients and encourage their infinite possibility.
Sometimes, to be the best we can possibly be, all we have to do is to get out of our own way. Coaches are often in the position of crafting a relationship, through conversation and a way of being, where that can happen. It is as though we become a friend with no agenda of our own so clients can hear and act upon the agenda of their own true self.
“Your friend is your needs answered. She is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving and she is your board and fireside, for you come to her with your hunger, and you seek her for peace. In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” • Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
This week we interview a former LifeTrek client who found her full voice through the safety of a coaching relationship. Participating in a relationship in which every word was respected, every dream celebrated, and every thought accepted, enabled this client to identify the relationships in her life where such freedom did not exist.
The intense and revealing process of claiming her values assisted her to turn down the volume of all the background noise in her life. She put stakes in the ground, no longer tolerating jobs or relationships that sapped her of energy and joy. Instead, she found the strength to jettison those “tolerations,” to set boundaries, and to make courageous, life-changing decisions.
She left a secure but unfulfilling position in the banking industry in order to take short-term assignments with the military. Although her military assignments were never a sure thing, and although they frequently involved being uprooted to a different military base, this client came to experience the travel and new experiences with a sense of wonder and adventure.
She also worked to clean up her relationships until they were all healthy and supportive. Now she has gone back into private industry, while developing a life-coaching practice on the side. This story of transition and triumph is encouragement for us all.
Q: When you contacted LifeTrek Coaching, what was your original goal?
A: It was very specific. I wanted to figure out an exit strategy from my position at the bank and I wanted to work on deciphering my options. I also wanted to balance my professional goals with the desires of the little girl in me who believed she could do anything. I can look back at my first 7 goals and see where I’ve done exactly that. For example, now I don’t tolerate anything less than a true a friendship.
Q. In what ways did your goals evolve through the coaching process?
A: It was the process itself, with specific questions and deadlines, which helped me the most. I’m such a free-thinker that I usually hop from one thing to the next. So, the homework added a lot of value. It was not just a waste of time. And, it was helpful that there was no hidden agenda from you.
Q: What was the impact that coaching had on your life?
A: Recently, I interviewed for a position and was able to develop the questions that I wanted to have answered based on the tolerations and foundations work that we did together. I’ve been using the foundations and tolerations with all my friends, coaching them to use them as well.
In our conversations, for the first time, I identified my strengths and weaknesses without being shy about them. I was able to be proud of them and know how to use them. Coaching gave me the direction I was looking for as well as a criterion for making decisions. I now use those standards in my business, personal, and spiritual life. It makes it easy to say, “That’s a toleration and I don’t need it.” It makes everything more clear cut.
Q: What shifts have you experienced as a result of coaching?
A: I have experienced shifts in my friendships and other relationships. My life is so less cluttered with people who just want small talk. I have the relationships that I want with people I can grow with and enjoy. It became so easy say, “I’m just not getting anything out of this relationship,” and to move on.
The tolerations work helped me to do that, as well as the foundations and goals. When I had those on paper, and they were staring back at me, I didn’t have time for interference. You said, “We want to assist you to get where you want to go, avoiding as many speed bumps as we can along the way.” And that is exactly what you did.
It has been a long journey, but I have been steadier and have followed a straighter path than I otherwise might have. You helped me see my skills as a coach and apply that to my life as well.
Q: What are the behavioral changes you have experienced?
A: I am no longer such a worrier. I know that things will work out they way they should. I can let things go more easily. I’ve learned how not to displace my anger, pouring it on someone else. The puzzles have been put together; I’ve rid myself of the things I was tolerating and the things that don’t add value.
And here’s the best one: for the first time since I was a little girl, I don’t have fake smiles anymore. They are big ‘ole genuine smiles. My mom said I look just so happy right now.
Q: How were you stretched by the process of coaching?
A: With you I was first able to say that I was a coach. I recognized new roles, how I act those roles out, and what those roles mean. I stepped out and developed my own company. I was able to see my ideas come to fruition the way I wanted them to be. My website, for example, is nothing less than I wanted it to be. It helped define who I was as a professional coach.
One huge stretch was giving up my house and moving my belongings into a storage unit. I had to trust in something more than a stable, full-time job for my income and not live paycheck to paycheck. What a great adventure! I lived on 12 military bases in 2 years, in different parts of the country with different people and different missions. Instead of filling me with anxiety, the travel became my theme song. I developed my strengths and learned how to use them to effect the situation and influence the people.
Q: What recommendations do you have for others who are considering working with a coach?
A: Coaching is like having a guidance counselor, a best friend, and a cheerleader who consistently asks, “What is your goal? Why don’t you work on that?” Great coaches don’t work their agenda; they work their clients’ agendas. So be prepared to clear out a lot of brush and see a lot of things you may have long suspected but never been able to focus on.
It’s important, therefore, to go into coaching with an open mind. You may know where you want to go but you need to be flexible about the path. I never thought I’d end up working for a new company, for example, in another state.
Look for a coach who will meet you where you are. Look for someone who is congenial over the phone and with whom you want to work. Go into the relationship with a trustful nature and make the coach earn your distrust. If you do it the other way, you could waste a lot of time building trust instead of working on the real issues.
Put your issues first and let go. You can be fully open and honest and your coach won’t use it against you. How great is that? With all the noise in the world and in our lives, we can all use assistance like that to hear our own true voice.
Coaching Inquiries: What are you tolerating? What and who is sapping your energy? Where does your heart “find its morning and is refreshed”?
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..
After reading the interview with the man from Puerto Rico, I am much more interested in how coaching can affect my life. Please give me a call.
I thought you did a piece that took a children’s book and used it to show that we can generate dramatic results in our workplace if we try to be nice to people. It was about a man, like Ebenezer Scrooge, who finally wakes up and decides to be nice. I did a search on books and couldn’t find it. Do you know what I’m referencing? (Ed. Note: You may be referring to my Provisions’ series, written 3 years ago, titled “Be Nice and Brace” Click. Hope you find what you are looking for there.)
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Erika Jackson (Erika@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International