What Is Coaching Anyway?
Coaching sessions are about an hour or more on the phone or in person and involve extensive dialogue. The purpose is not to offer therapy, relaxation or coping mechanisms but rather to find a pathway that works specifically for you, so you can apply it every day to your life.
Language is important because a word or phrase that triggers understanding in one person may confuse someone else. There is no script, just a mutual connection. Fit is important.
One of my favorite quotes that echoes this philosophy is:
"The teacher and the taught create the teaching."
As a coach, my goal is to try another tack when there is confusion and to continue deepening the exploration when there is understanding.
Being A Client
Most of my clients have a strong desire to learn and grow. They want to be better versions of themselves.
The focus is often on work: being a better leader, managing time, communicating effectively. We also cover other areas such as work/life balance, having a stronger sense of purpose and meaning, being a better listener, partner, and even parent. There's a notable commitment to self-understanding.
This is ultimately a path to self-awareness. How can it be any other way? Only you know the path towards the goals you identified. I serve as a brief companion on that long journey of self-reflection.
A Peek Into A Coaching Session
Below is a sample of how a session could go:
Client: can you give me ways to be calm and focused when I'm at work?
Coach: tell me about a time when you were completely relaxed and comfortable just where you were.
Client: it was at my best friend's house when we were talking about our kids.
Coach: what exactly was comfortable about it?
Client: there was a natural ease to the conversation where I didn't have to struggle to be myself. I wasn't wearing a mask, the way I feel like I do at work.
Coach: why a mask? Do you not feel like yourself at work?
Client: in a way. I feel out of place, like I have to try to be someone else.
Coach: where does that thought that you have to be someone else come from?
Client: doubt, I guess. Because I feel like I don't know what to do to take care of the situation.
Coach: why don't you feel doubt when you're at your friend's house?
Client: because I'm completely accepted in that environment.
Coach: Okay. So what can you do to create acceptance of yourself at work?
Client: I suppose I can express myself truly.
Coach: just as you are?
Client: yeah I suppose.
Client: and then I'll be at ease because I'm myself.
Coach: now let's talk about ways you can remind yourself of that when you're at work...
The conversation continues until we figure out triggers that work in different environments, such as at work, home, or in stressful situations. We work together to identify habits that enable self-awareness and situational awareness.
This is only 10 minutes out of a 60 to 90 minute conversation, where we discover tactics, techniques, and methods that make sense for the client. Figuring out a path specific to them holds greater value because in fact they themselves discovered it.
An Opportunity To Reflect
We rarely give ourselves the opportunity to have these conversations about self-growth, self-improvement and self-reflection. We might have done this when we were younger, perhaps in college, but our busy lives don't allow us this luxury often, if ever.
That is the purpose of coaching. Typically, my clients start with a commitment of 3 months so they can experiment and see results, but clients have stayed on for years because they see continual growth. Sometimes, my clients take breaks for 3-6 months. I hear from them if and when their path has wavered or when they are looking to grow along a different path, or perhaps deepen their knowledge of themselves.
Everyone needs a place for reflection, whether it's your daily journal, your religious institution, your community or a good friend you talk to regularly. Reflection makes you better, not tomorrow but today.
Being A Coach
I have had various roles in corporations - executive, consultant, employee, entrepreneur - and I continue to work in healthcare to improve the system of care for patients. I live the life my clients live, which tunes me into the daily struggles we all face at work or otherwise.
Coaching is more than a role for me though. I revel in it. I cherish and respect this process. It's what I think about naturally. It's who I am, and what moves me. I get energy from every phone call and meeting.
Hard questions need attention and time, which is the point of coaching. We get that time to step back and evaluate, and build strategically towards the future. What comes out of it may completely change how you do things, or just tweak it a little bit, depending on what's right for you.
Regardless, you learn something about yourself through the process. Gaining in-sight that is invaluable to how you see and interact with the world.
What would you work on if you had a coach? If any of this appeals to you, click here to learn more about my work, or simply email me. I always start with a free 30-minute session to see if there's a fit.