There are countless situations in life where we want to change things. We would not though, sensibly advocate trying to bring about that change unless we thoroughly understood what was getting in the way of that change happening, what was going to make the stress (yes, healthy stress) of that change taking place not become an obstacle.
Change lies at the heart of a coaching or mentoring assignment. No one came to coaching to make sure everything stayed the way it is! And nothing ever does as we are discovering in these times.
In large part the coaching profession has had it on it’s head. We have been making health, physical, mental and spiritual awareness add-ons to coaching approaches and practices as if, somehow, we can magically pretend that there are circumstances in which it has nothing really to do with a person's brain, thinking, emotions and change processes.
This is a deep and pervasive collective delusion. Physical, mental and spiritual condition and experience is the very ground on which a human life itself stands. It is the soil in which we are planted. To ignore the quality, type, actions, ability of the soil to nourish a person is to willfully blind yourself to life itself.
The pandemic and focus on health should kick this delusion into touch once and for all in coaching and the helping professions.
Below are a series of statements. Coaches can contemplate these and, I hope, be stimulated to reflect on them. In this way may you gain further insight into your understanding of being a coach at this time in our society.
1. The process of life is the process of change. The experience and management of change falls to each individual within their own personal life situation. That life situation includes all inputs into the person's living state. This applies to both a coach and the people they coach.
2. People are, at the moment which we engage with them as a coach, in a unique state of life. Their state is affected by what they have eaten, how they slept, what they drank. By the emotions they felt, the relationships they have with others, their sexual lives and their relationship with themselves. By what time of day it is, the weather, the season. They are affected by the state of their minds, their self awareness, their thoughts. And last but not least they are affected by everything that came before the present moment. That is, their past.
They are affected by everything in some way or other.
The same goes for you, their coach.
3. Stepping into the coaching space, clients want something. That wanting is unique to them and is in constant change. They want something for many different reasons. It may be satisfaction that drives the wanting or ambition, or fear, love, the need for meaning and purpose. Whatever it is, the wanting is usually pointed towards consciously and deliberately making some part of their experience of their life different. That is why they are there. The experience they want to make different usually revolves around feeling positive emotions or quelling painful ones. At the deepest level it is about confronting mortality and death.
4. The control centre for all this is the brain. The condition of the brain in anyone is influenced by all of those factors listed above. It’s abilities, which are astonishing and mostly still mysterious, are influenced by genes, by experience, by chemicals, by energies, by others, by you.
5. Trying to help in any way is a vast responsibility for everything we do and say has an impact; leaves a trace.
6. Coaches can open themselves up to all life and factors and influences on life. They can remove arbitrary barriers that fool them into thinking that aspects of a person's life and experience are irrelevant. They can see people they coach for what they really are. People bound closely to all aspects of life, physically, mentally and spiritually.
7. To embrace so much, coaches must develop the ability to abandon their own attachment to models and theories and become masters at noticing what is.
What an order! It excites me. It kindles my love of coaching. What about you?