What is the real point of coaching?
What are we trying to achieve?
What's it all about?
When people ask me what coaching is, I realize that what I understand coaching to be is not what others understand it to be. That’s probably because there are so many kinds of coaches these days and so many different ways to coach.
Mostly, I think people envision the high school basketball coach (sent from central casting), blowing her whistle and calling a time out. We cringe a little to see her walking towards us to tell us what us did wrong.
Nothing could be further from the truth. At least, that’s not the way I coach.
The Essence of Coaching
The essence of coaching stems from the idea that we make our best decisions from that place within us that is calm, compassionate, confident, caring. When we’re in that place, we’re more resourced, more able to think clearly, more able to feel what’s right for us.
The problem is that life and its challenges throw you out of that place and into the tough emotions of anxiety, stress, and worry. When we’re overwhelmed by emotions, it’s hard to think, strategize, act. To make matters worse, when we make decisions from that most stressed part of us, we don’t always make the best decisions. This can compound our stress.
To me, the point of coaching is to get back to that calm, quiet, wise place within. When you get off track or when you lose your way, it’s typically because you’ve lost access to that wise self inside of you.
Getting back to it quickly can save you time, money, energy. This is especially true when you’re on a challenging career path or going through a career transition.
A Weekly Reset Button
To make a point, I’m going to ask you to think about the most stressful time in the past week. (You can just feel around the edges of it, rather than flooding yourself with the feelings of it.) Did something challenging happen? Or, did you get triggered by something someone said or did?
When this happened, did you react or did you respond? Did you get angry and draw someone into an argument? Was your anxiety button pressed? Did you got agitated and lost in your head, unable to be present with your partner or kids? Were countless hours spent perseverating, avoiding, or having imaginary conversations with your adversary?
Or, perhaps you dove into an activity to take your mind off your problem – binge-watching, eating, drinking, deep cleaning, shopping, scrolling?
How much time and energy do you spend going down those rabbit holes?
We're very good at seeking relief, but it can turn into "avoiding" or procrastinating.
We’ve all discovered ways to calm our nervous systems. The problem is that they become mal-adaptive. We do too much of them – they take time and energy away from us.
That’s because it’s our nature to really lean into things that work for us. If watching an episode of Friends gives you some relief from real life, what could watching three episodes do for you? Five? Ten?
But, it takes a lot of time to watch all that. Plus, you’ve probably just avoided the real problem, and it’s there waiting for you on Monday morning.
The good news is that there are many ways.
The truth is that there are many, many ways to calm your nervous system that don’t involve binge-watching or eating a bag of chips. They are varied and range from simple things like deep breathing to complex systems like Internal Family Systems.
There is no one way. In fact, it can be helpful to have several different ways that really work for you, so you can have access to your wise self when you really need it.
Your very own tool belt
That’s often what coaching is all about. It’s about introducing and trying on different techniques so you can find one (or two, or three) that are effective at resetting you and getting you back to your best self.
You learn them during coaching sessions and then develop your own customized way that works for you. You can continue to be supported in coaching sessions or you can use them on your own.
My current favorites tools are tapping, thought-work, and parts work. Each of these are game changers on their own, and when used in combination can make a huge difference in your life. When I get triggered or go down a rabbit hole, I simply pull out one of these tools. Within minutes, my nervous system is calmed, and I can get back to my day. Sometimes I work these with my coach; sometimes I use them on my own.
What I used to do was get triggered, go down a rabbit hole, waste a bunch of time (hours, days, weeks, months), then work from that place of panic. Which meant jumping around from thing to thing, accomplishing very little.
These days, I use a tool and get back on track, feeling calm and confident. Most of the time! I don’t want to present myself as perfect or that life is easy for me. It’s not! Life continues to present challenges and difficulties, but I feel much better able to meet life with minimum drama and a way to get back to baseline, sooner rather than later.
Maybe you have a go-to that works for you, like going for a run, doing some yoga, or creating some art. This is great!
If you’re going through a tough transition and are feeling stressed or stuck, and you could use a few more that don’t take so much time and energy.
I’d be happy to walk you through some of the tools that have been game-changers for me and for my clients. You can go to the “Offerings” or “How to Work With Me” page on my website and we can connect.