By: Kim Green
I had promised honesty in this blog, if nothing else.
I entered this week extremely distracted by all of the high emotion that swirls. I don’t think I’ve ever felt the weight of such collective angst like I feel right now.
On Tuesday, the first question from the group was about how to handle our own emotions while detaching for the purposes of being an effective coach. To that Lynn said, “Emotions are real.” She continued to explain and landed on a discussion of fear. Previously, we were taught that “Fear” is a mere acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. From where I stood this week, that can’t be true. Fear is a palpable, tangible thing that has a whole nation feeling upside down, at least in my corner of the world. It seems as if my fears are so deeply embedded, I can barely speak about them. I am clear about all of the things that I fear. Aren’t you? I hate to go there, but I can’t help it.
Tuesdays call was about the fact that fear and anxiety are often the same. I don’t agree. To me, fear’s meaning is more palpable than “anxiety.” Anxiety is meeker, rather vague term. Anxiety really just means anticipation; it doesn’t really hint at the doom that “fear” suggests. Later in that call, Lynn reminded us to “stay clear of emotions, when coaching. We want to be accurate.”
Huh. It seems that accuracy has been underrated, too. In this brave new world, the do-it-yourself world, where everyone is an expert and facts have been reduced to opinions and perspectives, accuracy is no longer achievable.
As far as the class is going overall, we are on cruise control. Lynn is walking us through each lesson and further elucidating the core of solid coaching. This week she spoke more of empowerment and coaching our clients to step into their own power. On Thursday, we went a little deeper into “creating awareness.” As always, Lynn walked us through the book and gave us plenty of examples from her own coaching experiences, although I sometimes wish for more interactive examples. Nonetheless, hers were all excellent examples of mastery but hard to ingest after what my group experienced on Tuesday evening.
In a practice coaching session with my peer group, using a real-life issue (we no longer use the cases, as Lynn suggested) we were silenced by the hardcore realities of existence. I as the observer and the coach were both stunned by the vulnerability that we all felt as we listened to our “client” and the situation that she is dealing with: fear, the future, and life and death.
As novices we went blank.
Just as the best med school intern, in a beginning surgery rotation, I too experienced a breakdown. I wondered, is coaching possible for me? Is it worth it?
And my brain got stuck. I’m stuck in the ironies of creating awareness but ignoring emotions like fear and powerlessness, which are silently buzzing around me like killer bees. As a coach, I wonder how I could ever empower those whose personal power is at risk. I wonder how I can “create awareness” without being aware of what is going on in our precious world.
Luckily, just when I feel like I am losing my way, my group member with the pithy dilemma volunteers to be coached again by Lynn with the whole class looking in. The same dilemma that silenced our group was in front of us again.
Lynn started off silently, slowly buying time, waiting for her intuition to click in. And then she proceeded to perform another masterful example of “metaview” a term that was asked about earlier.
Lynn gave my group member an incredibly meaningful exercise in seeing things from different “physical” perspectives. There are 3 possible options for this dilemma and Lynn told her to literally place each option in a different space in her house. Once each option had a place, Lynn asked her to go to the first place (the least desired) and look at it from there. In that first place, she asked her what her physical feeling was. My group member was tearful, vulnerable even resentful that she had to deal with this. Lynn worked with her with powerful questioning and then she sent her to do the same in position 2 and 3.
As difficult as it must have been to experience, this time my group member did have a breakthrough in this small exchange. It was in the third position that she gained strength after considering all of the angles.
She didn’t nail it. No decision yet. But, it was clear that she had gotten closer her own truth, which is all we can ever hope for.
Kim Green is a writer and a student at The Institute for Life Coach Training. In this blog series, she has documented her experience as she goes through the Foundational training. To read about Kim's journey, click here.