By: Kim Green
Just as my body is recovering, my heart aches. It has been said that coaching is good in times of change and transition. After last week everyone could use a coach, the winners and the losers. It is especially me that needs something, anything to pull me from my cave of deep despair.
One of my coaching class notes says: State what is. It is underlined and circled.
Besides that one, my coaching education has introduced many distinctions, phrases and endless techniques to get my future clients to a new place in their lives, a place that they want to go.
But, what if they liked it the old way? Which seems to be my problem.
Distracted and foggy, I don’t have the ability to outline exactly what happened in class this week. I was distracted on Tuesday, wondering, worrying, and weary from arriving at the polls at 7am. Thursday I was too sad to listen closely. But, I need to write, so I’ll use this time to process my churning emotions and review all of these inspiring things that we have learned to see if they will work in the darkest of times.
Me, as the client.
My coach has already assured me that I am smart, brilliant, creative and competent. And my feelings of fear and anxiety are normal and expected based on the American trauma that I have just experienced.
In Tuesday’s class Lynn walked us through the use of metaphors and how important they can be for effective coaching. As a writer, that resonates with me. She talked about the use of “a garden” to symbolize growth. Another example was “weeds” to symbolize when a client wants to eliminate something from their lives. I got it. I wish there was an effective metaphor for what I am feeling. Perhaps, a fish trying to stay alive in an ocean that has been drained.
Others are feeling these feelings I’m sure. I know that all of us feel muzzled in our incredibly prickly new world. A world that is now unrecognizable to many. This new world is unsafe. We fear expressing ourselves in mixed company because we no longer know who’s who? Passion, rage and an urgency to save humanity are not good for business. Or at least that was what we have been taught. So now we stay silent, hurting inside, but wanting to check in see if others hearts are still beating. Humanity has suddenly become two-faced. There are now two new standards of reality. Life has become more confusing than ever.
What would I say to a coach about how I feel this week after my life, as I once knew it, has changed drastically, without my consent, without my readiness, without my willingness to concede and agree that the way I have lived my life is wrong, sinful and may even become against the law. What will people like me do? People who have been fighting their whole lives to exist and live in their given skins? How would a coach deal with distress of this magnitude?
In class someone had a question about one of her clients. The “a” word came up again. The client was expressing “anxiety” about possibly losing a job. Master coach, Lynn, offered this: “How about, What emotion would you like to feel instead of anxiety?” My classmate was satisfied and thankful for that suggestion. I could hear her trying it on for size in her mind.
I wondered if it would work with the dread that I feel now that the earth has totally shifted on its axis, leaving half of us delighted and the other half, horrified.
Coach: Kim, What would you rather feel than fear and dread?
Me: Good question, Coach. I’d rather feel safe and secure that my family will not be vilified or worse, nullified. I’d rather feel that my child will be safe at school and that the ugly past will not be replayed in our Technicolor lives like an obsolete black and white film.
My notes from my very first coaching call say, “With coaching, we create a future, we get over the past.” Oh how I wish that were possible when our new future takes its cues from an abominable past. Apparently, too many people see that as a return to greatness! God, help us all.
What would my coach say to me now with this unspeakable truth that lurks in the air of naiveté that we all breathed. How will my coach justify the new polluted air?
Me: Coach are you there?
My notes also say that a coach believes in their clients so much that the clients then begin to believe in themselves. Oh, how I wish for that feeling as hopeless and powerless as I feel, today.
Me: But it’s all out of my hands, Coach!
Coach: I believe in you!
Me: Thank you for believing in me, but too many others don’t believe...don’t believe that I belong. Don’t believe that I am as you see me: brilliant, competent and complete.
I look back at my notes but my coach says it first.
Coach: It’s not about fixing something; it’s about creating something.
The Coach is losing me. Silence from my end of the phone.
Then, the Coach pulls out a new device; Creating Awareness. Desperate, they shift to Compassionate Edge with a startling statement.
Coach: YOU CAN’T FIX THIS!
That was meant to wake me up and it does. And then, in a softer tone…
Coach: But what will YOU CREATE OUT OF ALL OF THIS?
And then my Coach and I will talk about a paradigm shift, which is defined as “when older systems are no longer working well.”
Maybe this is my breakthrough moment. As the ground cracks around us, swallowing up all that once was, there is a chance to create something new. Something unrecognizable, but we will have to adjust. That is what we humans do. Adjust and adapt. We will look at each other with new eyes. Perhaps eyes that will give us new ways of loving and healing.
But then there is one last distinction. The one that Lynn says is only used at the most extreme moments.
As a coach-in-training, I tentatively attempt to use it. I whisper it to my coach and then say it to my classmates and lastly to the world at large: As a last gasp I say,
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.