Why “Become Who You Are”?
The name for my coaching practice originated in a story I read a few years ago about a tradition of an African tribe whereby the parents of newborns visit the bedsides of their sleeping infants and whisper into their ears, “May you become who you are.”
The wisdom here simply blew me away: Nothing here about control, nothing about pushing their goals or dreams onto their kids, or living vicariously through them.
Actions like this represent the ultimate manifestation of what I consider to be the definition of truly loving behavior, namely the setting free of our beloved(s) to be the best they can be while being themselves.
In the face of wisdom like this, I was inspired to call my practice “Become Who You Are” and dedicate myself to supporting my clients to look inside themselves, discover who they really are, – and then go there.
I believe that our core essence – who we REALLY are underneath a lifetime of bottled up, unresolved fears and accumulated inhibitions – is…HAPPY. The road to that, to “Become Who You Are” passes through your own honest scrutiny of whether your actions are in alignment with your intentions and your core values. A “happy” life consists of both pleasure and fulfillment in equal measure. Do you want that?
Ask yourself this: “what is a more beneficial use of my energy? This endless, fruitless struggle to transform myself into who I wish I was? Or, instead, the beautiful work of discovering who I really am, and then embody that person?”
Q & R??
“R” (for response) instead of “A” (for answer) because implied in the word “answer” is that there is only one, and that I know it. Response leaves room for many possibilities, including the ones that you already know.
What is a life coach?
An individual with whom, after establishing a relationship of complete openness and trust, works with and supports you in articulating, then designing a program, and practices aimed at achieving the desired outcome you have identified at the outset of the process. Your coach then helps you to self-correct and improve for yourself in the future.
What’s coaching exactly?
Coaching happens in the crucible of relationship, that between yourself and your coach. You are supported in the process of examining your actions in light of your intentions– to see if these are in alignment. Your coach helps you look deep inside yourself, asking yourself in total honesty the tough questions, and listening to yourself carefully for the clues about what might be standing in your way. Practices and exercises are agreed on (not imposed) to help you. In this manner you are prepared to do this by yourself, for yourself in the future.
What do I get out of it?
In a word, growth. Setting a goal for yourself, reaching it, and being more prepared to face and overcome similar challenges in the future. The irreplaceable knowledge that you are alive, awake, and living in authenticity.
What’s the reason that it works?
The foundation is the relationship of openness and trust you share with your partner, your coach. This enables you to design a program together, incorporating practices that are appropriate, measurable, and will enable you to focus on, then achieve your desired outcome. Your coach, all the while, is keeping his or her promises to you and supporting you in keeping yours to yourself.
Why is coaching so popular these days?
Although that nagging feeling that we are ready for a some kind of change, or that we are blocked in some way, or simply that things don’t “feel“right is nothing new, more and more of us are unwilling to ignore those feelings. We’re deciding to take the time and do the work of looking inside, find out what’s going on, then do something about it. Similarly with goals or dreams that once seemed “pie in the sky.” People are now asking “Why shouldn’t I go for it?” A coach is a perfect choice as a partner in support of this kind of journey.
Things seem to be OK for me right now; do I need a coach?
Maybe, maybe not. A session or two to examine and scrutinize the belief – that “things seem OK” – and to see if that’s really so, could be time well spent. Kind of like your periodical physical at your doctor’s. You do it for your body all the time – what about your spirit?
Is it therapy? How is it different?
Coaching isn’t therapy. Therapy focuses chiefly on feelings, their cause and effect, with the goal of helping us to feel better, to make peace with, and either shift, or live more comfortably, with those feelings. Often therapy focuses on what happened in the past. Coaching is more action oriented. You start with who and where you are right now, focus on your objective and how you are going to get there.
Is it consulting? Counseling? How is it different?
It’s not consulting. Consulting happens when you hire an individual, team or company for their experience and their expertise to look at a situation, and based on their “superior” knowledge, tell you what to do in order to accomplish a given objective. They give you information, perhaps an action plan, and maybe even monitor your progress. You pay them depending on how many of these stages you hire them for. As for counseling vs. coaching? A good way to distinguish between the two is that if it is “problem directed” (oriented towards a solution to a given problem-advice giving), it could properly be called counseling. If it is oriented towards your growth and development [to find your own solution(s)], it’s coaching. In coaching, most of the questions, the answers, and even the objectives originate from within you. Your coach supports your entire process, but doesn’t specify a solution based on his/her “superior” knowledge or expertise. You will never hear the words “you should” from a good life coach.
How long does it take?
It’s up to you. Coaching can be for as little as a single session, or continue for as long as you wish and are progressing towards the goal you established at the outset along with your coach. It makes sense however to set your coaching relationship for a predetermined length that is mutually comfortable to yourself and your coach. Usually a commitment of at least three to six months is recommended. With time, in the light of all the circumstances of the situation, you both revisit your arrangement and decide if you both want to extend it.
How much does it cost?
Most coaching relationships run from $250-$500 per month depending on the number of sessions, the length of each, whether on the phone or face to face (whether traveling is involved) and the amount of “check in” support needed between sessions.The entire financial arrangement is agreed to fully at the beginning of the process. It is very important that both the coach and the client are comfortable with the commitment of time and money.
Is it hard work?
Yes, it’s rigorous. It should be. Any significant life change or goal on this scale worth achieving requires effort. That’s why you’ve hired a coach, because you already know that. If it were going to be easy, would have already achieved your objective by now. It’s like an athletic event: You could train for a triathalon on your own, or you could join a gym and hire a professional trainer to support you in attaining your goal.
Is it scary?
It might be. Sometimes it’s not so easy to go deep inside and scrutinize what’s going on in total honesty. It’s not so much fun to see where we’re blocked and to own up to why…but that’s the place where real, lasting change is born…the growth edge. Think of it all as an exciting adventure. Andre Gide, the French philosopher once said that whoever embarks on a journey to discover new worlds has to be willing to be out of sight of land for a awhile. What adventure worth having isn’t a little bit scary? That’s why you’ve hired a guide (coach).
Can coaching harm me?
No. The potential for what one might call harm, more likely lies in psychotherapy gone awry- the mishandling of the deepest issues of our human behavior and psyches, not in coaching. One could say that the “worst case scenario” of an unsuccessful coaching relationship would be the frustration of client and coach alike based on un-achieved objectives – a situation which could always be revised and re-addressed at another time with another plan. Your coach does not see you as someone who is “broken” and who needs to be “fixed.”
What are sessions like?
Mostly, very uplifting. Whether by phone or face-to-face, the sessions are solidly grounded on your relationship with each other, which means that they are open, based on complete candor and trust. Neither the client, nor the coach, has any fear of frankly exchanging opinions and personal truths, because the specter of judging or being judged is totally absent. The entire session is focused on the client’s success, and the best means of achieving that.
Will I have to work in between sessions?
The word “work” is open to some interpretation here. Whatever exercises and practices you and your coach have decided will foster your progress, will have been agreed to by you (not imposed on you), based on what you can comfortably handle in the light of your ongoing commitments to family and career.
For example, these might take the form of self-observation and/or other exercises, perhaps a meditation practice, somatic (body awareness) practices, journaling, maybe some reading. All this would have the dual purpose and effect of “locking in” those insights you have gained during the coaching process, so that they become part of you; and of undoing other behavior or beliefs, which you and your coach have agreed no longer serve you.
Why “Self Observation?” What’s that? Why does it work?
Think about it:
-How can you be happy, if you don’t know what you want?
-How can you know what you want, if you don’t know who you are?
-How can you find out who you are, unless you observe yourself honestly in your own life, gently ask yourself the appropriate questions, then listen carefully for your answers.
Who hires a coach?
Anybody who recognizes that he or she “feels stuck” in some way, wants to grow, improve his or her relationship(s), finances, career, body image, health or life in general; who recognizes that he or she will get there sooner with the support of someone who is trained and who cares enough to devote his entire focus on the client’s success.
It’s important to make the distinction that it’s not necessarily a question that something feels “wrong” or “bad” but rather – “maybe this could be better, I think I’d like to look at it.”
Is Corporate Coaching different from Personal or Life Coaching?
In some ways yes. In other ways not. Obviously, companies which hire and pay coaches to support their employees, do so with the intention of having those people perform better, improve their interactions with each other, their vendors and clients; to be generally happier and more productive in their jobs and career growth, all to the benefit of the employer and – incidentally – their employee.
It’s equally obvious that all of these aforementioned worthy goals once achieved, directly benefit you, not only in your work life, but in the rest of your life too.
You are, after all one whole person. Your work is what you do, and not who you are. Your coach will help you to fully integrate that crucial distinction.
What “issues” are appropriate for a coaching relationship?
Absolutely anything which is on your mind, in your heart. Any place you feel frustrated, blocked, or stuck. Any issue which, if you were to open it up, look at it and resolve it, you would be “happier”, more fulfilled, more self confident, more at peace, healthier, richer, thinner… on and on…you get the point, any place you feel frustrated, blocked, or stuck.
What about becoming “dependent” on my coach?
It’s fair to say that the most important responsibility of your coach, (right after the main one of supporting you to successfully reach your desired outcome), is to leave you self generating and self correcting; in a word, to get fired by you. This means that you have become able to observe for yourself when you are on (or off) track and adjust as necessary. It furthermore means that you are fully capable of finding ways on your own to improve your performance and change to an even better track. This should be an essential goal of a good coach.
What about coaching towards one specific goal?
Of course! If there is even only one aspect in your life which keeps coming up for you as something you know you have to (want to) shift, of course do it! Furthermore, it’s more than likely that successfully resolving this one issue will spill over into every other aspect of your life. Just as not dealing with it is bothering you overall, resolving it will benefit you overall.
Can my coach also be my friend?
Not at the same time. If you are asking whether your coach must of necessity also be a stranger to you, the answer is no, but during the period of the coaching process, your relationship should be strictly professional. Your coach wants to focus totally on your issues and your progress. This coaching relationship is about you, and not the coach. It’s possible that your previous relationship might well help your coach in gaining insights more quickly, which might well serve you, but “friendship mode” during this time must be on hold, or the rigor needed for your progress won’t be implemented.
What qualifies a person to be a coach? What should I look for?
First and foremost, human heartedness, a love of people and a strong desire to serve. This wish to do service is the foundation onto which the coach adds the significant benefits of his or her life experience, work experience, skills, and specific coaching training. There are a number of excellent schools throughout the USA and worldwide with rigorous programs to prepare coaches for this work.
In making your choice, take your time. Interview several candidates. Of course, look to your mind, but pay careful attention to your feelings too. The entire coaching process, from the outset to the outcome, is built on the foundation of relationship – one of honesty, trust and total openness.
So, before you go to whether there was a meeting of the minds, was there a meeting of the hearts?
When you are sure that you are comfortable on that level, then look to the rest: the coaching training, the career and work experience which could possibly relate to your own specific coaching topic, and the kind of life experiences he or she brings into the relationship which are in sync with your own values, and which might indicate the candidate’s ability to really “get” you.
Coaching Is All Around Us
Who can be your coach? You’d be surprised! Over the millennia, our world’s indigenous cultures have produced numberless people of incredible wisdom – all without ever opening a single book! How can this be? Our teachers are all around us –and they are not only the humans. The whole world wants to be our coach. To benefit, all we need to do is slow down a bit, be open to what’s going on, then think about what we have just observed.