I strongly believe that what you need exactly at the moment for your greater good, comes to you in different forms in disguise. So, just after my coaching session today, I had a gap of one hour or so. To relax myself, I thought of giving a call to one of my friends. She is someone whom I have known for many years now. And we talk on & off whenever we face any challenge or just a casual sharing about how things are in our life. Sharing is mutual & I acknowledge the fact that our conversations are intellectually stimulating, thought provoking & I always benefit from the discussions. Same goes for my friend too. So, today while we were discussing things, somehow a topic came up around coaching. And I asked my friend a question: "What kind of a coach you would like to have in your life given a choice?" Let me give you the context. My friend was struggling with some professional challenges and we were brainstorming to arrive at some possible solutions. To my question, my friend answered: "I would hire a coach who is well-known as an expert in his/her field, who has a proven track record in my area of expertise, who has many years of experience, who can tell me what I am supposed to do & how, someone who would guide me because he/she has traveled a path similar to me & someone senior. That would be my kind of coach, my mentor who would give facts, have strong data to support what he/she is saying."
Hearing this version of a coach from my friend pained me to the core. Because it didn't resonate with my essence of a coach or coaching for that matter. Had it been the earlier me, I would have instantly reacted to this difference and end up with something not so pleasant. But, I have evolved & transformed over these couple of years as a coach, as a leader & human being in totality. All thanks to my coaches, the coaching that I have consciously undertaken for my own growth, mostly because of my strong trust in the coaching modality & my coaches; a positive attitude backed up with my strong commitment to actions! Over these years I have become aware of myself & my patterns. So, I chose to just listen to what my friend had to say. I chose to understand my friend from her space rather than reacting to something inside me which triggered the pain in me. That needs to be dealt separately! I get that. I was aware of this and this helped me to manage my emotions well & turn around my responses. My current coach gave me a wonderful tool which is like this:
Over these years, since I have myself experienced the benefit of having a coach, since I have witnessed the transformation in me & how that changes my being & my actions, I have decided to always have a coach to enable me to grow to my next level. Coming back to the above spectrum in the above picture, many a times we choose to be in either of these two spaces depending on our personal experiences. But commitment doesn't fall into this spectrum although we might think it does. Commitment is absolutely different. Whenever I tend to move to either of these, my coach asks me this question: "What's your commitment? Are you reacting from the space of attachment to the outcome or from withdrawal due to neediness or you stand tall to your commitment?" For major part of my life, I choose to operate from either of these two spaces. But, that only temporarily satisfied my ego & didn't fetch me anything in the long run. So, as I became aware of this in me, I chose to stand up for my commitment to make a difference in my people whom I am drawn to serve without caring if they would approve of it or not. So, after my friend finished sharing her perception of who a coach is & whom she would like to hire; I shared who a coach to me is & what coaching is all about to make it more real.
I began this way: I firmly believe in coaching and I see that impact in me; which my friend agrees too. I never hire coaches based on how much experience they have or if they have expertise in my field or not. I factually & intuitively look for two things: who they are being (how authentic & genuine they are?) and will I gain by being in their presence & container? It's a matter of deep trust in my coach's coaching skills & not subject matter expertise, it's a kind of space that is built where I can freely lower my guards & talk about my deepest challenges/fears, secret dreams that I have & then take actions with self commitment & trust. It's a relationship where I don't have to look up to & feel inferior & intimated by who they are, but be inspired to raise to their vibrations. I don't want anybody to tell me what needs to be done because that would be a disrespect to my wholeness & resourcefulness that I am bestowed with. Neither do I want others to influence my decisions but honestly give me feedback and leave the choices to be made by me to me. We all are different and as a high potential, driven, ambitious person, I need a partner to partner with me to be able to be my side & support me to get to where I want to. I am not looking for tips, quick fix solutions, because I believe I am reliable & competent enough to find the answers myself. Just that I need a coach who is an expert in coaching skills which involves rapport building(to enable me to connect deeply with my coach), intuitive ability(to understand beyond data & facts), deep listening(to read what I haven't shared, pick up on subtle cues), questioning(to know the underlying truth, the real reason), feedback giving(to enable me to make the right choices & take actions accordingly), holding me accountable for my goals & dreams, someone who is committed to me, while I am committed to my goal. Because after all its my goal. I hire my coach to support me in achieving that goal. It's never the other way round. My coach doesn't have to attain my goals for me.
My coach is an expert in coaching who shows me what I don't see, what my spouse doesn't see, what my friends don't see, what my mentors don't see & what I resist seeing & doing. My coach is such an expert who in a seemingly skillfully easy way inspires me, elicits the answers from me, draws me, pulls me towards an action oriented mode to be able to get to a space where I myself move forward to my goals. This in itself is an exceptional art & science that needs mastery & only coaches who have done deep work, committed to deep work on themselves, who have intentions bigger than self, an intention to creating an impact & to transformative service, who have strong leadership presence not necessarily in professional area only will be able to do that. And years of experience doesn't matter to me at all. I look for such coaches. And I model exactly that with my clients too. May be then I am not the right coach for those who are looking for tips, short-cuts, quick success, spoon-feeded strategies. For a transformation to happen, it takes time, commitment & doesn't come cheap. And I am ready to invest or create the money to work with my kind of coaches because I know it is powerful, impactful & life changing.
Here are examples of coaches who I look up to & who has made remarkable life transformations in their clients' lives & who has no background in any of the fields that their clients are into. They are skillful in the coaching skill and so in their result creation for their clients.
And as I shared all of these, my friend towards the end told me,"I didn't know that coaching is all of these. I thought coaching is all about self-discovery & nothing more than that. So, it never appealed to me because I thought to guide me, one has to be an expert in his/her field. Otherwise how will he/she guide me? I didn't know the art & science behind coaching. Thank you for the enlightenment!" I responded to my friend,"Buddy let me simply gift you a session or connect you to my coach & then you will have an experience of what it is. No amount of my telling will support you. Experience it and see for yourself." To which my friend readily agreed & we had a great laugh together.
P.S. This blog doesn't intend to demean any modality but just sharing what the essence of coaching is from the author's perspective who is a professional coach.
Love & respect,
Life & Organizational Development Coach