Have you ever gotten so upset that you just had to take a stand and voice your opinion? Even if it might get you in trouble or make you a lone rebel? I recently took a stand for coaching and it, literally, landed me in the back of the room in the corner. Can you believe that?
I value personal development, education and self-exploration. So, when I was invited to attend a fairly well-known 3-day “breakthrough” program, I cleared my schedule. After all, I knew several people whose opinions I trusted did the program and raved about it. I was enthused and eager to see, firsthand, what this “breakthrough methodology” was all about and what I could get from it for myself and my coaching practice. I’m always looking for and developing new tools to better serve my coaching clients. I walked into the room open and optimistic. A third of the way into day one of three, I was squirming in my chair while rapidly and franticly alternating between fanning myself with my hands, massaging my neck and shoulders, ringing my hands together and rubbing my face and forehead. I was doing all I could to calm myself down until I couldn’t take it anymore. I said to no one in particular “I can’t take this. I’ve got to get out of here,” stood up and walked out of the room.
One of the volunteers followed me out and asked what was going on for me. I told him that I couldn’t bear to watch the program leader invalidate and disempower one of the participants on stage and call it coaching. Yep, I proceeded to explain to the volunteer that, to me, the program leader was purposely eviscerating the woman in order to break her down and then break her through. It was harsh, in your face and wholly unnecessary. She could and had been breaking herself down all on her own and didn’t need a coach to do that. I continued to explain that, to me, coaching is built on mutual trust and respect and is a safe, empowering and sacred space where I focus my complete energy and attention on supporting, guiding, and unconditionally loving the person I’m working with. I not only see in my clients what they are unable to see in themselves, I help them see, believe and live into it. Do I push and stretch my clients to go beyond what they think they can do and challenge them to grow, evolve and adapt their outlook? Absolutely. But, that’s after I understand their core values, get clear on exactly what they want out of coaching and assess their capabilities. Do I hold my clients accountable for what they say they are going to do and what they want? You’d better believe it. But, that’s because I am fully invested in helping them get what they want. The volunteer’s response to me? This program isn’t what you do. It’s a different methodology.
And, you know what? The volunteer was 100% correct. The point is there are many styles and methods of coaching, certain styles work for some. My style is collaborative and constructive. It is my mission to motivate, educate and inspire my clients to reach their maximum potential, share their unique gifts authentically in their work and to ultimately create balanced personal and professional lives they absolutely love living. That’s what I do and what I stand for.
After taking a few minutes to breathe and center myself, I went back in and finished the program. I spoke up a few more times over the next two days. By the end of the day on Day 3, I was seated in a reserved seat in the very last row all the way over in the corner! And, I was thrilled about it! I stood for what I believed in and, even though, the breakthrough program decidedly wasn’t my style and not for me, the experience did help me get abundantly clear on my method of coaching.
So, what’s your stand on coaching? Have you ever worked with or thought about working with a coach? What do you want to get out of or accomplish through coaching? What style of coaching appeals to you most?