“Coach” was mostly a term for leaders of sports teams up until about a decade ago. Since then, the explosion of every kind of coach under the sun has created an understandable level of confusion, and a negative impression, for many people.
There are now enough people doing enough things called “coaching” that it’s important for each of us to clarify what that actually means – what we do, what we don’t do, and why.
Here’s what it means for me:
1) Most important of all things – YOU ARE NOT BROKEN. Good coaching is not about “fixing” anything, or even really about “helping”, though that can be a broad term. In our model, we don’t see you as needing anything you don’t already have – really, all you need is less. There are things in your way, things between you and your true self and the life that reflects that true self, and when you clear those, you’re right in the sweet spot. You don’t need to be fixed. We hold space for you, we offer you support and some specific tools you probably didn’t already have to start clearing those obstacles, but that’s it. And that’s plenty.
2) I don’t give advice. This is probably the number one misunderstanding about coaching – that we tell you what you should do. Coming from the sports coach model that makes some sense, and there are probably a lot of life coaches that do, but in the Martha Beck model it’s the key thing we DO NOT do. What matters is your truth, and how can I possibly know what that is? What I can do, and love doing, is helping you find that truth for yourself. Coaching is really the art of asking the right question, and that’s all that is needed.
3) I work with healthy people. The best comparison of therapy to coaching, another big confusion for obvious reasons, is comparing a doctor to a personal trainer. If you want to get more fit, you need to be healthy to start – you can be out of shape and have trouble with motivation, but if you have diabetes or serious untreated ligament damage or heart disease, that’s got to get handled before you hit the gym. Any trainer working with you when you have not treated those conditions would be highly unethical, and so it is with coaches – we need to make sure you are fundamentally psychologically stable and resilient so you can do this work successfully. If, at our initial consultation or at any point during our work, I feel that you need that more in-depth level of healing, I will refer you to a therapist for your sake and mine. We can always resume when you are solid again, if that feels right to you.
4) I’m focused on forward movement and pragmatic results. Another key difference from most types of therapy, again based on the “healthy and stable” requirement, is that we don’t always need to know the in-depth whys and wherefores of your blockages in order to solve them. It’s always interesting, and sometimes there are key details we need, but we don’t need to spend large amounts of time in your past in order to get you moving forward. Therapists can do this too, and we overlap to that degree, but coaching is always focused on what’s real now and where you want to go.
5) Results take time and practice. The physical training analogy holds true here too – if you only do your situps during your gym session, your abs aren’t going to respond as quickly as if you do them every day. Likewise, you don’t catapult into perfect shape after a session or two (much as we all wish we could do that!) My tools are powerful and direct, and even in one session there is usually some noticeable shifting, but it takes more than once to get it to stick. Remember how long you’ve been reinforcing the way you are now – it takes time to build a new way of being and really anchor it in place! Your willingness to give it that time – at least a month, and depending on what feels right to you it can be open-ended – and your willingness to work with the tools between sessions is what will get you the best results.
6) I live this too. In our training we have a phrase – “live it to give it”. My work with my clients is only as good as I am, so I promise you I use these tools and practice these approaches every single day. Does it mean I’m some kind of bliss factory, with a glowing perfect peaceful life? Um….I actually don’t know anyone like that, including my teacher Martha, who has been living this way for over 25 years. What it does mean is that when (when, not if) I fall apart, I know what to do. I am just like you – I live with fears, doubts, frustrations, confusion, all that fun stuff pretty much every day. That’s what makes me able to understand it in you! I fall apart less than I used to, though, and I can handle the hot messiness of my own life with a lot more grace and compassion. I’ll teach you to do that too, but really, we’re walking side by side on this path.
Those are the key things I want you to know about what I do and don’t do. If you have any further questions or concerns on ANY aspect of my coaching, please don’t hesitate to Cross The Bridge and get in touch! I’m happy to respond to anything you might be curious about – just fill out the contact form or give me a call.