I’m back with the third installment in my series answering the questions about life coaching I’m most often asked. As I’ve said, I’m glad to share my views about life coaching, and I appreciate those who have asked the questions that many others are also wondering. Question #3: What are you like as a coach and what do you do with your clients?
First and foremost, my mission is to build the relationship with my client and hold the space that I described in FAQ #1. I strive to foster trust, openness, and optimism with my client, because that’s the environment that nurtures her/his growth and creativity. Our space needs to be safe and non-judgmental, where the client can face and accept her/his vulnerability, because that’s where the client will tap into the hope, motivation, and resilience to align with and pursue his/her true purpose.
So…how do I do this?
I listen. But I listen with curiosity and intuition. I listen with my mind and heart. What thoughts make the client anxious? What images and memories bring a smile and calm to the client’s voice and demeanor? What is the client thinking, but not saying, that’s getting in her/his own way? What lights the client up?
I show up loose and unattached to outcome. I remain mindful that only the client knows what is in his/her heart. I encourage playfulness, mindfulness, and gentleness to help the client hear his/her heart, and see the alignment of his/her true journey. I enjoy accompanying the client on this journey of self-discovery, offering support and encouragement, bringing light to the client’s blind spots, and joining the client in tapping into play and creativity to build strategies to problem-solve. I celebrate and share gratitude with my clients.
One metaphor I use to describe my life coaching is likening it to being a golfer’s caddie. The golfer brings her/his game: the swing, ability, and attitude. The caddie works with the golfer to strategize around the course: determining distances, noting hazards, wind, and other factors, aiding club selection, and assisting in reading putts. But, a good caddie does more than that. A good caddie keeps the golfer in the present—to shake off bad shots, accept the present lie of the ball, and not look ahead to the holes still to come. Take one shot at a time. Also, a good caddie helps the golfer see the shot s/he plans to execute, trust in it and believe in it. The caddie helps the golfer fully commit to the shot, and accept the outcome. A good caddie is encouraging but realistic, and helps the golfer stay loose, positive, and in the moment. Finally, a good caddie understands that it ultimately comes down to the golfer, and that one swing.
(Incidentally, I believe improving my self-caddying self-talk on the course has improved my scoring, and I’ve lowered my Handicap Index almost 5 points this season!)
As I’ve said before, I am honored and blessed to be a part of a person’s journey of discovery. I respect the courage it takes for a client to step up and open up to honesty and vulnerability to find the true purpose in her/his heart. Every step, hard or easy, that I witness and take part, enriches my heart on my journey.