My coaching training taught me that the only way to work with clients was to begin by helping them establish well-formed outcomes, or goals. I had a fairly rigid process to follow in order to achieve that, which sometimes meant questioning the client quite fiercely about whether they were signed up to their goal in the first place.
If you Google ‘Coaching’ it will tell you that it’s all about helping individuals to achieve their goals, forward momentum. And quite often that’s exactly how I work with clients.
Here’s the BUT….it’s my job to meet the client wherever they are at. And by that, I mean, wherever they are in their lives, their feelings, their general emotional state. And if a client isn’t feeling very robust or resilient, they may not be able to articulate goals.
There is another way. It’s more gentle, more patient, and speaks to a deeper level of understanding. And that’s to work with clients on suspending their drive mechanism, their insistent forward momentum, and help them to move into a state of unfolding. In this way, we learn to notice what’s happening around us, what events and feelings are telling us, and be guided by that intuition and sensing as a means of moving forward. It’s very different and not for everyone.
I enjoy both ways of working. And other ways inbetween too! The most important thing is to find a way which suits you, the client.
Here’s something beautiful I came across a couple of years ago. It’s taken from The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo.
“Becoming: We do ourselves a great disservice by judging where we are in comparison to some final destination….It helps to see ourselves as flowers. If a flower were to push itself to open faster, which it can’t, it would tear. Yet we humans can, and often do, push ourselves. Often we tear in places no-one can see. When we push ourselves to unfold faster or more deeply than is natural, we thwart ourselves.”