Coaching and the self
It’s essentially human to find life challenging and to lose our way. Coaching gives you guidance and creates a dynamic relationship where someone is working with you, on your side, with no judgement. We can’t always make it alone. Sometimes we don't know what the issues are and can’t see past our version of reality. Sometimes we know what the issues are and don't know what to do about them.
Coaching is essentially an exploration of the self. Who we are being, how we are being, both in our self and out in the world. It’s about examining the stories we tell ourselves about who we think we are and how we frame and filter our experience as a result.
Coaching is a process of breaking things down, looking deeper and then re-building and orchestrating them in a new space. It’s an unfolding, a way of looking at things as you haven’t before. It’s an interruption to the automatic. It’s the process of freeing pearls from the knot of an old necklace. It looks for the simple in what feels like complexity. It strips things down to create new understanding. It’s both poetic and practical.
A coach helps you untangle the threads and wind them smoothly back onto the spool, helps you to work out what is important; what matters and what doesn’t. The coaching relationship is a space, a colander, designed as a catalytic container for something refined to emerge and for things to drop away.
Being in a negative relationship with our self is often an underlying reason clients seek coaching. It’s not often expressed as directly as that. It’s often the underlying cause of feeling stuck, lost, overwhelmed, confused, clouded, burdened and without purpose or meaning in life. We have lost sight of who we are and lack trust in our self (to make the right decisions/choice/changes) and so have lost confidence in being our self in the world.
Through the coaching process, clients often become aware of the concept of living the self as they think they should be, or measuring how they feel or behave against what others may think (or what they think others think) which affects their own experience of their self. They also become aware of internalised messages, beliefs and strategies from their past that they carry as an internal voice which isn’t constructive and affects how they filter their experiences.
Coaches use feedback and share observations to inform and illuminate their client about what they can see and hear because it’s hard for clients to see past their own reality. One of the most transformative insights for clients is to hear reflected back the kind of things they say about themselves. How they can frequently make generalisations and judgements about themselves, self-blame, self-shame, self-deride and catastrophise.
Clients seek to change how they experience, feel and perceive themselves to be. Often they expect they need to change who they are or what they do; change the self or their external life, rather than change their relationship with the self. Clients often describe seeking clarity, direction (a path) and motivation from coaching. It’s rare that a client says “I want to feel good about myself”. But ultimately this is the key to the lightness that clients often describe feeling as a result of coaching.
This lightness relates to a sense of ‘freedom’; an assuredness and comfortableness derived from understanding, acknowledgement, acceptance - within the self about itself - which enables us to participate and navigate the world from a position of feeling positive about who we are and most importantly how we see ourself. The authentic self which is the jewel at the heart of coaching. We know and like who we are; from within.
We have an inherent sense of self-value and self-worth. Self-confidence and self-esteem comes quietly from this place, not from what we do or the feedback from others. Coaching helps us reconnect with that place and from that place potential can become the new reality.