Whole Life Coaching

October 24, 2008

I was approached by a friend of mine to coach her through a project that was very dear to her heart. She even insisted that she pay me. I have never taken coaching training as I see myself much more as a soul guide or spiritual guide however her insistence overcame any initial reluctance and we made an appointment for a telephone session the following Thursday. She emphasized the fact that this coaching was to be specifically directed on the defined project and not spill over into other areas of her life. Prior to the conversation taking place, she e-mailed me the six specific commitments that she wanted me to focus on with the coaching. It all seemed so precise, ordered and organized yet I found myself suffering a vague sense of discomfort. It was though there was a very subtle alarm bell going off in my unconscious. I sat and reflected on what role I could play to support her and then observed that my antenna had been tweaked by her assertion that this should not intrude on the other areas of her life. I realized that I had a suspicion that the vehemence of her desire to keep this project separate from her life may indicate some attachment or resistance that had not yet surfaced. I also sensed that I did not want to be solely a project coach, I wanted to expand my assistance beyond the project into areas of her life that may be impacted by the project itself. From my own experience I knew that problems that manifested in achieving outcomes were often connected with issues other than the objective. We are fully integrated beings whose lives do not normally separate into neat little boxes.
The phone rang and she asked me without delay whether I had received the list. I confirmed I had so she leaped immediately into her priorities. I listened for a moment then quietly asked if there was any room for negotiation regarding assessing where this project fitted into the overall scheme of her life. She hesitated then agreed to go along with me. I asked her to identify what she considered the most important aspects of her life that may be impacted by the time she spent on the specific project. Her immediate response was her relationship was of greatest importance and her primary concern. We discussed how much time each week she wanted to devote to her relationship. She indicated that she and her partner were in negotiation to assess what would work for both of them. We then moved on to discuss other relationships in her life – her grand-daughter, her son and her friends. Then she mentioned something that she had wanted to bring up but was concerned it would interfere with her progress on the main project. She had recently had a business consulting opportunity open up which was both lucrative and rewarding but she was not sure if she had time to explore it. We reviewed the way that this opportunity had emerged, almost like a gift, and she realized that this must receive some time for investigation. We identified three aspects that became her commitments for the following week.
As we went through this process I started to see where it was going. I explained that the first thing we should try and do was identify what a balanced life may look like. We would create space for body, mind, feelings, soul and spirit and then allow the commitments to flow from there. This would ensure that any project became manageable relative to her life and not pull her totally out of balance. By now she was totally onside with the process and accepted that her first priority would be to develop a calendar that allocated time to all the other priorities in her life. We moved on to review other priorities. Building her practice – she still wanted to grow her client base by 40% however there was some reluctance to commit time to that because she did not feel inspired. However as her whole financial viability rests on a successful practice we identified a goal to focus on during the next week which was to write a summary on what ways could she enthuse herself to build her practice. Finally we looked at other key priorities. Time for her inner process to unfold, time to focus on physical activity, admin time, housekeeping time and play time. In addition there will always be the wild card – the unexpected that was not planned.
So our first session came to an end. We had barely discussed the initial reason for her call. One of her commitments remained but there were five additional ones which had been added. I assured that we would not lose sight of her initial goal however we would keep it in balance with the rest of her busy life. In this way she would start to avoid taking on too much then beating herself up afterwards.