A nervous client recently said to me they were a little scared about letting someone else in and they had to pluck up the courage to call because coaches have it all together.
Well, this one (me!) has never experienced life as all together.
An analogy: it’s a bit like going to see a Dr. Because of the job title they have, we automatically give them a lot of authority and instant power over our health, they have the title, so they know best, right? (Do they?) And we can (rightly or wrongly) assume that their life is in perfect working order: they probably don’t eat junk food, smoke, drink too much, or snort a line of the white stuff.
What do we know?
Their personal life could be crumbling apart around their stethoscope, they could be a regular at AA meetings, be covered in nicotine patches, going through a messy divorce, their kids could be not speaking to them, their partner having an affair and yet they come to work, leave their baggage at the door and then pick it up again at the end of the shift. We don’t get to see and will never know what goes on when they take off the white coat.
I mean, can you imagine a GP sitting you down and telling you their worries and problems? No, it wouldn’t be right.
I believe we all need support.
As a coach and trainer I pay for professional support and supervision. Because I’m self employed I don’t have the luxury (or dread depending on how you see it) of monthly support and supervision sessions with someone higher up the ladder (as I’m the only one my ladder), or an annual review.
I decided early on in my business that I wanted to pay someone who had no emotional investment in my business and who was prepared to just listen. To be there. To not judge me. I didn’t want business coaching, I wanted support.
So, every couple of months I pay a professional who who sits and nods as I tell them my woes, worries, concerns and strife’s, without ever mentioning names I tell her about things that I couldn’t help with, where I got stuck and stories I didn’t understand. I share with them moments when I feel lost (out my depth even) or when I struggled, or wished I had approached a situation in completely different way.
She asks the questions, I provide the answers. And I always come away from there feeling supported.
See, sometimes this work can be tough. Once you get used to me and I you, once we’ve settled in, and our relationship is formed, when you begin to open up and peel away the layers you feel safe in exposing and share the parts of who you really are I for one need support to help you.
Professionally I know your story is not mine: your problems and concerns don’t belong to me, but as soon as you share them I want to be able to help you in the best way possible for you at this time.
Occasionally your stories are hard to listen to. Sometimes when you share with me, even with all the professional training in the world, I still can quickly be reminded of an event in my own life. I can’t help it, emotions are funny buggers, they spring from no-where.
And that’s why I pay for support and supervision, I need to always know where I end and where you begin. I need to know that my stuff isn’t encroaching on your stuff.
I want you to know that even though I do what I do (and others like me) appear to have all our ducks lined up, that we appear to have life neatly packaged and bowed, we don’t. Well, I don’t. I can’t speak on behalf of others.
You said you’re scared about letting someone in, sometimes we’re scared that you’ve picked the right person to invite in. We have our limits too you know.
We’re human. Just like you. We have our own stuff going on, we may never share it all with you because you aren’t paying us to listen to our worries. We’re trained to leave our own luggage at the door, and rightly so. Sometimes we’ll give you snippets, if it’s appropriate to do so.
But please, leave behind that thoughts that coaches are all sorted. I don’t think it’s true. But (again) I can only speak for myself.
We can perhaps relate to your story because in some bizarre way it’s formatting is a little like our own. But we would never merge the two.
When you pick up the phone, send email or get in touch we know how hard that action could’ve been. We know that because we’ve probably been in a situation similar.
Most of the coaches I know don’t work in total isolation, they want to give you the best service, when you’re with them remember they are probably getting support behind the scenes for their life and work too: either through a regulating body, association, mastermind group, paid for support and supervision or even their own coach.
We do all need support.
We all need someone who’s ‘upright’ in our life.