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One of the most important and very first things I do when I am coaching with a client is make sure that I meet them with empathy and compassion.
When clients share with me their shame, their fear, anger,
insecurities or frustrations, often times I can see they have already beat themselves up about it.
All the“shoulds” come out. All the ways they“know better” but keep finding themselves doing the same thing over and over.
In that moment, one of the most powerful things that any coach, therapist, mentor, etc can do is meet all of that lack with abundance. Abundant compassion, love and empathy.
Compassion allows all the swirling emotions and energy to slow and settle.
If you’ve ever had a glass bottle with water and sand or dirt in it, you know that when it’s swirling around and the sediment and sand are kicked up into the water, it’s cloudy and hard to see what you’ve got. It isn’t until the jar is still and calm, that things become clear.
This is what coaching does, it allows for a safe space to slow down, to exhale, to bring the calm that clarity requires. Once things are clear, as a coach, I simply observe what we are working with. Asking probing questions, wondering why, getting curious.
Why am I sharing all my coaching secrets with you?
Well, on a day to day basis, who is in your head“coaching” you all day long?
You are your own“life coach” day in, day out. And while I do HIGHLY recommend having a coach, because a truly skilled one will help you settle, see and strategize, this is a strategy that is useful to have for YOURSELF when you are tempted to focus on the solution before you can engage with self-compassion.
We all do it!
Just the other day, I was in a situation where I needed to self-coach. The a/c in our apartment had broken, on a 90 degree day, in Miami, FL and we had to move all four of our kids, plus food, and work stuff over to another location. Stressful … right? Just wait, it get’s better.
This particular day, was a day that I was beginning DAY 1 of a five day Enneagram Challenge I had been working hard on for weeks!! And the cherry on top was, the new location had spotty wifi. Which is just perfect when you need to be streaming video for an hour long training.
In that moment I was definitely swirling. All the dirt and sediment were making it VERY hard for me to get clarity and I had a choice in that moment…do I try to scold myself and try and“fix” my attitude and“calm down”…or engage with compassion and get curious around why I was experiencing so much emotion.
Thankfully, this wasn’t my first rodeo and I went with compassion.
“Hey, Vanessa….you ok?”(I spoke tenderly to myself, as if I were a scared, small child)
“What’s bothering you?”
“It’s ok to be stressed right now, this is a stressful situation. What are you really afraid of?”
As I asked myself these curious questions and slowed down, not trying to fix myself but trying to understand what was going on, I was able to exhale. I was able to re-center. I was able to get the clarity I needed to ground myself and continue on my day and finish the training and press into growth.
This is the gift of compassion. This is the step we want to skip(I know I do). This is where abundance meets our perceived lack. This is where assurance holds our fears. This is where mercy calms our judgement.
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