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  • Part 3: Evolving as a Coach - Causing Problems 

  • Revealing the Hidden Truth = BIG Problems for your Client.

  • The Million Dollar Coach Program



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View this issue online at www.todayscoach.com/2003/103003.html

Saturday, November 1, 2003

Evolving as a Coach (And as a Person) Part 3-Causing Problems  

Welcome to the third installment of our series on exploring the Masterful Coaching pathway. If you've been following along, each week we've been delving into the different levels of a coach's evolution.

Masterful coaches CAUSE problems and then respond to the occurring dynamics in the client and themselves. Join us this week as we explore the idea of revealing the hidden truth and how that process can cause BIG problems for your client (in a good way of course).

Got a comment or question? Contact us at letters@coachville.com


Keep playing,

Dave
dave@coachville.com

 


Causing BIG Problems for Your Client by Revealing the Hidden Truth

Evolving into a masterful coach begins with the pursuit of the question: "What is really going on here?" For me, this evolution had three stages: revealing the hidden truth, recognizing the conflicting intention, and finally resolving the core dynamic.

My experience has been that most people play "just small enough" in life to avoid a hidden truth. They settle into a life that is sheltered and a bit too comfortable. It's like having a covered walkway to your car: sure you never have to worry about getting wet, but you miss the exhilaration of occasionally having to run through the rain.

Here are a few real world examples of what I mean by causing problems:

  • The client is inspired to take on a project that would bring about incredible growth and potential financial rewards but it would call forth more creativity from her than she has ever been willing to express
  • Not making progress on a project--there is something much more profound that the client wants to do. However, this hidden project comes from a long-held and deep-seated desire buried by a lifetime of disappointment.
  • Seeing and facing a blatant but uncomfortable truth about a relationship - the client loves this person, yet knows that staying with him means denying a part of herself or her purpose in life.
  • Seeing and facing the truth about a job - The client is comfortable and the money is good enough to pay the bills, but he know that he's only using a small fraction of his talents and gifts

This "causes" a big problem. The focus of coaching becomes all about getting the stuck client out of the familiar pattern of settling--settling for anything less than the full sweetness of what life has to offer. I define settling as anything less than bold self-expression, wild creativity, and profound relatedness.

Ultimately, Blind Spots are the Reason Coaching Exists

All the situations above have some common threads. First, there is some truth that is being overlooked, ignored or denied. It has become a blind spot. Secondly, the situations reveal a fundamental truth about life itself: you can not effectively watch yourself do something.

From a practical point of view, the best way to improve your performance at anything (like playing tennis or running a business) is to have a skilled person watch you, tell you what they see, and then help you improve. If the person is experienced at watching and sharing, they are called a coach.

In our desire to live a fully expressed life, having a coach is very useful because we have blind spots in our perception of ourselves. Most often, we are blind to our own truths and inner conflicts (and our talents and possibilities, too). One of my favorite realizations about being a coach is this: it is a LOT EASIER to see another person's truths, inner conflicts, and talents than it is to see your own!

Working Around the Truth Versus Handling the Truth

I often think about that scene from "A Few Good Men" when Jack Nicholson is on the stand in a military courtroom being cross examined by Tom Cruise. Jack is getting angry about the line of questioning and asks intensely, "What do you want from me?" Tom shouts, "I want the truth!" and Jack shouts back, "You can't handle the truth!" It is a powerful moment in film and speaks to our conditioned resistance to seeing and facing the truth about things in our lives.

Why is it so difficult to "handle the truth" for the client and the coach? I love this quote from Author Peter Senge (from the introduction to the book "Synchronicity" by Joe Jaworski):

"Most of us aren't very good at perceiving reality as it is. Most of what we "see" is shaped by our impressions, our history, our baggage, our preconceptions. We can't see people as they really are because we're too busy reacting to our own internal experiences of what they evoke in us, so we rarely actually relate to reality. We mostly relate to internal remembrances of our own history, stimulated and evoked by whatever is externally before us . . . 

If we could only see reality more as it is, it would become obvious what we need to do. We wouldn't be acting out of our own histories, or our own needs, or our own purely reactive interpretations. We would see what is needed in the moment. We would do exactly what's required of us, right now, right here. This is … living one's life by "participating in the unfolding". You can't do that unless you can actually see what is right before you."

An Example…

In an earlier part of the series, I spoke about the woman who had the opportunity to create a lucrative strategic alliance but week after week didn't make the call because she didn't have time. As a problem solving coach, I would help her work around the truth (or inner conflict) by having her do a time log of her activities and then we could see that she really did have time to make the call.

As a masterful coach I would realize that the goal of the strategic alliance had created a BIG problem for her. Then we would begin to explore her thoughts and feelings in search of her truth and possibly the inner conflicts she has about this alliance. She may have doubts about her ability to deliver. She may be worried that it would really take off and become consuming, thus taking time away from her family responsibilities.

There can be any number of big problems that show up. With the right perspective and an environment of openness, it is possible to pinpoint exactly what the problem is. Realize that your ability to help the client handle the truth is only limited by your own ability to face the truths of your own life.

The big question is: when you find the truth, what do you do with it? Good question. In coaching proficiency 13, "Relishes Truth", we suggest that it is often best to do nothing with the truth. Just let it sit there for a while and see what the basic awareness will create.

However, if you want to work on the truth, examining the client's conditioning is a powerful access point. The pervasive tendency to avoid seeing reality and the limited ability to respond to the moment is caused by conditioning from the past. Conditioning leads to limiting beliefs and restrictive patterns of thought. We call these patterns of thought "the core dynamics of common problems".

While traditional coaching practice included sticking to the present and the future, this amazing new coaching approach involves exploring conditioning and its effects. While traditional coaching dealt with action plans and accountability structures to try to work around the truth, this approach suggests handling the truth by feeling things fully and waiting for clarity.

Next issue . . . the effect of conflicting intentions.


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