A window to creating awareness

To be honest writing is something I dread! If there was anything on my procrastination list that I would happily keep for a long time, it would be this. Little did I know that this “dread” would be a key component when I enrolled for my advanced Life Coach certification course!

I had heard about the live call recording, call listening, assessments and the exams, which was all good with me (although I was warned about the time-intensive assignments, I was certain I could manage), until one fine day in one of the classes our dear mentor spoke about three papers we had to write to complete the course. Ouch! Well, I still have months, right… I tell myself: inspiration will strike me some time… well…now it’s only days left for the submission date. Panic!

I took a deep breath, and a realization dawned upon me. Hey, I am a Life Coach—what does this mean to me if I am not able to break my own barriers. I believe there are forces to help me if only I allow them. It’s a rainy day, very pleasant for where I stay, I have been taking care of myself, with regular walks, yoga and meditation. I feel awesome; it’s just the right time to allow my creativity to flow.

In the last six months of this course, I have come to realize the deeper purpose of Life Coaching. It’s not just about helping your client to succeed in their goals and to be more disciplined and accountable. Yes, these are by-products of coaching. But what I have come to realize is where a good coach brings in that something extra—that fragrance that lasts even when you leave! I want to talk about my journey in “Creating Awareness.”

A STORY OF DISCOVERING AUTHENTIC AMIT

I was coaching a client, Amit (name changed), who is very successful in his profession, always the first to be promoted and went that extra mile to outperform. Ambitious! Very clearly he was a star performer; the organization had him on their HiPo (High Potential) list for Executive Coaching. We started off with expectation setting, discussed his goals and the ongoing plan. All OK! Sessions went OK! He worked on his problem areas. He was satisfied with the results. It seemed all was on track. But as a coach this “OK” was not OK for me! My gut knew something was missing, and I couldn’t place it for some time. I tried to challenge my client on his problem area (at that time, he wanted to work on his crucial communication skills, he felt he got too aggressive or emotional during senior management conversations, especially when they couldn’t see his point of view). His results seemed to me more of a “correction” rather than a transformation.

I learned to keep the client’s agenda paramount and not have my (the coach’s) agenda upset it! This is where, as a coach, I was torn and was going through my own journey of “self-awareness.” I had to be clear within before I created a space of “self-awareness” for my client.

I was blessed to have the space to share my experiences with my coach colleagues, talk to my mentors (soulful coaches themselves), revisit my life purpose—a calling to tap into people’s potential and enable them to live a life of fulfillment and of course my own self-care regime. It started getting clearer for me: holding your client’s agenda is paramount but staying true to your spirit is equally important in this journey.

So, this is what I decided to do with this new wisdom: I started with the foundation session, which enabled Amit to delve deep into his values, life purpose and natural gifts. At first, he wasn’t sure if this was his life purpose (being ambitious, it didn’t seem a talk order). As we got to talking about his growing years, his dreams and his

realities, I could sense him connecting with his true self. There were days I would see him struggle to go back to the authentic Amit (he had created a very successful version of himself that needed him to project outside-in a way he felt needed).  But the more he talked and experienced the safe space, the more he opened up to his internal struggles of nothing being good enough for him, the next is always better. In his own words, he was always “on a constant treadmill.” He realized its cost on his family, his young child and, in the future, his own health and career.

As a coach, I started practicing a deeper level of direct communication; it’s OK to show the client that his definition of success is not one that stands time and spirit. What others see as success (material) is not something that can be sustained truly over time. But amassing success in self-awareness, acceptance and unconditional love is the truest, most fulfilling goal. That’s why this process is called “Life” Coaching.

And finally, since we are on the topic of self-awareness and acceptance, I must do this for myself. I do not dread writing; this is a step towards accepting and allowing my talents to come to their true form. I must nurture and let them grow like nature allows all its forms to grow to their fullest potential!

I close with a quote from Aristotle: “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all Wisdom.”

 

Sandra Colhando

Leadership coach, TransforME