Happy (almost) summer, dear people! What lies ahead for you over the next few months? Adventure? Running around with the kids? Knuckling down and getting some goals met? It’s funny how the summer often seems like such a special, encapsulated time. For so many of us, the work day is still the work day, no matter what month it is, but still…there’s something different about summer. For me, I’ve got work to do, and I had an awkward moment last week that inspired me to set some goals. Read on to hear the confessions of a professional coach!

I’ve been super excited about a coaching course I’ve been taking since April, and I’m learning so much. The class is through the Hakomi Institute, and this is the first time they’ve offered a course specifically for coaches (fyi, our dear Savannah also has Hakomi training, so we know it’s good stuff). I jumped on my chance to sign up and have been enjoying the most grounded, thoughtful coach training I’ve ever experienced (and this is my third coach training!). Hakomi really feels like coming home to me, as its deep roots in mindfulness, awareness of the body, and grounding in the present moment speak directly to my Buddhist roots. Every class has been a joy…and then I found myself completely falling apart during one of our training sessions.

a woman with red hair covering her eyesWe were engaging in a peer practice that centered around the idea of holding space for the client and guiding them to tap into their inner resources and take note of how they were feeling in their body. When it was my turn to be the coach, I happily dove in, was rolling along with the exercise, and then I suddenly found myself totally stuck. My ingrained habits came in direct conflict with the goals of the exercise, and I didn’t know what to do! It was awkward and decidedly ungraceful, but with some support, I was able to find my footing again and find my way through the end of the exercise. Thank goodness!

Fast forward to today, as I write this. When I think about that experience, I recognize that I learned a ton and I feel really grateful for the opportunity to bump up against my own limitations. What a growth opportunity! It had been a while since I floundered so completely with a coaching exercise, and the feedback I received was so respectful and sincere. I am absolutely a better coach for having had the experience.

Now, let’s rewind a bit to the moment right after I received all the feedback. At that moment, it was my turn to be the “client.” I collected myself to switch gears, took several deep breaths, and as soon as the coach started coaching me, I started crying. Really crying. Full on, snotty nose crying. Trust me, I was as surprised as my classmates were, and I was not yet ready to feel grateful for the experience!

My tears weren’t just about the critique I had received, or me bumping up against my limitations. I carry a lot of responsibility in my life, and I’m in a time when it feels like it’s piling up. That, plus the challenge of receiving constructive criticism, apparently was just too much for me at that moment. Kaboom! My vulnerability completely took over.

Why am I telling you all about this? Who wants to know that their coach fell apart in front of her colleagues? I’m writing about this because it’s a wonderful example of how important it is to be held by trusted people when we’re in a place of vulnerability. The coach working with me in that moment was like a wizard; she held the space for my emotions, affirmed everything I felt, and allowed the feelings to wash over me, peak, and then ebb like the ocean tide. Despite being a moment of massive vulnerability, it was also a moment of complete safety. 

We all have moments of overwhelm, and we all have days where we struggle. The trick with really skilled coaching is to provide space for this, and to do it without pushing anyone to an outcome. There’s plenty of time for outcomes, and everyone deserves the space to fully experience their truth and then, when the time is right, be clear about what they want the outcome to be. Coming face to face with what’s inside of you is a very, very brave act. It deserves respect. It deserves attention. Most importantly, it deserves acknowledgement as a critical part of moving forward in life. If we’re stuck in all the stuff we’re bottling up inside, we don’t move forward. We stay stuck!

So, what’s my work this summer? It’s this work. It’s to better assimilate all that I’m learning from this class, from my wonderful clients, and from my own experiences. There are always ways to improve, to evolve, and to grow. This is my work for today, this summer, and the rest of my life. These, my friends, are my confessions of a professional coach!

If you feel ready to get unstuck, whatever might be happening in your life, let’s talk! Feel free to schedule a complimentary, 20 minute consultation with me so that you can decide for yourself if coaching is right for you. Be it big life decisions, big life changes, relationships, career, or the beautiful work of drawing closer to your trans or non-binary child, I’m here to honor your experience, see your best intentions, and hold space for you and you move toward the life you want to lead. And I promise, I won’t cry! 

Best wishes to all of you!