OK, once again I hear what I so often hear.
At the end of a coaching session I say:
me: OK, let’s bring this call to a conclusion. Um … I don’t really hear any actions steps or goals as take-homes…
client: No, it’s more about how I feel. I feel very clear and different from when we started. At that point I was thinking [a doubt] and now I see [possibility], and that’s all I actually need.
I believe it! And I also heard this …
… your energy background is interesting. You talked about the power-in-the-moment of me seeing this shield I have, and you then saying you see the block as an energetic shield actually I put in place for a very good reason. When you asked me to name that reason, everything actually fell into place. Now I know what it is and it’s clear what to do. I’m anxious to get started. The power that block had is already gone, so I know what to do. Everything changed.
Now, sure… that feels good. But THEN what happens? What about the next call, when I say “what’s happened since the last call?”
Over and over, what happens is this… They have no problem whatsoever taking multiple appropriate actions based on the new way of seeing — more than we could have imagined. Maybe they’ve had a fresh insight and moved their attention to that which is significantly beyond the concerns of the last call. In effect, they’ve jumped galaxies where reducing the “problem” to goal work might have just allowed them to polish the fence on their previous planet. I stay away from joining in “problem talk.”
Instead the questions sound sortof like this:
“So, what do you see yourself doing?”
“What other actions are possible?”
“Which would you like to start with?”
“When do you think that might happen?”
“What might get in the way?” . . . and
“Who could support you with this?”
We all know how to fill in the blanks and answer these questions, even if it’s not a rational, logical question/answer process. I’m looking/listening/feeling for passion and responsibility. First. Logic and rationality have their place later in the food chain, as it were.
As for bringing it down to “goals”, that can sometimes feel so … d e a d.
It can invite some “school marm” disciplinarian energy.
Imagine a world where we just simply let go of all these connections with one person controlling another, employing guilt, “debating” another’s spirit away, proving to them that their heart’s song is “wrong”?
What might happen then?
Why not just let people overflow with their own responsibility and passion, letting them handle the details of actions, and with awareness matching them to the moment? and then celebrate this process of a full life?
Don’t get me wrong. Action steps and goals have their place. I admire many of my ICA classmates who weave beautiful work around these concepts. They seem to get cases where this is what’s needed. I’m comfortable handing out planning sheets for people to fill in themselves and show to me.
And in a group it’s great when people know *enough* of what each other is up to, to be able to synergize.
Where I flourish, where I see my own passion and responsibility rise, is in supporting a shift in image to a more supportive one for the fine spirit in front of me. I own what’s dis-owned, I celebrate what’s been discarded but where I see life. That role is enough. Then when the client experiences that, they are more able to bring a whole series of actions into being, on their own, without my “overseeing” them. They do it themselves, and in my book that’s high-level coaching.
Another curious thing: as this process is repeated with a person a few times, people start proactively bringing their action goals to me “for safe keeping.” I’m being “used” as I love to be … to handle accountability, to hold intentions without judgment. And that IS a good match with me.