At the end of each coaching session I ask my clients
1. What did your coach do or say that had the biggest impact?
2. What was your greatest insight during our session?
On first glance they might seem like the same question, and when I first started coaching I was a little confused myself as to why I wanted to ask both these questions. Over the years, however, I found that they are truly two separate questions. As a coach, I make suggestions and offer up what might be called Life Lessons. However, by far the most powerful and productive lessons and insights come from my clients themselves, in response to my questions and our conversation.
Robin and I began our coach-client relationship about 10 years ago. He recently sent me the following email and I am sharing this with you with his permission. Thank you Robin!
(1) – developing a disinterest in judging people. It’s harder than you think but it’s very rewarding. So much unpleasantness comes from your own judgment against others. Anger is judging. Road rage is judging. The odds are pretty solidly in favour of the probability that the person who cut you off is either selfish, or ignorant, or stupid or a combination of the three, deserving of removal from the human gene pool. There is however an insignificantly small possibility that they’re rushing to be by the side of their terminally ill mother. The point is that you don’t know, and to assume is to judge.
(2) – great serenity comes from the practical realization that life is perfect, especially when it is not. I’ve been telling myself this for years but making it a practical part of my daily thinking has been truly liberating. We live in the lap of the gods. We are responsible for journey decisions but not the destination. There are so many other elements to fate than our own contribution. We make the best decisions we can then we accept what happens. We don’t always get what we want, but it’s always what we need.
(3) – maintain the rage. Angry? Challenge yourself to maintain your level of rage for 2 minutes or drop it immediately.
(4) – you are a child of the universe and a reflection of all that there is in it. Each wrong you see in the world has a seed in you. If you want to rid the world of a wrong, find its seed in you and remove it. You will find that it’s gone from the outer world too.
(5) – Some things like relationships and success cannot be acquired or even actively sought. They are things you attract. The principles of attraction are about enlightenment and self development. It is the practical guide to making positive thinking pay off. “You reap what you sow.” “What goes around…” “Karma.” “You are attracted to your fears as well as your goals”. It is a sentiment reflected in every philosophy and religion. Understand that it is “attraction” and not “acquisition,” and it becomes powerful magic.
(6)- The universe does talk to you, but not in English, Dutch or even in “signs”. You have to develop the “ear” to listen. It’s about instincts, first impressions and feelings. Messages are often obscured by our
desire to justify our feelings and decisions with science and logic. We forget that “science and logic” are our observations of the universe and not a rule framework in which the universe operates. The human consciousness can see so much more than we can explain with formulae. Sometimes we get it wrong but that means we have to tune our listening, not stop listening.
(7) – Details are sexy. Big picture is not. It’s part of the principles of attraction. Big picture is for planning. Details are for living.
Extrapolation – stuff I’m thinking about as a result of coaching:
(1) romancing myself. Creating, planning, holidaying seem so much more purposeful when you’re doing it with someone else, but it’s unhealthy to depend on or wait for someone else to validate your good mood, thus I’m learning to romance myself.
And WHAT IS DIFFERENT in my life, as a result of these “Lessons learnt”?
I am now a happier person than I was. I’ve always been a little intense, but now that just seems to be OK. I’m better able to manage highs and lows and I seem to be unaffected by things going wrong. I’ve always handled the rough patches well. The difference is that now I don’t feel like a martyr.
I feel less stressed and less angry. Things that used to enrage me now pass me by as casual observations.
Making decisions is much easier and seems to come naturally, sometimes with no logical support what so ever, and with no regrets.
I’m more confident in dealing with relationships. I understand the relationships I have with the people around me better, in fact my relationship with the universe in general has become much less
I find that a lot of cliches like “live in the moment” are starting to take on tangible forms. To finish on another cliche, my life really did begin at 40, soon after I engaged my life coach. Perhaps most significantly, I do not feel “changed. I am still me, but greatly enhanced.