I have a client who is a coach. (Yes, coaches have coaches). This past week, she called me in the middle of the day because something had happened that threw her into a tizzy. You know, one of those states when our buttons are pushed and we just can’t think clearly, can’t process things logically. It was a magical coaching moment because as a coach, I could stay outside the maelstrom and help her to see a blind spot that she hadn’t considered.
Today, I had a similar thing happen with my own coach (yes, coaches have coaches!). I had a recent experience with a different client who called to put our coaching on hold because of a series of consecutive crises in his life at home and work. He felt that he couldn’t “do” coaching right now and felt that he needed to see a counsellor or therapist just to cope. I let my client know that I supported him in his choice and to keep in mind that I was available to him as a good listener if he wanted to talk (one who listens based on the premise that he is resourceful and whole, rather than ‘broken’).
I wanted to talk this over with my own coach because something wasn’t sitting right with me. In my quest to be supportive of my client, had I abandoned him? Had I left him alone to drift? I am committed to doing what is in the best interest of my clients; was this in my client’s best interest?
What was my coach’s response? BLIND SPOT! BLIND SPOT! “It’s no wonder you don’t feel right about this”, my coach said. “You missed an opportunity to serve your client in a powerful way.” Yikes!
He told me that in his 20 years of experience as a full time coach he had many instances where he felt his client would benefit from therapy. In one case, he insisted that it was the only way he would continue the coaching relationship! Here’s the thing, though. Therapy or counselling is not in lieu of coaching…it is in CONCERT with coaching in a number of ways.
ACCOUNTABILITY. A therapist sees you through crises, explores the why and offers advice, tips and skills to help keep you afloat. If you don’t do what the therapist suggests, the therapy won’t help you. A coach keeps you accountable, assists you in removing road blocks and keeps you moving forward and on track with the therapy.
SUPPORT. In between your counselling sessions, when you begin to falter or stumble, your coach is there to bolster you, to help you regain perspective, to support you and encourage you.
INSIGHT. Your coach will help you use the insights and skills learned in counselling and apply them to real life scenarios in work and at home. A coach will see recurring patterns of behaviour and thought and help you to see them yourself and understand their impact. A coach can help you take a valuable insight and make it real.
Holy Blind Spot, Batman! I am still giving my head a shake on this one! How did I not instinctively go there with my client? A great big thank you to my coach for shining a glaring flashlight on my blind spot hiding in the shadows. I will be contacting my client to let him know that I have been remiss in not helping him to understand how complimentary coaching and counselling can be! This is a learning and growing experience for me as a coach, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Kristin, your insights are brilliant! Is it no wonder that your clients see the incredible value in your wisdom? Not only have you modeled the kinds of behaviors that are helpful and healthful for your clients you have taken positive ACTION to “take a stand” for your clients personal growth.