Being in session with a patient is my favorite part of the job! It is an exercise in being present with your patient and always mindful of where they are and your role. It is said to be like a dance where you are in step with another person and following their lead. You are also being mindful of the steps, staying in rhythm, and being ready to react in a way that will bring out the best in them. This process puts me into a state of flow where time flies by and I can react with my skill set and follow my gut. You are focused entirely on the growth of another person and holding space and focus for that to happen. All my own troubles melt like lemon drops and it is a little like being in the magical Land of Oz.
Witnessing positive change
A coach’s job is to help people who are doing, or at least contemplating, positive things for themselves. To help people find solutions and create excitement around setting intentions and creating their very own “yellow brick road” that leads to their goal. Frankly, it’s exciting for us too. It can be vulnerable and challenging for a patient to figure out what they want and why, who they are and what’s important to them, and how it aligns with their core values. It is a special privilege to get to be inquisitive and ask people to dig deep inside themselves to find answers that empower them to make a change. The things you learn about people in this process can be heartbreaking and inspiring. In general, people want to be better and do better, and most people don’t get to spend hours hearing about people wanting to make the world a better place for themselves and their families, and it’s an incredibly unique experience!
Practicing empathy and non-judgment
Working with people while they struggle to get closer to the goals they hold so dear isn’t always easy. Sometimes there are even flying monkeys that get people off track or a field of poppies to slow them down! When people do not achieve their goals and come in with their heads hung low, the real magic of coaching happens. It’s an opportunity for a coach to help a patient unpack what did happen and seek understanding without judgment or labeling something a “FAILURE.” I love showing patients unconditional regard and kindness. This can be a transformative experience for some folks, especially if they have shame around failure and bombard themselves with negative self-talk. Modeling this behavior has made me more accepting of myself and others in my life.
Seeing people succeed
Success is all about not giving up and staying on the “yellow brick road.” Coaching is excellent for going back to the drawing board and strategizing with a patient on the next step. Helping them draw on their past successes, sometimes forcing them to find the possibly small things that did go well and encouraging them to build on the good things they were able to do and come up with creative solutions. Over time seeing people make real and lasting changes in their lives is fuel for my fire. It is such an amazing process to help people discover they had the answers all along.