“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
– Marianne Williamson
It’s my last day in the office before I head off for my winter vacation, so by the time you read this, I plan to be sitting under a palm tree in Cape Verde, with a cold drink and a gripping crime thriller. I trust that 2015 has started wonderfully for you! In this article, we’re going to be exploring the second of the 3 transformations you have to go through to become a professional coach: Your interpersonal transformation.
Impact: Your interpersonal transformation
The first time I read the Marianne Williamson quote above was in 1998. I had an insight, and a spark inside me was fanned into a flame. A few months later, I attended a personal development course, and by the end of that weekend, I’d found my calling; I wanted to do transformational change-work with individuals and groups. I’ve spent the past 16 years on that journey, and one of the things I’ve discovered is this:
People don’t really care about the work you do…
What they care about is the impact you have on them…
The difference you make in their lives…
Your interpersonal transformation is the process of bringing your impact to light. Speaking to you as a transformational coach, it’s a process of “tuning the instrument” of who you are so that you can be of profound service to your client.
In the book Dune by Frank Herbert, there is a group of people called the Bene Gesserit who have perceptual abilities that seem nearly magical to outsiders. One of their abilities is that they are able to very accurately detect when someone is lying. One of the characters (Shoel) is asked what signals he looks for to know if someone is lying. He answers, "My own internal reactions. I read myself, not the person in front of me. I always know a lie because I want to turn my back on the liar."
While the context and purpose are different, the metaphor applies to transformational coaching. Much of your power as a transformational coach comes from knowing yourself extremely well. From being able to rest in your own being (and well-being) in such a way that your ground of being becomes almost like a finely tuned instrument. The “instrument” of your being allows you to calibrate your client, connect with them and (guided by wisdom) help them wake up to the truth of who they really are.
Of course, this is a function of (and massively informed by) your grounding; your embodied understanding of the inside-out nature of life. When it comes to having an impact with your clients, the 3 things you have going for you are:
1) Your clarity of connection; this is your felt sense of connection to your client, to your true self and to life as a whole. The feeling of connection is like the “transformation superhighway” when it comes to impact.
2) Your clarity of thought in the moment. When you’ve got nothing on your mind, you’re free to give your best (same goes for your clients, btw). But many coaches have a lot on their mind when they’re coaching (Eg. what question should I ask next, concerns about how the session is going, attachment to helping their client get an outcome etc)
3) Your clarity of understanding; your grounding. This is your embodied understanding of the inside-out nature of life, of the principles behind clarity. As such, your grounding is the foundation for your impact with a client.
When I’m training coaches, at first they find it hard to believe that I’ve got nothing on my mind when I’m coaching people. I don’t have a plan of attack, a methodology or a structure I’m working through. When I’m doing a 1:1 intensive with a client, the 3-day sessions often have a similar “shape”, but that’s something that emerges rather than a pattern we’re following (to get a sense of what that emergent shape looks like, check out article 52, The Secret Formula for Coaching Transformation)
Your impact as a transformational coach is your ability to guide your client in seeing through the misunderstandings that have been holding them back until now, and waking up to the truth of who they really are. Why? Because as you start seeing through your misunderstandings and waking up to who you really are, you begin to realise that you’re unstoppable!
Wishing you a happy, peaceful and prosperous new year!
And increasing clarity in all things,
PS. I’m looking for 36 very specific people for a new pilot programme I’m putting together for the new year. I’ve found the first 29 people, so we’re down to the final 7 people. Here’s what I’m looking for:
– You are a coach, therapist or change-worker (Eg. Sports coach, psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, business coach, bodyworker etc)
– You have at least one year’s experience of working with clients (either paid, pro-bono or both)
– You probably charge by the hour, but want use a “coaching package” model and increase your income
– You have room to work with at least one longer term contract client, starting in February
– You’re an enthusiastic, friendly people-person
– You have a coachable spirit, and are willing to step out of your comfort zone if necessary, and
– You can keep a secret
If that’s you, then send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and let me know where you’re located and a little about yourself (if you don’t know what to tell me about, look at the list above for inspiration). Change the subject line to “Project Glasswing”. I’ll be choosing people in the next couple of weeks. Talk to you soon! J