18 Apr Coaching Wisdom Five
This is a series of seven articles from my book, Calling Forth Greatness. I hope you enjoy these Coaching Wisdoms and that you will use them to transform your life.
“Do you know that you are a more efficacious voice for transformation in the world than any book, teaching, philosophy or religion? In fact, you are the only dynamic point of transformation that exists!” —Paul Tuttle
Be Committed to Transformation
Coaches are committed to facilitating clients in shifting who they are being in relationship to their “issue.” The goal of the coaching process is transformation versus fixing or problem solving. This is based on the understanding that Confucius shared with us thousands of years ago: “Feed a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.”
Typically, a client will bring an issue to be explored or resolved to a coaching conversation. Coaches know that the presenting “issue” is usually not the underlying “issue.” And, coaches know that exploring for that deeper issue will provide a greater possibility for transformation—eating for a lifetime versus resolving something at the surface level —eating for a day.
For example, I often use the metaphor of the Titanic. My client presents that he is in a situation at work that feels like he is standing on the deck of the Titanic and that it is very important for him to rearrange the deck chairs. If we partner on the presenting issue, we roll up our sleeves, and together we rearrange the deck chairs to his satisfaction. The chairs are lined up in the number of rows desired, and the finished product is aesthetically pleasing for him. We have done some work and we have a result. My client is feeling a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
Short term. What about long-term? That’s right. The ship is still going down.
The Underlying Issues
If, however, I am committed to supporting my client in transforming his relationship to his underlying issue, I invite him to explore underneath his presenting desire. Now my client has the opportunity for shifting his point of view, raising his self-awareness, learning more about himself, and building on capacities that will positively impact all areas of his life—not just the presenting situation.
Carrying on with the metaphor, let’s say I ask, “What’s important to you about rearranging the deck chairs?” And let’s imagine, for example, he says, “What’s important to me is having the orderliness.” And then I ask, “If you had that orderliness, how would your life be different?” And he responds, “I would experience freedom from distractions and less stress.” Now we are addressing the deeper “want” —the underlying “issue.”
“Bless those who challenge us to grow, to stretch, to move beyond the knowable, to come back home to our elemental and essential nature. Bless those who challenge us for they remind us of doors we have closed and doors we have yet to open.” Navajo saying
Where Does Transformation and Lasting Change Come From?
The most effective way to experience transformation for ourselves is by cultivating deep and lasting change from the inside out.
From the “inside” vantage point of our essential Self, our life vision, purpose, values, guiding principles, and empowering beliefs become the lenses for viewing the circumstances in our lives. Transformation naturally occurs as we shift our perspective of the circumstances from this empowering view. It has been my personal experience, as well as my observation in working with clients, that the circumstances may not necessarily change immediately. However, we shift who we are being about the circumstances and how we are responding to those circumstances. This brings about a significant shift in our quality of life.
When you gain more access to your essential self and awareness of those deep, underlying “issues”, you feel a sense of freedom to make more empowering choices rather than feeling restricted as the victim of the circumstances. Increased fulfillment will be the reward.
Attempting to make changes from the outside is similar to depending on the advice of others versus trusting the answers from within you. For example, if you are consistently accommodating yourself to do what others want or expect you are living from the outside in.
“No one can persuade another to change. Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside. We cannot open the gate of another either by argument or emotional appeal. ” —Marilyn Ferguson
A commitment to being a catalyst for transformation starts with our commitment to living true to who we are at our essence.
Inquiry: How fully am I living true to my essential Self?
“There can be no more important task in our life than to get in touch with our own inner self, the source of all Being. The deepest self within each of us is the Self of the whole universe, and it’s also the source of all healing and transformation.”