A Coaching Power Tool Created by Darya Haitoglou
(Systemic Relationship Coaching, UNITED KINGDOM)
Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man’s growth without destroying his roots. – Frank A. Clark
TO NOURISH MEANS TO GIVE UNCONDITIONALLY. It’s what Tom Rath and Donald Clifton wrote in How Full is Your Bucket? based on the Gallup research, Nourishment fills up an emotional bank account. People have emotional accounts with different emotional overdraft amounts depending on many factors such as their physical resilience, parents’ model of behaviour, basic condition of their physical and emotional resilience levels, environment, beliefs, etc. For some, it is very little before they get depleted, for others, the overdraft is a bit larger. In coaching it’s the same. There is a point where a coach’s emotional ‘bucket’ gets empty and if a client is ‘thirsty’ for attention, no nourishment is possible at that moment and instead of feeling enriched, a coach may feel depleted. And this may affect the coaching session negatively.
The main question is how to make sure we keep ourselves nourished instead of depleted?
If you are experiencing a rocky part of your life, it’s like having a ‘bucket’ with a hole in it. First, you need to take time to mend it and then start filling it in with positive stuff. So before an emotional storm, get ready and do your homework by nourishing yourself to make sure you have your ‘bucket’ full.
The best way to fill your ‘bucket’ is to raise your self-esteem. That is to do actions that make you feel great.
Here are some of the questions to explore for your nourishment:
- What do you love doing?
- What makes you look forward to an event?
- What motivates you?
- What is one thing that you can’t live without?
- What are your top 3 values in life?
- What can you do for as long as your life?
- When do you feel special?
- If you had all the resources, what would you like to do?
- What makes you feel great?
- What activities make you ‘sing’?
- What legacy would you like to leave after you you?
- What thoughts make you feel whole?
- What activities make you feel at home?
- What characteristics do you value the most?
- How do you look after yourself best?
These same questions you can ask your client to help them fill nourished and avoid depletion. Prevention is better than cure.
Case study 1:
Anna: I have a problem and I think I need to see someone.
Me: What is the problem that you say you have?
Anna: I feel tired. I feel exhausted. I did all the checks with the doctor and they are normal. I should be able to run my day fine but I can’t. I know I have a family and kids, but I just want to stay in bed all the day long. I feel wiped out.
Me: What I hear is that you feel tired even before the day starts. And on a physical level your test results are fine. It is the feeling you have, you seem to want to stay in bed all day long because you feel tired.
Anna: Yes, and I wish I could just jump up and do all the things that I need to do to feel good about myself, about me being a mother, being a wife.
Me: I hear you are saying you would like to ‘jump’ up. What physical activity do you do in the morning? When was the last time you exercised?
Anna: Long time ago and I tried to go to the gym, but I hated it and it was far from home. I need to be close to my little kids.
Me: Yes, you want to be close to your kids and if you want to do exercises, where would that be ideally?
Anna: Ideally at home.
Me: Home. And what time of the day you are more likely to do the exercises?
Anna: Morning. Before the kids wake up. Once they are awake I am running around the house.
Me: So morning and on top, it looks like you are already running around the house, which sounds like some physical activity, but you may want to add some weights or stretching. What do you want to do for sport?
Anna: Weights – no, I have enough with lifting little kids all day long but stretching would really do me good as I have a sore back and shoulders. Actually, I could do it in the other room in the house. I can have a YouTube yoga video to exercise to stay on track.
Two weeks later Anna is back to her normal energy level and she even persuaded her partner to sign up to a gym! She does morning exercises and goes to classes at her local gym. She also claims that this change of routine on it’s own changed her relationship with her husband.
Nourish yourself by doing what you love. Do it regularly and choose a healthy habit instead of bad addictions or cravings. Doing what you love will balance your hormonal chemistry and bring the best out of you even at hard times. When you feel nourished, you are easy to get in the love zone and spill your love around you. Wayne L Misner said,
Love is like paint – you can’t spread even a little without getting some on yourself.
Case study 2:
Stephanie is a mother of two and had to put her career ‘on hold’ after moving to a different country where she didn’t speak the local language. In her heart she felt she sacrificed part of her life following her husband’s career. She became a house mum. She liked it for the first few months but then her family noticed her being moody and emotional more often than usual.
She decided to explore what else she can do in her life and finally found a job but she didn’t like it. She felt guilty she didn’t spend time with kids when she was at work and when she was at home she felt guilty that she wasn’t doing something useful for her career. She felt stuck and frustrated. To my question ‘what is that frustrates you so much’ she said: ‘that my husband can have his career and kids and me like before but I have to sacrifice my career and do a job that I don’t like and on top, feeling guilty for not spending time with my kids’.
Me: What is your hobby? What do you like doing when you have time?
Stephanie: I don’t have time these days. I feel I just run from home to work and from work to home and then I feel bad about it as I don’t do either of these well enough to feel proud of myself.
Me: It sound like you have high expectations of yourself when it comes to children and your work… What if you had all the resources available what would you do?
Stephanie: …I would probably do something different. I would go back home and do something to help animals. I would learn to be a vet.
Me: Ok, so when would you be able to do that knowing your husband’s job engagements?
Stephanie: Probably in the next 1.5-2 years.
Me: Great. So you have already a time target. What can you do now for the next 1.5-2 years before you move there to excite you and move in the direction of your dream to be a vet?
Stephanie: I don’t know. I could do an internship in a vet clinic or start studying online? Or buy a lot of books and start reading? Or go and spend time with animals on a farm learning from people who work there?
Me: Yeh, so which one feels more like what you want to explore now.
Stephanie: I probably want to learn something online. I heard there are courses I could do and get a certificate. Also, no one stops me from going to a farm, I can do it with kids even. And learn more about the animals.
2 months later Stephanie is enrolled in a long-distance online course to become a vet, she reduced working hours to enjoy her time with kids going to farms and spending time all together learning about the animals. She claims even her husband saw a difference in her changing and they enjoy their time together like they used to living in their home country.
Sometimes we just forget to light up the bulb that is there and once we do, it’s all clear and lit up. We are free to explore and go and enjoy ourselves and our life, and be the great coaches that we are.
Fredrickson, B. L. (2009). Positivity. New York, NY: Crown Publishers.
Fredrickson, B. L. (2013). Love 2.0. New York: Hudson Street Press.
Haitoglou, D. (2016) Enrich Your Relationships: 10 secrets to rekindle your intimate life. CreateSpace.
Rath, T., & Clifton, D. O. (2004). How full is your bucket?: positive strategies for work and life. New York, Gallup Press.
Satir, V. (1988). The new peoplemaking. Mountain View, Calif, Science and Behavior Books.