Research Paper By Noelle Aramais/Eva Kweitel
(Healh/Detox Coach, UNITED STATES)
Joshua came to coaching because he wanted to change his current job situation. He worked as a marketing Coordinator for a large company.
He really liked the people he worked with, but kept telling himself that he didn’t measure up to his very accomplished and driven colleagues. He worried that as an introvert, he didn’t connect with his extroverted coworkers. Fearing his work wasn’t good enough, he would procrastinate, get very little done, and leave work feeling emotionally tired and drained. He would finish his evening off by going to a diner for a glass of wine or going home to watch a television show. He sent me an email telling me what he wanted from coaching:
Clearly in my life, I’m not doing what it is I want to be doing. The problem is I really don’t know what that it is that I even want to be doing. … I’ve had quite a few jobs with great companies, but at some point I feel dissatisfied or as if I’m going upstream with my position and I move on to the next job thinking it will be better but it usually isn’t…. I never feel as if I am enough or successful in my job and worry that I will be discovered as a fake.
In my life I have been in therapy to address some of these issues but it always seems to be that I am working in the past and the underlying Whys. While this has been very beneficial and valuable, I am more interested in how to move forward with purpose and really discover my gifts and what drives me… I have dreams of inner personal change and I keep “beating myself up” as to why I keep failing myself and why I don’t just go for the things that I feel I want to do versus the things I have to do; even though I am still not clear on what it is I really want to do, or what is really going on with me. I feel I need to gain clarity in order to get unstuck. My brain tells me to “shut up” most of the time and to toughen up. But deep down I know change needs to happen in my life.
Our initial contact and agreement
In our first coaching session we talked about what result would make it feel like coaching was worth the investment – because coaching is an emotional investment, a time investment and of course a financial investment. Joshua was clear that he wanted help uncovering a path that was right for him — one that felt purposeful and truthful on a deeper level..
Over the course of three months, we met Four times a month via Skype and we explored what the right path for him looked like, how it felt, and how to create it. Homework assignments in between sessions helped him deepen the learning and take small action steps each week.
Figuring Out What’s Important and Not Taking Things Too Seriously
Joseph and I talked in depth about his values – those beliefs that are intertwined with his identity. What came surfacing to the top were community and connection. Yet he didn’t feel these things at work in his life. He actually liked the company culture, but found it challenging to participate and create the connections that he was to thrive in.
Joshua admitted that he wasn’t interacting with his co-workers any more than was absolutely required. He hid behind sarcasm and irony. He felt as he stood on the sidelines being cynical and judgmental.
Little challenges that felt kind of silly or absurd helped Joshua practice connecting with non-coworkers without worrying what they thought about him. Talk to five strangers on the bus. Give random people compliments and show random acts of kindness towards other people he came across. Dance in the street for a few seconds and then make eye contact and smile at someone. At first he balked at the ideas, then he started looking forward to the challenges and creating them himself.
Dealing with The Inner Critic
Joshua had a pretty active inner critic (just like all of us do sometimes). You can’t go out on Saturday morning with bedhead. What would people think? Don’t even think of singing in front of those people. Have some dignity. They’ll think you’re nuts!
The inner critic voices kept Joshua from letting go, doing the things that inspired him, and ultimately creating the life he wanted. I helped him bring some awareness to how often the Ninja voice came up predicting the worst possible scenario and the you ain’t all that! And the voice telling him he better not shine. Together we came up with some tools to help keep him moving forward despite the voices. Through brainstorming we also created techniques that worked for him to neutralize the voices when they came in.
Seeing His Own Brilliance
Joshua couldn’t see his own brilliance. He was a creative, innovative, leader with a hilarious sense of humor. But he had a deep feeling that at any moment his boss might say, we don’t think you belong here.
I asked him to gather some information about what his strengths were by taking a couple of personality tests and getting feedback from a few people that knew him personally.
His personal friends and colleagues described him as a communications genius. A keen observer of things most people overlook. An amazing public speaker who makes people laugh at the absurdity of life. A tenacious worker. Someone with a deep sense of empathy who helps others through difficult times in their life.
This was a breakthrough for Josh. Now he had hard evidence of his brilliance staring him in the face. He knew that the things others had said about his strengths were true because he could feel the truth of it. He’d always known what his strengths were. He just needed to be reminded of them. This indeed helped him with his self-confidence.
What Did Joshua Get Out of Life Coaching?
When Joshua hired me, he didn’t know it at the time, but he was on the brink of being fired. Even though his boss really liked him and knew he was capable of the work, his cynical attitude, disengagement and procrastination were causing his employer to question his ability to be successful.
He came to coaching because he wanted to change his job situation. But he realized through the coaching process that he wanted to feel differently about his work and life.
He found that he could feel possibility, strength, openness, generosity and engagement – without having to turn his life kaos. By changing nothing more than his thoughts about the situation, he started to feel like he already was on the right path. With those inner changes and shifts that took place within himself, outer changes started to happen as well.
Joshua was getting more done and having more fun at work. Not only did he organize a company party for the holidays and put the effort to make his famous dishes, but he also inspired random group gatherings in the office. Everyone was having more fun and he was initiating it.
When Joshua saw an opportunity at work at having a much bigger impact, he jumped on it. He proposed that his company promote him to oversee another department. His employer could offer him much of what he wanted from his work – he just had to have the courage to ask for it. He ended up receiving a promotion and a nice raise too.
The final most amazing thing that happened? He sang and entertained everyone at the company’s holiday party, and felt very proud of it.
It’s a great feeling to know I was a part of Joshua getting unstuck through our coaching process. By asking the hard questions that other people don’t normally ask, I was able to create a breakthrough in Josh’s life. I was a compassionate witness to his stuckness and his brilliance. And I told him the truth. But Josh did the all the hard work – and made the changes that really made a difference in his life.