A Coaching Power Tool Created by Carmen Philippe-Welton
(Career and Spirituality Life Coaching, CANADA)
How you view your future actually shapes it… expectation helps create the future
Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
John O’Donahue, 1997
Have you ever imagined what it would be like to live in another city?
Imagine relocating from the Canadian Maritimes to the West Coast. You’ve visited a few times over past 10 years and liked the friendly and relaxed people, the public beaches, dense forest and mountain landscapes. You imagine a new place with spacious and inspiring views. As a university, government and artistic city, you see yourself working right away. You see getting around the city via rapid transit affordable. You’ve met people who’ve made the move to Vancouver from the Maritimes and felt you could do the same.
Reality, according to the Canadian Miriam Webster Dictionary, ‘is the true situation that the real situation, in actual fact’. This journey narrative presents the reality that adjusting to the new city can offer more difficulties than anticipated, stressful as well as offer unexpected gifts.
The reality was that Vancouver differed in many ways from your former home. The multi-ethnic population was not as easy to interact given the majority of Vancouverites speak English as a second or even third language compared with the East Coast where French and English were dominant languages. The stunning ocean, mountain was often obscured by the temperature rain forest environment that generated a great deal of rain and grey skies. The higher cost of living meant you could only afford to buy a small urban apartment instead of a home with the broad vistas. Negotiating the transit system was more difficult. The reality was the new home turned out to be different from what you had imagined. It took longer to adjust than you expected.
Fantasy, according to the Canadian Merriam-Webster Dictionary, ‘represents an idea about doing something that is far removed from normal reality, [holds] power or process of creating especially unrealistic or improbable mental images in response to psychological need’. An example of Fantasy from this narrative was an expectation of fitting right in to the new city, never getting lost, making friends right away, adjusting to the climate seamlessly and interacting with the residents easily, finding a great place to live and working at a great job.
Yet, you were committed to your new home environment and willing to seek out help during the transition. After 3 years, you’re now at ease with all aspects of your city and living a grateful and productive life.
- How do you work with change?
- What was this experience like for you?
- What ideas did it generate?
- Describe the energy that was generated?
- As you became accustomed to living in a new city, how did you change?
- What patterns emerged for you?
- What would you do differently if you had to move again?
- What single word evoked connection with you or spoke to you?
Just as we grow and change throughout life, relocate into a new living environment and change careers, clients too may seek us out for assistance with complex career transitions into Leadership roles. Coaching can bridge the gap between an imagined and real career. This values clarification and perspective transformation Coaching Tool: Reality vs. Fantasy will help clients visualize their new identity by creating awareness, movement to transform their imaginary hopes into achievable goal of moving into a nursing educator role from nursing clinician role.
Vivian was a successful Nurse Clinician. Since graduating 8 years ago, she’s taught individual regulated and non-regulated health care provider and the student nurses from time-to-time. She had met a few educators and they commented on how well they thought she taught and encouraged her to try teaching. Vivian felt she had much expertise to contribute to her students and sensed she would enjoy this career change.
She loved the idea of being a Nurse Educator and accepted an invitation from the local School of Nursing to move into this Leadership Role. As a novice educator, she faced many new responsibilities that significantly differed from those of an experienced clinician. This introduced major change in her work life. Her new role meant establishing new relationships with her employer and the provincial regulating body, adjusting to the significant increase in work load with regard to student assignments, due dates and evaluation processes. She wondered, ‘What was my pedagogical philosophy? How would I establish good working relationships between my new employer – the School of Nursing – and the clinical practice site? What teaching tools would I use? What methods would I use to keep track of student learning, performance and evaluation activities?’
Her new role not only meant brining in her extensive knowledge and skills as a clinician, but also meant having to let go of some of her most rewarding nursing experiences. She could no longer enjoy the same level of engagement or spend as much time with clients and families. She had to let go of her trusted team mates and she felt sad because this had been a most rewarding area of her career.
As a result, Vivian felt increasingly overwhelmed and concerned about client safety. She realized that she did not have the capability to manage a clinical group. She became fearful and began to doubt her choice to teach. She realized that her ideas of the nurse educator did not match the reality that she now found herself in. Living in the realm of Fantasy meant holding an image of herself based on her experiences as a clinician, yet this new role did not reflect her reality. This cognitive dissonance disturbed her.
Career Coaching is the ideal process for supporting clients such as Vivian through the transition period between roles so that she could realize her important career goal of becoming an educator. Coaching can assist her to release blocks and help transform her perspective. As coaches, it is not uncommon for us to coach clients from within our own areas of work and so it is vital to keep clear boundaries by honouring the client’s own discoveries instead of telling them how to change, in this situation, how to teach.