A Coaching Power Tool Created by Meriham Ghazal
(Youth & Career Coach, EGYPT)
Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves. Henry David Thoreau
In our lives, we continuously try to balance the “being” and “doing” part of our behaviors and actions. Whether consciously or not, the struggle between being and doing follows us throughout our lives and being aware of both these aspects is something that can bring more balance to our lives, and more serenity to our actions and attitude.
Being– the state of existing, the most important or basic part of a person’s mind or self
Doing– the act of making something happen through your own actions
But before I get into this powerful tool, I would like to share first some of the backgrounds to why I chose this one in particular – It been quite some time now that I’ve been struggling to choose a power tool that I personally relate to and that touches my coaching approach as well as my clients.
Doing has been the mode of my entire life, since youth, the way I was raised and the culture around me as well as the corporate life I’ve been part of for more than 20 years has created that style of life
Fixed on doing/achieving results through; Delivering targets, meeting objectives, taking kids to train’s, cooking, meeting up friends & family….etc And this has also extended to the way I started coaching, I started focusing on the outcome in the form of actions, this was of higher importance in my mind& would come earlier in the discussion than focusing on helping my client to discover their SELF (Being), their underlying beliefs and help them in the journey & shifting their perspective.
The being was just diluted in these day-to-day activities and responsibilities one is held responsible/accountable for.
The awareness of oneself was absent, the ability to imagine what I would like to Be was also absent.
In one of the coaching sessions, I was asked this question “How do I feel right now? In my body or my being, this has changed my whole perspective about myself, and who I really want to be rather than asking myself every day “When will I do this or what do I need to do now? This is how I settled on this power tool as it allowed me to discover what excites me the most when I am in the coaching session, with this change in perspective I was able to open up a lot of doors for myself as a human being and as a coach.
And so this is what I would like to help my clients discover as well.
Doing involves taking action. While we are in a state of doing we are performing a certain action that has the purpose of gaining something. The state of “Doing” is outward-looking, as it requires us to interact with our environment and other people to achieve a certain goal. It shifts our focus from ourselves to our surroundings, to other people and other elements in our lives. It is centered on the future and is driven by thinking.
In modern times, “Doing” is getting a lot more attention than “Being”, since it’s considered very positive to gain things, and add additional value to our lives, by performing actions that add that value.
A lot of cultures today put a lot of emphasis on “Doing”, It’s important to keep busy, to be on our way to somewhere, and to have a clear agenda on things. A constant state of activity creates more wants and needs, and in essence, it is a process that fuels itself, unless checked!
Being is a state that takes us back to a simple existence. This state is focused inward, and it involves greater awareness of our own being. This state is focused on the present moment, and allows reflection and thought of things that happen, rather than trying to affect the flow of events, and deliberately changing the outcome.
Although the “Being” state may be associated with passiveness, it’s not to be confused with laziness. The state of “being” requires work on our part. Although it is intuitive to reach it, the lifestyle we are living&the fast pace made it more difficult to reach.
A simple visualization exercise to prove this:
Just try to focus all of your attention on the screen in front of you without thinking of something else, for 3 minutes.
“How Does That Feel”?
“What thoughts came to mind”?
This difficulty exists because the state of “Being” requires us to actively monitor our thoughts, and exercise a certain detachment from our surroundings, while the modern lifestyle keeps us busy and always doing stuff.
Because the state of being is calm and reflective in nature, when we apply it to our daily lives, it may present new insights on topics and areas, which we didn’t quite see before.
Human doings instead of human beings
Although there is nothing wrong with “Doing” and taking action, flipping the balance to one side of the being doing scale, may cause unwanted side effects.
Waking up each day to go to the office, dropping the kids to school, working endless hours in a demanding workplace, only to come home exhausted and having to deal with the chores that the home requires. This leaves one hour, at best, at the end of the day for us to sit back and relax, at which point we are so tired, that all we want to do is just go to bed, only to wake up tomorrow for another day like this. Sounds familiar?
The modern world keeps us constantly in the state of “Doing”. The current technology keeps us always connected and online. Using our phones, laptops, and other devices, we are always reachable 24/7. Most of us became frenzied workers that keep reaching our phones, checking e-mails, and glancing at our tablets to see if anything new happened yet.
Why is that?
Why do we have an urge to keep doing it all the time?
Did we confuse being and doing to a point where we think that doing is being?
When we are in a constant state of doing, we may lose track of the big picture of our lives. When we burden ourselves with the day-to-day actions that must be performed, we sometimes feel we are operating like rats on a wheel or automatons.
The state of enabling us to stop for a minute and think of our direction. It enables us to reflect on our actions, and direct our efforts towards our goals, to achieve them most efficiently. When we don’t stop and think of our actions, it may create unguided and empty actions, that might keep us busy, but would only serve to drain our energy and leave us feeling empty.
In short, endless doing, without any guidance and outside perspective of our actions, would not only drain us of energy but might also take us further from our goals, rather than get us closer to them. This guidance and perspective can be obtained, when we stop for a minute and ask ourselves “what is the purpose of our actions”? Am I doing what I’m doing just because I’m used to it, or is there a larger goal in mind?
What’s the coach’s role?
As coaches, we need to practice ourselves in which we might help others discover. Through self-discovery we may uncover underlying beliefs and assumptions within ourselves that we were unaware of and, with this new insight, be better equipped to sense underlying assumptions that our clients might be holding that we can help them shed light upon.
How do we help the client?
The goal is to help the client in the being to move to the doing and achieve the goals that match who they want to be and sustain that achievement. In some cases clients are determined of what the goal is that they want to achieve and can achieve it, however, in some other cases it’s not about the goal achievement, but it’s more about changing habits or behaviors and in that case working towards goal setting and action plan may not lead to that transformation or change– hence the exploration of the being.
We Could use mindfulness exercise with the client at the beginning of the coaching session to bring calmness & stillness and connect with the self, the client can then become more in tune with his / her authentic self and have the necessary detachment to take wise and well-thought decisions.
Visualization can also be used by asking the client to imagine “ Who the ideal person he/she wants to become”? with asking this question a lot of images comes to mind of how the ideal person looks like, and with the end picture comes the barriers or blockages as underlying believes that this is a difficult or impossible point to reach or maybe we were not meant to be!!
As we do this and uncover those layers, we gain confidence in our ability to transform; to become who we want to be, and through this confidence, the client would be better positioned in their own transformation journey.
- Who is the ideal you?
- What underlying beliefs or assumptions are keeping you from being
- How can you become the ideal you?
- What’s holding you back?
- What baby steps can you take to become the ideal you?
- What support structures that can help you?