A Coaching Power Tool created by Sarah Mills
(Health, Wellness and Fitness Coach, SOUTH AFRICA )
Describe context in which this arises/Reading/Case Study:
Within many challenges we face, there is an element of change. This change creates fear within us, fear which triggers a response. We either face the change or we run from it. In that moment we are presented with a choice, often the choice between peace and confrontation. Choosing the peace to stay with the familiar or choosing to confront the lesson that the change brings. This is the short term instance response that marks a decision point which shapes who you are and where you’re going.
Choosing peace is comfortable, familiar and easy. Peace is our safety net, our reliance on habit and that which we have done before. We are drawn to choose peace because it is the path of least resistance. In one sense, peace is a form of meditation, a haven of calm that provides a serene space in which to heal. However, there comes a time when peace no longer serves us in a positive manner. At that point, we need to move into action through a form of confrontation.
Confrontation is generally seen in a negative light, as an aggressive and destructive force. In many cases confrontation comes as an emotional reaction, rather than a rational decision. Choosing to confront a situation is a challenge in itself. It requires confidence, self-assurance and a calm mind. In this way, confrontation needs peace in order to function in a positive manner.
The manner in which this power tool is used is as a balance-checking mechanism, determining the nature of a person’s relationship with him or herself. In personal development, this is important because any benefits which coaching hopes to bring, rely on the client being able to form a good relationship with him or herself.
Since both peace and confrontation occur in almost everything people face, they are aspects within us which need to be addressed. Too much peace can lead to stagnation, and too much confrontation can lead to destruction. However there are times when both peace and confrontation serve as balancing forces when stagnation and destruction threaten our well-being.
Identifying peace and confrontation within yourself is one of the key components of meditation. The coaching process is much like a verbalised process of meditation during which you focus on the moment and bring about awareness. Holding a balance between peace and confrontation, or using either as a balancing mechanism can be integrated into both personal meditation and the facilitation of coaching sessions.
Tuning into your emotions through relaxing and focusing on your breathing, whilst clearing your mind is the first step to tapping into your inner awareness. This inner awareness contains the information on your belief systems, habits, reactions, motivation and many other elements of the self. From this meditative state you will be able to reflect, understand and make adjustments according to your goals.
The importance of maintaining a personal balance between peace and confrontation is highlighted in situations requiring self-discipline, stress-release, self-management and other vital fight-or-flight moments. Having this balance also allows you to manage your energy levels, set a healthy pace and form responsible accountability for yourself. These are all necessary to be a coach, and are definitely helpful when achieving things on your own path.
Some questions that you might ask yourself would be:
- Does this feel right for me on every level or do I need to learn more?
- Is this aligned with my values and priorities or do I need to reassess?
- Will facing this take me closer to my goal?
- How much will this endeavour cost me and will it be sustainable?
- How reliant am I on the outcome of this situation?
- Am I able to let go of the things I cannot control?
- Would fighting this make me feel peaceful?
- When faced with a personal development challenge, what is your initial reaction?
- Whether you search out peace or seek to confront the challenge, what attitude do you carry with you?
- This attitude is tied into your belief about the nature of change. How could you use this power tool to shift the balance between peace and confrontation in order to create changes you want?
- Coaching application
Clients can be walked through visualisation techniques in order to gain inner awareness. This is naturally part of the coaching process. However, when using the peace vs confrontation tool, setting the client up with inner peace early on makes it easier for them to manage tougher challenges. For example, the client will encounter some level of discomfort when they are pushing themselves towards their goals. This may trigger many defence mechanisms and also have them resorting to habitual behaviour as a means of fighting or escape from their discomfort.
When the client is able to understand this inner conflict through developing inner peace, confronting challenges will be less of a deadlocked battle with themselves and more of a process that they can see themselves working through. This may be particularly prominent in stubborn and fearful clients whose natural inclination is to postpone or procrastinate.
Asking the client to draw awareness to their reluctance, their block against this change, can be helpful. Exploring the emotions and thoughts surrounding their reaction to change is also useful. Clients benefit from verbalizing their fears and thoughts because it clears their mind so that they can move forward. In a sense, talking about what has been holding them back can lead on to the next questions which will unlock what they’re really trying to convey or understand.
Moving a client to a place of peace can also be helpful when they need to let go or move on. Helping them to confront their current situation can also provide the forward momentum that gives them a sense of release. Allowing clients to explore their inner workings gives them the advantage of being able to strengthen their abilities as they put them to the test. Having got them to a place of peace gives them an alliance with themselves, so to say, that builds their independence and allows them to confront whatever they need to.
Some questions you may ask clients:
- What will you need to let go of to feel peaceful?
- What is the source of this conflict between?
- How much are you willing to give up to make space for the new things?
- Is this conflict draining you more than it provides you?
- What do you feel you are losing?
- How could you surround yourself with a sense of peace?
- Describe your fear in a picture.
- How will this power tool enable clients to take control?
- In what way would you positively convey to a difficult client that they are the one sabotaging their own development? How can you bring about a proactive commitment response from the client?
- How can you help your clients to transfer their strength from one area of their life to another so that they feel fully integrated into themselves?