A Coaching Power Tool Created by Sophie Huot
(Life Coach, FRANCE)
The Oxford dictionary gives the following definition of Authenticity:
Of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine
The Cambridge dictionary says that Authenticity is:
The quality of being real or true
Regarding Compliance, Cambridge dictionary says:
The act of obeying an order, rule, request. The state of being too willing to do what other people want you to do.
From the day we are born, whatever the innate gifts, abilities, and characteristics we received, we are also shaped by the education we receive, the culture we live in, the community that surrounds us, the experiences we come across with, the beliefs held by people we love, admire or have an authority on us.
Somehow, numerous behaviors, beliefs and thoughts, are so ingrained in our self that we don’t question them anymore.
On top of that, naturally, our friends and our family tend to see us in a black and white way. We have to be easily readable and understandable. As a consequence, we may feel reduced to the simplest, less complicated version of our self.
As an example, I saw a therapist for 10 years, and even if my therapy is over for more that 15 years now, my friends keep on making jokes about how I have paid my therapist’s country house all by myself. Of course it makes me laugh, but to what extend does it show how much reluctant we are to see people change and evolve? To what extend do we want them to remain the one we have always known?
Then, being able to sort out from our behaviors, decisions, goals, even values, which ones come “undisputedly” “genuinely” from us, can be pretty challenging. And even more challenging can be, to impose that you are a living individual, who may change, get out of his comfort zone, and make surprising decisions.
And yet, being authentic, be aware of who we really are, be aware of what we really want is a game changer.
It takes courage, and self-confidence to resist to the look of consternation, disappointment, or even disapprobation on other people’s face.
Nevertheless, living with authenticity means to live a life free from internal conflicts, free of this confusing feeling to walk beside our shoes. It is a way to regain all this energy we were spending to try to be someone else, and use it to reach goals that belong to us.
All this energy we can now use to head up toward a new life, aligned with who we genuinely are.
Let Go The Chase For Perfectionism
Living a life with authenticity is also to let go with all the injunctions to be perfect. And these injunctions can be contradictory and overwhelming: you have to be a perfect mother, dedicated to your children, but you still have to be a good wife, meaning finding time to be a caring, loving, sexy wife. Though, you also have to be an outstanding professional, dedicated to your job, you have to be self-confident but not arrogant… the list is endless.
Being Authentic Means Questioning:
- Our own identity;
- The box our loved ones may trap us into;
- The community and society expectations and injunctions.
Erin has been raised by a non-sportive mother. She can remember her mother saying, “you’re just like me, we don’t like sport, but anyway what really matters is to be clever and well-educated”. Then, she followed her mother path. She grew up spending most of her time in any kind of cultural activities.
She has never questioned the fact that she might actually like sport and take pleasure from it. Therefore, physical education at school was a nightmare, she was always the last one to be picked to field the team, she felt uncomfortable and vulnerable, she took any excuses not to go.
Years passed and she kept on ignoring her body, totally focused on filling her mind.
At the age of 40 year’s old, the idea of having a physical activity started to emerge enhanced by several factors. Being a mother pushed her to realize the importance of staying in a good shape, she realized that she couldn’t do outdoor activities with her kids without feeling out of breath.
And she started to feel that the lack of connection between her mind and her body was impacting her, especially when she read this quote:
you have to love and respect your body, for your soul to desire to stay in.
Changing her perspective on sport, and get rid of the little voice inside her head which said that she was really bad at sport, was a massive effort. Beyond her usual speech on sport, how pointless it was, she has always felt ashamed of not doing any sport. Carrying her mother’s belief has been a huge cause of internal conflict, and a source of lack of confidence.
So she decided to start running, but she didn’t give so much thought about it, because every body was running around her and was pushing her toward this activity.
But, even if she was really committed to change, she couldn’t run on a regular basis. Again, her self-confidence crashed and she beat herself down for not having the willingness to run.
She couldn’t connect with the fact that she found running boring, she was just connected with her failure. And this feeling of failure enhanced all the bad feelings she already had.
Hopefully, one of her friend took her to a yoga classes, and it has been an epiphany. This sport resonated to her; it was driven by a spiritual mindset where the body and the soul are embedded. She felt stronger, energized and focused. Since then, she goes to yoga classes twice a week no matter what.
Erin has experienced authenticity. She has stopped complying to her mother injunction “ Sport is meaningless, we don’t like sport”, then to another statement “ you should run, it is the best sport for you”, and she finally questioned her own inner voice“ I have never been a sportive girl, I don’t have any willingness”.
Most of the time, afterward we are able to recognize that we knew that this solution was not the right for us, that “something” felt wrong, then the challenge is to be able listen to this very low voice, to listen to our guts.
The acuity of our intuition is now scientifically proven. Our quick, instinctual and often subconscious way of operating is controlled by our right brain and by other parts of our brain that have been around since prehistoric times, known as limbic and reptilian parts of our brain.
The practice of mindfulness can be very helpful to pause and pay attention to our intuition.
Because it is a challenging but safe place, the coaching process itself will help the client to let his/her truth arise.The ability to create a trustworthy relationship is paramount to the success of the coaching process. The coach needs to create a space where the client can experiment who he/she is with a neutral but supportive presence. The coach will stand by his/her client whatever emerges from the coaching.
The coach will invite the client to formulate multiple options, in order to broaden the scope of possibilities.
The coach will have to discern through a shift in the tone of voice/the posture/the behaviors, when the client speaks with his/her very own personal, intimate voice, and acknowledge him/her when it happens.
The coach will help the client, through probing and challenging questions, to reveal the internal conflicts, to bring up to the consciousness some automatic thoughts or behaviors.
Through coaching, Erin could have been asked:
- What does it mean to be sportive?
- How can you know you are not sportive?
- What would that means about yourself if tomorrow you exercise on a regular basis?
- What do you want to believe?
- Who do you want to be?
Because actions feed thoughts and vice versa, once the client will have experienced how it feels to be authentic and aligned, it will build his/her confidence to go further.