Explorations, Learning & Insights
During “The Shadow Gifts” workshop and until the second coaching session, RD used to be dressed in masculine looks (in cuts & styling) pants, topped with over flowing vaguely cut shirts. Her hairstyle looked unkempt. She was averse to wearing jewellery or any other feminine embellishments (and there can be quite a few in Indian way of dressing).
In all she gave the looks of a hard, no non-sense, tough person, who rarely smiled and when she did, she would immediately restore her tight upper lip appearance as soon as she became aware of her fleetingly leaked smile. Here is a brief overview of her learning & insights …
Goal 1 … Understand the process underlying her feeling like a little scared girl inside beneath her confident, successful professional persona
She became aware of her unconscious introjection of the several parental injunctions that she had received and imbibed from her father
She had several complaints towards her father, which owing to her compliant relationship with him, she was unable to explore directly with him. As a result she tended to misplace her repressed anger towards him on her mother-in-law who in her words was
curbing my space with her intrusive presence.
Slowly she was able to notice and accept that her mother-in-law, though still possessive about her son (RD’s husband) , had over a period of time had become quite gentle, supportive and appreciative of RD. she used to often talk boastfully in her circles about RD, praising her talent and capability. But blinded by her un-understood & repressed anger towards her father which RD was able to transfer onto her mother-in-law, she could not notice her motherin- law’s positive presence in her life.
As she realized and understood all this, she could recognize her inner feeling of little scared girl , as the strong residual from her childhood. She became aware of her tendency to wear a tough, stern, professional woman’s persona only to deny & hide her scared little girl reality to herself.
Goal 2 … Understand and work upon her irritable and critical self
She became aware of the reality that all these years she had been performing and achieving not because it pleased or affirmed her own self, but because she was unconsciously carrying a sense of obligation to do this to keep proving herself to be worthy child.
In the process, somewhere she never thought of her capability and talent as something that defined her worth as an individual.
She recalled how as a child she used to love doodling, sketching and colouring. But out of her father’s (who thought all these to be waste of time for a girl of her scholastic caliber) fear, she could never do all these. Slowly as she began to reclaim her lost/blurred self, she began to sketch again.
After every coaching session, she wrote her learning journal more in pictorial terms than in words. Post first two sessions, her sketches and paintings of her own self were strikingly different from how she actually dressed & looked. She was inspired by her own paintings and slowly over the next four sessions, every time she re-invented her looks and by the end , she looked a dramatically transformed glamorous woman, embellished with aesthetically accessorized jewellery, bags, and soft make-up.
She understood that her assumed persona of tough woman to deny or hide (more to her own self than to the world) the scared little girl inside, had caused the unintended damage of ruining her feminine self. Slowly with patient engagement with herself, she regenerated the woman in her, appreciating, affirming and celebrating her womanhood with a new flattering hair-style, make-up, jewellery etc. on the outside, but more importantly , a caring daughter-in-law, indulgent wife, forgiving mother and a self-appreciative person on the inside.
Client’s Insight, Actions & Transformation … RD has worked with herself with faith, hope and commitment. Her insights as explained above were adequately taken to the actioning stage, where she persevered and kept at herself.
Her transformation is evident from her …
significantly altered demeanor … from tough, questioning tone to soft, engaging voice
acceptant and compassionate attitude … in contrast to her analytical, critical and over-bearing approach, in the past
growing patience and keenness to understand … becoming more responsive from her previous aggressive-reactive behavior
u relishing her soft, beautiful, feminine self … her paintings of herself show a phenomenal shift from a corporate à elegant à over-done à tastefully glamourous woman
accepting her daughter as her role-model … role-reversal from being a telling mother
taking her mother-in-law and sister-in-law on a short piligrimage, as a token of her appreciation and gratitude for “my mother-in-law’s patience and large-heartedness all these years, while I was being unduly stony towards her” (her words)
visiting her father and offering to drive him to his native village, for rekindling his long-lost emotional connect
recently announcing a ‘Divine Woman Inside’ workshop, which I intend to attend as a participant
Emergence Of The Client
At the start of the coaching process, RD had depicted herself as a ‘caterpillar’ as her archetypal metaphor. Her story revealed a painful memory from her history. During her childhood, her family lived in a big bungalow in the industrial township of the company where her father worked at senior position. The huge open piece of land at the back of their bungalow used to sometime have unregulated greenery coming up, attracting all kinds of insects and small creature. Their family servants also lived in a corner of that plot. RD’s father had forbidden his children from going to that plot, because
(i) hewanted them to be safely away from insects etc. ,
(ii) more importantly, he wanted them to not mingle with servants’ wards. But RD used to sometimes venture there when her father was not at home. Once during one such sneaking out, RD happened to pick and eat a caterpillar mistaking it to be a shahtoot (mulberry). This made her fall sick and she had to be treated by a doctor. Upon becoming alright, her father gave her a severe punishment to deter her, once and for all, from disobeying him.
This is the episode that had left her feeling like a scared little girl inside. Her reflection and insight on this was that the caterpillar (the little RD, in her view) had been crushed almost to death. But it did not die. Moving away from blame, she chose to take the responsibility to metamorphose into a butterfly. Now that she has, I so loved her emergence as the colourful, fluttering, self-flatteringly adorned butterfly, what with her transformed new appearance as a soft, glamorous woman (moving away from how she used to look, talk, behave stony and manly). This truly is a story of ‘caterpillar to butterfly’ transformation.
Way Forward for Client
The coaching journey at first phase with RD got over in last week of June 2013. She intends to come back in October 2013 to take more coaching on her “next higher goals”.
Insights For Myself As Coach
This coaching experience has been immensely gratifying and insightful for me as Coach. This has reinforced my interest in deep transformative coaching and enhanced my confidence as a transformational coach. My significant insights include the following …
It all begins with myself … to be able to facilitate deep transformative coaching, It is helpful for me to be in touch with my own deep processes and emerging emotions in the coaching process, acknowledge them and gently let them pass
Maintaining a safe, confidential and ethically correct climate is the first imperative for client’s meaningful exploration
Creating a facilitative coaching space and coaching presence is the hallmark of deep transformative coaching
My intuitive sensing in the moment adds value to my coaching presence
I am satisfied with my listening, clarifying and paraphrasing … I would continue enhancing it further
My repertoire of power tools is rich, yet I don’t feel the urge to necessarily use one, until coaching space is receptive & coaching process is ready for it
My questions need to have more power & impact
I need to enhance my ability to hold silence … at times, I observed myself feeling the urge to fill the silent space with unnecessary chatter … I need to mindfully work at this aspect