I recalled this story, in the context of life’s conditioned quest of looking for answers elsewhere, not realizing that the mental conditioning over a long period of time, disenables one to look for answers which very much reside within. Most times, one requires basic curiosity to question oneself deeply to extricate and discover that there was not anything complex about it in the first place, but certain other factors of life seemingly impose blinders and filters, providing one with the tinted glasses. Therefore all that is required is to reframe perspectives and believe in the Power of Questions and let go!
This narrative also brings up the revelations that there is no rocket science for lifting human endeavors and unblocking limiting beliefs, for resolving life’s issues and concerns. It is just that one need to switch from helplessness to helpfulness, by oneself and the Coach in his/her role, can facilitate this to happen and support the Client to accomplish breakthroughs, hitherto either deferred/ignored or not attempted!
The way Coaching journey began…..
We had an initial rapport building session as a prelude to the Coaching exercise. During this dialogue, we shared essential and respective aspects of our background and some important life defining moments. This dialogue paved the way for establishing an initial connection between us, which reasonably set up a good platform for us to move ahead smoothly.
We shared our anxieties in building the Coaching relationship. What helped us was also clarification of expectations between us, as we hold the distinct roles of being a Coach and a Client, while going forward.
Ethical Guidelines, Professional Standards of Conduct were communicated by me in the first session. There were a few queries of the Client like the need for such guidelines and standards and as to how it would help him, which were addressed by me and in turn he felt assured to begin the Coaching relationship. I also clarified the need for Establishing a Coaching Agreement about the Coaching process and the relationship boundaries. Guidelines with respect to logistics and mutual expectations of each other were also elucidated so that there is no ambiguity about the Coaching Process and the likely methods revolving around exploration, reflection and open dialogues were also spoken about.
Aspects relating to distinctions between Coaching and seemingly allied fields like consulting, psychotherapy and counseling were also explained. A fair amount of understanding was reached although I added that improved understanding will evolve as sessions progress. This enabled me and Ramesh to reach a concurrence that in the pure Coaching relationship that we would embark on, it would be clearly Client centered and the Coach would at no point provide any prescriptions, solutions to solve the issues which the Client would present and further that the Coach’s role would be essentially to hold a mirror for the Client, ask open ended questions, seek reflection and in the process allow the Client to identify and implement solutions that normally resides within them, which would surface by way of alternatives and action plans, while the Coaching process is adhered to.
Although in every subsequent Coaching sessions, the norm of confidentiality was reiterated, it was first explained in detail in the preliminary session, rendering adequate assurance that whatever is discussed and revealed by the Client would remain absolutely confidential, in the interest of the Client’s growth and future and also keeping in mind the sensitivity, as there is a likelihood of him sharing instances and concerns of his life to me in the role of a Coach, which didn’t find an opportunity, need or context of revealing to others in his life. This preliminary step enabled me to Establish Trust and Intimacy with the Client. This left Ramesh in a state of confidence and he expressed that as we sail along in our conversations, as trust would only enhance by further experiences. Looking back at this stage, I realized that I became more responsible to demonstrate utmost integrity, honesty and sincerity for the Clients wellbeing and future development. I realized that I’m gaining an extra resolve within myself to provide the ongoing support.
Moving ahead with increased trust…..
During the first session, I perceived the Client to be slightly inhibited and tentative due to certain anxieties which he later expressed, as to how the real session would take off and eventually be helpful. It was at this juncture that I took a few deep breaths to be more centered and commenced the need within me to foster higher levels of Coaching Presence. Actually I struggled and figured out that it is easier said than done, as it turned out to be more difficult than what I expected. In the moment, I chose to expand the opening conversations to be more informal about how the week and the month went for him. I experienced when he started sharing about some happenings, it eased him and helped ease myself too. There was some amount of lightness that crept in also by way of we touching upon humor, which contributed to more informality in the dialogue and the relationship per se. There was a sense of relief and relaxation that flowed in for both of us. This really helped him and definitely me too, to move onto the rest of the more important agenda relating to the process. In fact, I later asked him permission whether to go ahead and he replied in the affirmative.
Now seeking to facilitate the initial dive…..
After laying aside some of the initial blocks and inhibitions, Ramesh started pouring out a concern relating to his health caused by the pollutants in the city that he lived and how tough he found It difficult in the mornings, which as a consequence has a heavy impact on his abilities to remain balanced with family folks and colleagues, his challenges of not being able to be fully focused at work, his deep frustration around the health issue, although he admitted it was a conscious choice that he took for career sake, to relocate to the very same city that he otherwise liked, because of certain reasons. As he kept narrating his concerns I confess my mind and heart were partly traveling with him and at other times, I was preoccupied with my own thoughts and a need cropped up rapidly to help out giving my recommendations. When I sounded some of the genuine ways of redeeming himself from the physical problem, I hit a roadblock when those were butted by him. I for one got in touch with the inadequacy and insecurity that I was coming up with, as my listening levels dropped though inadvertently, in the guise of helping him. It took a hard look within myself, questioning why am I not listening fully and where is this need to make him realize from my point of view that the problem can be easily solved.
When I understood that the conversation at that time wasn’t going anywhere, I decided to pause [admit also based on the direct feedback from the Client] and indulge in Active Listening. This is when I turned on my intuitive button to apologize for the interruptions and asked him to continue sharing more. This really helped albeit it posed a tough challenge, to give up and let go on my ways of being and to squarely face that it is my issue and definitely not the Client’s, when I tended to push my agenda. When I requested him to elicit in his own expectations from the session, he talked about the need for him to have clarity as to what to do and how to approach in developing reflections and alternatives, to help himself make more proactive attempts to resolve and put the concern, to rest.
Some light at the end of the tunnel…..
The rest of the first session that followed the initial hiccups, went pretty smoothly. Ramesh rapidly moved on to discover that there are some very simple yet important precautions that he need to implement in full rigor and clarified to me that the session was very useful and met his stated outcomes, reasonably well. I was also pleasantly surprised as to how some of the open ended questions sans interruptions helped him to also work on the dimension of self pity that he was placing himself into. He admitted that he felt less confusion in his mind and more positively reinforced and not to allow the sickness to affect him, as much hitherto. This made me very happy and when I acknowledged this effort of his, he expressed being more determined and thanked me for the journey thus far. This was definitely a aha moment for me, because he was able to extricate himself out of the low motivation levels, irritation, depressing outlook and the disappointment he carried, which was essentially destroying his quality time with his family.