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No one needs coaching.
I do not think coaching is a must for anyone.
Yet, the number of coaches and people who demand for coaching services has increased exponentially during the last years and even more after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. At least one in 10 people I interact with respond to me, “Oh, sure, I already have a coach.”
Few days ago, I was talking with fervour to a friend about my coaching practice when she cut me short, “That is all interesting, but I do not need coaching!” And surprisingly, I had to agree with her, “No, I don’t think you need it.”
Let’s face it, life coaching is a relatively new profession, about 25 years old, although many people are still to learn about it. Our parents and grandparents and their parents have lived all their lives without coaching, and they were fine. So we think.
But yet again, our quotidian compared to that of our grandparents, even that of our parents, has changed dramatically in terms of the amount of information we are exposed to and number of people we interact with every day, bringing along a wealth of possibilities that our ancestors did not have. And with that, much more choices to make.
Information scientists have measured that, “In 2011 Americans took in fives times as much information every day as they did in 1986.” (Daniel J. Levitin, The Organised Mind) The emergence of the first commercial flights in 1920 shrunk the globe, and with that increased tremendously the number of people one person interacts with every day.
Statistics say that the average number of total flights per day in March, 2019, was more than 200,000 worldwide and about 2.2 billion people boarded yearly, before Covid. Add to this the number of interactions we make every day through the internet and other telecommunication devices.
The point is, the number of possibilities and choices to be made every day, every minute, and every second is mind-blowing. But the capacity of our brain to process information and make informed choices has not increased, and we are bound by a “processing limit of 120 bits per second” (our current brain processing capacity), which means “you can barely understand two people talking to you at the same time.” (Daniel J. Levitin, The Organised Mind)
It is also well-known that our subconscious mind is capable of processing much more information than the conscious mind. Levitin adds, “While a great deal occurs below the threshold of our awareness, and this has an impact on how we feel and what our life is going to be like, in order for something to become encoded as part of your experience, you need to have paid conscious attention to it.”
Willingly or unwillingly, this wealth of information is making its way to our minds (both conscious and unconscious mind), and it impacts us—not always in the way we want it to.
That is because we lack the capacity to filter and process the abundance of information coming our way and to pay conscious attention to what is important to us while discarding trivial information.
Life coaching can fill in this gap by helping us to bring more awareness to what is important for us, to what really makes us fulfilled and what does not, what are our possibilities and our boundaries, and therefore become better equipped to make choices that serve us. By investing two hours per month of hour time, we will actually save time and energy by cutting down on things and actions that are not important to us and by directing and investing our energy into what truly matters.
Only by bringing more awareness to our choices and by limiting the amount of unconscious “knowing” can we really say that we are free and are masters of our lives because “though a complex of factors, our conscious self-concept almost always diverges to a greater of lesser degree from the reality of the person we actually are. We are almost always either less or more competent than we believe ourselves to be.” (M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Travelled)
My favourite tool of coactive coaching is the assumption that “people are naturally creative, resourceful, and whole.” While to many people this statement may sound rather esoteric and you might find it difficult to see your rude, dumb-looking, newly rich neighbour as “resourceful and whole,” throughout my coaching experience, I have seen people blossoming under my eyes and ready to take on challenges they never thought themselves capable of, just because I honestly believed they could.
Once we start peeling off, one after the other, layers of self-doubt and self-judgment, layers of fear and guilt, the real beautiful person from underneath all these layers emerges and I am each time astonished by the transformation. It is almost never the same and never like anything I expected.
But coaching is also about acknowledging those parts we like less about ourselves and exposing them; it is about going into those places inside of us that hurt the most. And this takes tremendous courage and commitment. Emotional suffering can be excruciating, and we are so well trained to avoid it; moreover, today, we have more available “toys” than ever before that will help us avoid the pain of questioning ourselves and our convictions.
For me, the most difficult idea to grasp and to accept about myself was that my strong will and my reliable, gorgeous mind would not get me everything I wanted in life, and I needed instead to learn and navigate the nebulous and unreliable realm of emotions, especially since I was totally unacquainted with their language.
Being masters of our own life also implies taking full responsibility for it and stopping blaming others and blaming circumstances. Complacence into the sweetness of victimhood—we are innocent and righteous persons and bad things are outside us—is no longer an option. And this again takes courage and strength.
Frankly, it takes a hell of courage to take an honest look at our naked selves, at microscope level, and see ourselves as we really are.
But the freedom we feel when being totally and unapologetically ourselves is priceless, and it is our gift from God, from the universe.
I invite you to ponder on these ideas for a while! And please do write me for a free coaching sample or simply to share your ideas on the topic.