Some clients like their coaching experience to touch all areas of their lives. Other clients prefer to restrict the coaching to specific areas. This may be for many reasons and is part of the design of the relationship right at the start. Of course, I honour this request when clients ask for it. After all, the client is in complete control of the coaching process. The client is responsible for the results and outcomes he/ she gets from the coaching journey. This view gives focus and clarity. It may make it easier to keep the coaching process restricted to a limited number of sessions. For those who are looking for on- going or open- ended coaching, the freedom to explore all areas of the client’s life brings other benefits.
Open Ended Coaching
For those clients that open their whole lives to the coaching experience, there is a huge amount of growth that can come from seeing how behaviour in one area of a client’s life is replicated in other areas of their life. This observation allows them to see how that habit may or may not be serving them in a broader context. This can offer powerful insights.
One client for example noticed early in the coaching journey that he allowed himself to be derailed by other people’s agendas. He got himself into financial difficulty because friends insisted on spending more money than he could afford on social activities. He allowed himself to be persuaded and derailed from his financial plan to get out of debt and kept falling into the trap.
Much later in the coaching journey, he noticed that this derailing pattern appeared throughout his life. Once he noticed it and knew he could resolve it in one area of his life, he was confident he could do it in others. He took the understanding, learning and empowerment from his financial situation and started applying it to other areas. He overcame this pattern in almost every section of his Wheel of Life- health, work, friends and family, relationships, fun and education.
Learning is Transferable
He did it by gaining clarity on what he felt was the priority for him in those social situations. Yes, going out with friends was important, but to restrict that interaction for the sake of financial control and independence was more important. He felt he wanted to explain this to his friends. He had underlying fears of being seen as boring or irresponsible as well as rejection from the people he loved. By holding to his principles and values he felt better about himself. He was better able to stick to his plan and enjoy himself when he did socialise. The fear and anxiety were gone. He applied this principle of priority clarification in other areas of his life and found that his confidence, determination, relaxation and self- respect all improved.
I have heard many teachers make this observation. “The way you do it is the way you do it,” says Richard Rohr, while T. Harv Eker says, “The way you do anything is the way you do everything.” I think this is so true, and it is powerful to notice these repeating patterns in your own life both as a sign of where you can improve and to see where your strengths lie.
For myself I am a procrastinator. I will put things off because I think I am too busy to deal with them or I think I have the time to look at them later. Sometimes I just don’t want to deal with them. The thing is they pile up and then I feel overwhelmed. Then it’s harder to get those things done quickly and efficiently. I continually train myself in all areas of my life to do things as they come up or realistically schedule them in my diary. Otherwise it leads to anxiety and overwhelm. It makes me far more efficient and effective.
Conversely, I show great tenacity, committing to any project that I sign up to, person I support or relationship I value. It connects with my values of honour and integrity that I try to live throughout my life. When I drop the ball, it is incredibly disappointing and painful to notice that deviation from my values and truth.
When you take conscious control of these traits, you can steer yourself towards positive thoughts, words and behaviours that impact in all areas of your life. While they are unconscious, they can run your life in an unsupportive way in the shadows. Once you shed light on them, your awareness allows you to see where changes are beneficial or necessary and where current habits are already supportive towards achieving your goals.
This idea of becoming more consciously aware is a foundational part of the transformational co-active life coaching process. It is also part of the martial arts journey. Having studied the Japanese martial arts for almost three decades, it came as no surprise that this idea is an intrinsic part of Japanese culture.
The Japanese Way
In Japan, martial arts are not just about being able to fight and defend oneself. They are a way of life, filled with life- enhancing principles to be applied to every moment. They offer a foundation for living with honour, integrity and respect for self, others and the world. Many traditional art forms in Japan, from tea ceremony and calligraphy to sword making and pottery, are infused with this sense of taking the focus, care, commitment, patience, time and love necessary to make their art, into all areas of the practitioner’s life. This is the transformational nature of martial arts, along with any other “Do” or “Way” in Japanese culture.
More well- known Ways include Judo, Kendo and Aikido in martial arts, and include Chado (Tea Ceremony), Shodo (Calligraphy) and Kado (Flower arranging). When this has been mastered, the practitioner is known as Shokunin. It is as if the art is used to bring the individual to greater maturity, awareness and integrity. It touches their whole life and the lives of the people they touch. A great example of how our mindset infuses all our actions and behaviours.
The notion that the way people approach any life situation often mirrors their approach to all of life’s situations may encourage us to sit up and take notice when these patterns emerge. They are hard to recognise in yourself- as if you have a blind spot. A life coach, holding a vision of bringing your best self to all situations in your life, can be invaluable in supporting you in that process.
Understanding that lessons in one area of your life can be instructive to make you more effective in other areas of your life is transformational. It shows you that: if you can do it once you can do it again; communicates your commitment to yourself to grow, be courageous and be your best self; allows for compassion for yourself and for others; demonstrates that the job is never done and that there is always more learning and directions of growth.
None of it can be done without action. In action, we show ourselves what can be done. Action is the classroom of learning, failure, success and developing transferable skills. It can make us more rounded, mature and powerful agents of change in our lives.
Over to You
What patterns of behaviour show up in your life? Do you notice those patterns yourself, or do other people reveal them to you? What are your blind spots? What habits do you have that are not supportive of your success? Where else do they show up in your life? Please share your thoughts in the comments box or tweet me at @PotentialityC. I look forward to hearing from you.
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