Over the twenty-five years I've worked in the human service, counseling and life coaching field I've discovered my innate understanding of the multi-faceted nature of human personality and human relationships. This seems to me to be more of a gift than a learned skill… or at least less learned in a purely academic manner.
That is not to say that the application of that gift is automatically useful to me or anyone else who has it… that is where developing and practicing skills comes in.
I can confidently say that the work I have done in recognizing and establishing professional boundaries between my needs and the needs of those I serve has resulted in a level of expertise that is flexible and compassionate, but also respectful of the maintenance of the kinds of boundaries that are the most useful in the effective, affecting, productive, goal-focused coaching relationship. As I have often stated: my goal is to help my clients become their own coaches.
What personal attributes and perspectives do I rely on to keep my coaching relationships healthy and moving forward?
- Self awareness of the nature, extent and limits of the gifts that brought me into coaching in the first place.
- An understanding that coaching cannot be seen as a way to exert control over others or bring others over “to my side”.
- Good supportive family and friends that offer outlets for human relationship outside of client relationships.
- Willingness to always be in a state of learning. Each client brings an inner textbook of norms, talents, gifts and processes.
- A willingness to eschew what has worked in the past for what can and will work in the future.
- An ability to disconnect my own process from expectations of others’ process.
What makes me a great choice as a coach?
- I am empathic by nature, but have married empathy with various learned and practiced interaction and interviewing skills that make what I know on an empathic level more apparent and useful to progress forward in others.
- An ability, due to experience and hands on learning in the helping professions, to make quick assessments related to the nature of the processes and essential coping strategies that people, couples and families/groups use… and then to employ them in the manner in which I work with people to help them see, understand and employ them toward positive change.
- Good sense of humor used liberally and in appropriate doses
- A good solid understanding of the difference between my needs and my clients’ needs
- A refusal to be maneuvered into the role of the least favorite parent, or the voice of that parent, in my dealings with my clients. I routinely ask my clients to be a better parent to themselves than their parents may have been to them.
- The insistence that my work with people be centered on strengths, kindness and gentle persistence, and that it is their responsibility to take a tough stance against any persistent lack of follow through, once identified, not mine.