The power of a good question
The thought of sharing this feels me with fear somewhat. This maybe one of the times when I need to listen to Brene Brown, that she only shares her vulnerabilities when she is done processing them. But I process by writing, and so, here I go.
A friend of mine is a coach and she asked me to check over her updated website and guide for people before she launched it. I love to do that sort of thing for friends (it is what I actually do for work), so I said yes. When we were sat on her amazingly comfortable and squishy sofa to give her my comments I challenged her – asking if the stuff that she does with clients actually works. I said I have had done 6 years of psychodynamic psychotherapy, and I did all of the stuff. I realise now that I was essentially saying that those years of therapy meant that I had a higher level of help than mere coaching, and a better understanding of, well everything. And I was the better for it. Except of course, I’m not. And I did all the stuff she recommended in her guide for potential clients (routine, yoga, meditation, etc etc) and I’m still a bloody mess. So, really, did it help people? She smiled and said it did help her clients – and being the gracious person that she is she didn’t take offence that I was slagging off her work, nor tell me I was arrogant, both of which she would have been totally justified in thinking and saying.
She asked me a few exploratory questions and I rambled away for while, and then spent 20 minutes talking about the biggest and most painful piece of baggage that I haul around with me.
Then Tania told me to think about one specific question.
What would my life look like if I didn’t have to prove myself – what would it look like in all aspects of my life, from how I look and dress, to how I spend my days?
She said to apply my intellect to the question. Not to try to fix or deal with the baggage, as that approach clearly isn’t working for me, but to problem solve my way out of it.
Then she said to ditch all of my routines and the tight grip I have on my life and to live freer. Not to chase things down in a dagger in my hand. Which made me laugh as I do try to manage my life through a death grip and utter control. I’m certain she wouldn’t have used this language with anyone else, but it’s very fitting for me.
Blimey. What an absolutely terrifying idea. Seriously. Terrifying.
On the drive home I thought and I thought. I walked Buster and thought some more. I lay in the bath thinking some more. I had some realisations. Some quite amusing ones. Some serious ones. My brain was absolutely loving the challenge I had set it. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote.
This morning I went to my favourite place, Coalhouse Fort, a rather desolate part of the Thames Estuary, for a walk with Buster and to do a little ritual by the river and to pray for some serious help to see this all through.
The power of that one little question! It was posed with wisdom and kindness in a way which absolutely suited me down to the ground. It has made me think anew about my life. She went on to say some other things too and listened to me in a calm and empathetic way. Tania has a true gift. I don’t use that word lightly, I spent several days wrestling with what that word should be. And that’s right – she is gifted at coaching. She has fierce strength tempered with kindness and compassion to guide people to be themselves, the power to lead people where they cannot get themselves. This wasn’t even a formal coaching session, just a chat between friends. Goodness knows what she could do with me in a proper coaching set up.
To be completely honest I never really thought about coaching as a valuable thing (in case you couldn’t guess from my questions to her at the outset), but goodness me, how I have changed my mind. If you feel stuck in your life, want to live a better life I cannot recommend that you speak to Tania at Calm Heart highly enough. This is not a paid post and Tania has not asked me to write this and indeed, I tussled with myself about sharing this post as it really is rather raw and exposing, but none the less, I do want to share and to recommend her services.