At the start of the year, even before 2015 ended, I decided that one of the things I wanted to become was a life coach. In my vision board I wrote down with specificity, “The sign of which I should take first, coaching, counseling, or yoga therapy will make itself known very early on and with undoubted clarity.”
At the start of my yoga teacher journey into the unknown I attended her Your Awesome Year workshop where we mapped out what the next 5 years would look like. It was a scary and large process but lo and behold, less than a year since that workshop I found that what I had set out to be was actually happening! (READ: On teaching: Passing the one-year mark, learning how to love) So when she suggested, among her many suggestions, to take training where she too took training, I jumped at the chance :)
Our training consists of face-to-face whole day learning and more importantly, 12 hours of required coaching experience and a research paper. Having recently just finished day 2 out of the 3 days of “classroom” learning, I can now say more and more that life coaching is part of my soul path.
One of the most important things I’m truly learning is how to listen actively and constructively, how to see people.
The opportunity and the trust to really see people on a yoga mat is one of the things I cherish most about teaching and with coaching, I get to do it too on a deep, different level. It seems too simple and it is, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy :) To listen with 100% presence, absolutely no judgement, hold space and make people feel safe, guide them towards unearthing their true self and answering all their own questions – that’s what we train for.
For sure, you’re going to see more and more from me on this blog about coaching as I venture into making it part of my life’s work but today, I just wanted to talk about what it’s like to be heard by a coach.
At the start of my journey into this, I shared this article on my wall, Why Everyone Needs a Life Coach just to raise a little bit of awareness in my network of what coaching really is. Though I feel it covers what coaching can do for you, I think the gravity of how coaching can make you feel simply skims the surface.
Part of our training are coaching fishbowl sessions where one of our trainers (either Susan Rivera, Kitty Ferreria, or Janelle Pacete) will do a 15-minute coaching session with one of the participants, for the rest of the students to observe. On day 2, I was the one in the fishbowl and my coach was Coach Kitty :)
It was 15 minutes where my agenda was to hash out work-life balance and how I could find it for myself as the honest truth is, I’m a workaholic who doesn’t really know when to stop :) I won’t get into much of the details of what our coaching conversation was like. Instead, to give you an idea of what it’s like to be sitting in front of a coach, here it is from my perspective
What it’s like to be heard by a life coach
- Like unfolding. The coach asks a single question and since you know you’re being listened to patiently, all the words come out. Sometimes you didn’t even know the words were there. Another metaphor I can use is, it’s like opening a matryoshka doll and the dolls seem to be in endless supply.
- It feels confrontational. But don’t get me wrong. It’s not the coach who’s confronting you. Your own words said out loud are self-confrontational to the beliefs and the realities that you live with. With clarity comes reality and sometimes, reality isn’t always easy to look at. Discussing it after, someone in the group said it’s like looking in a mirror and seeing things with extra zoomed perspective. I left the training that day feeling raw from two coaching sessions but, how else can you feel your feelings except for facing them?
- There’s momentum. The more you realize, the more insights come in. The more insights come in, the more you desire to make a change. This is something I felt strongly during the conversation. As I was talking and talking and unfolding and confronting, my thoughts gained momentum such that each new strand of thought went deeper and more naturally than the previous one until I reached the heart of the matter, the center of it all. My thoughts gained energy with every speaking and with it, the energy of wanting change came too.
- It feels safe. I felt supported by a partner. None of the above would have been possible if I didn’t feel safe to speak out loud, no matter how talkative I am. I could’ve easily made up some story or another, or even just coasted the surface of the issue. But since I felt so safe with Kitty, coasting didn’t even enter my mind once. I felt absolutely accepted and more than that, I felt like I was being listened to with loving kindness. Or in the yoga world, Ahimsa ♥ I felt that because she asked me questions that didn’t feel like they were simply leading me to a question – she asked me questions that felt like she too was invested in seeing the matter through and solving it.
I could go on and on but quite honestly, writing this makes me feel a bit emotional again.
Listening is simple but how it makes the person being listened to feel, it’s so priceless.
I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to be coached by Coach Kitty and I’m looking forward for more opportunities to be heard and of course, to listen ♥
Okay, enough emotions for one post :)