Why I Shut the F*** Up When I’m Coaching

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

I don’t know where I am on my path right now. I feel forward movement, and yet, I feel like I haven’t moved from this spot in years. Like I’m wondering if this movement is real. I can see the landscape rolling past as I look out the window of this moving train, and it all feels like a dream I’m not sure I’m even having.

As a human being, this place is scary because it involves the unknown. As a life coach, this place is scary because I should have everything figured out by now. At least, that’s what my gremlins would have me believe. 

In the last month I’ve taken on 3 new clients and I’m ecstatic about each and every one of them. Things are coming together, and all I’m doing is simply putting myself out there in a way that feels comfortable to me. Not being pushy, but sharing pieces of my life and business that matter to me.

I want people to know that I’m stoked when people get something powerful out of our coaching together. It’s hard for some people to really get the value of coaching because it feels so intangible. The truth about that is that coaching is intangible until you, the client, make it tangible. It requires a great deal of work to create true transformation and I’m only the facilitator of it.

In three recent, consecutive client sessions, each client cried and I simply held space for each them. One on the phone, and all I could really do was to allow her the space to feel what she was moving through. If I had tried to pull her along I might have derailed the learning for her. One in person, and all I could do was to allow her the space to be present with herself and move forward. If I had tried to pull her along, I might’ve allowed her to disengage from a message she really needed to hear from herself. One over Skype, and all I could do was bear witness to the vulnerability and emotion being shared with me. If I had done anything other than stay silent, I might have denied her from being heard.

Shut the F*** Up

And isn’t that what we all want? To be seen, to be heard, to be loved? This is my way of hearing, seeing, loving each and every one of my clients. I can’t think of a better way to love them than to shut the fuck up and let them process through their emotions. Because really, it’s not about me. The session, my presence, my questions, our time together … it’s never about me. The moment I fail to realize that and interject something just for the sake of reducing an uncomfortable silence, I’ve failed both my client and myself.

In my first course at CTI, one of the co-leaders said that she falls in love with each and every one of her clients. If she doesn’t feel that connection, she refers the client to someone else. I remember thinking that was a lot of pressure on me to find just the right client. But the reality is, my right clients have found me. All I need to do is to open up, be myself, and allow them the space to grow and be themselves. There’s no pressure in just being me.

Another thought I remember having about the co-leader’s declaration was, “Hmmmm…maybe a little creepy or exaggeration to ‘fall in love’ with all of your clients…” and then I started falling in love with my own clients. This isn’t about romance; it’s about seeing these wonderful individuals for who they really are. It’s about seeing them from the inside out and loving each and every piece of them that they allow me to see. It’s not creepy or exaggerated at all. Not in my experience.

Each and every client who has had more than one session with me, I’ve fallen in love with, in some way, shape or form. It means I see them. It means I want what they want for themselves (and sometimes, even a little more). It means I give them grace when they aren’t able to give it to themselves. It means I mirror courage for them when they can’t see their own courage in the mirror. It means I love them unconditionally.

As I sit here and wonder what unknowns are ahead of me in my coaching career, I realize it doesn’t really matter. All that matters is that I continue to be open to loving my clients unconditionally. And every now and then, just remember to shut the fuck up and allow the process of learning to happen.

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