Helping Others Starts With Intention
As I spend more time in entrepreneurial groups, I come in contact with a lot of people who are both selling something and have a desire to help others. Many offer unsolicited advice or a few helpful hints, and I appreciate the time they take to do so. But a couple of days ago, I received a private message in response to a comment I’d made on someone’s post, and the resulting conversation (which admittedly, I should have ended sooner) left me feeling angry and even a bit soiled for the encounter. I thought about revisiting the transcript of the conversation if for no other reason, to understand what I might have done differently to keep it from becoming combative and from activating my defense mechanisms. I actually did the smart thing this time, and distanced myself from the whole thing for a couple of days.
With new perspective, I realize that while his technique was, for me, offensive, it might have been the voice of my conscience asking, no, demanding to be heard. He didn’t ask any questions I haven’t been asking myself. I simply took it badly coming from a complete stranger who seemed to be sticking his nose in where it didn’t belong. It especially irked me when he told me I wasn’t a good fit for him as a client. It didn’t matter that I’d already concluded he wasn’t a good fit for me as a coach. To have him dismiss me like that…well, it HURT!
The Good, Bad, and Ugly Side of Coaches
In a world where coaching of all sorts has become a huge part of our economy, there seems to be an influx of people showing up daily on social media who are promoting talents and abilities which are hard to prove unless they already have a plethora of clients with proven results. That’s when I wonder why they’re pounding the virtual pavement looking for more?
In some cases, they have a genuine interest in helping people, and are looking for someone unlike their bread and butter clients to satisfy that desire in themselves. In that case, I wouldn’t expect them to be dismissive or cruel if a person they chose wasn’t receptive to the gift they were offering. Others are using a technique I’m seeing more and more, and liking less and less. It involves tearing someone down and pointing out their failings, then offering to swoop in like a fairy godmother and fix what’s broken—for a “small” fee, of course.
Don’t get me wrong. Everyone deserves to support themselves in the style they have envisioned. I simply take issue with doing it at the expense of someone else’s self-esteem. There are better ways to share your services without being abusive about it.
What Qualifies a Coach?
At any rate, the coaching profession has many faces. Each of those faces has different levels of expertise, and certainly, just getting through life with sanity intact is a powerful qualification. Some may have recognizable letters after their name; MFT, PhD, M.D. and more. Others have gone through some kind of certification program offered by yet another coach in their field. I tend to be more receptive to the ones who got at least part of their expertise from the ever-popular school of hard knocks. I find it easier to find value in the words and advice of someone who has actually been down in the trenches where I am now. Someone who has figured out how to climb out and turn all of the lessons they learned into stepping stones to something better.
I guess that’s why, for the most part I’m resistant to having a 30-something tell me they know how to fix my life. There are certainly exceptions, as I know a couple of 30-somethings who have been dealt more crap in their short lifetimes than I’ve seen in mine and that of 3 or 4 of my friends. From those lessons, they, like their older counterparts learned there’s a time to push and a time to step back and let the magic unfold in its own time and fashion.
The very best in the coaching community never stop learning themselves. They’ve discovered a secret I learned as a parent. Sometimes the best teacher of all is the student, be it your child, a person you’re working with, or just someone in the world at large. They know when to be the teacher and when to go with the flow when a role reversal occurs in the natural course of things.
The Road to Coaching Isn’t My Road
All this being said, I don’t see myself in the role of a coach, at least not officially. I think we all assume that role on occasion, even if the only task we have is to give encouragement and feedback. Many times, I’m on the sidelines cheering others to victory and that is one function of a coach. Other times, I’m asking questions or even kicking a little butt to help someone I know get past their own roadblocks. Both roles are ultimately rewarding and I learn a little more about myself at the same time.
My final thought on this subject which, much to my amazement I’ve managed to pursue without major topic changes is that coaches are no different than any other relationship we engage in. The people involved have to be a good fit. There has to be a connection. Many times it isn’t something obvious though in my case, I know I connect best with people who are either empathic or highly sensitive. Some people really respond well to a coach who will beat them over the head with their shortfalls and browbeat them into fixing what’s not working. Others need a kinder, gentler approach. But whatever works for you, it has to get you to the point where you leave your comfort zone behind you and go through some pain to break fear of all that holds you back. Fear grips us with angry tentacles and doesn’t release us willingly. Breaking the suction will lead a few bruises, but recognizing it’s for the best and continuing to wrest control of our lives from those fears comes with phenomenal rewards. But only if you’re willing to do the work and most of all, ask for help when you need it.
Finding Gratitude in Everything
My gratitudes today are:
- I am grateful for experiences which make me step back from myself and see how I’m halting my own progress.
- I am grateful for the people who have come into my life at various places to show me better ways to be me.
- I am grateful for the mistakes I make as it means I’m making an effort to do more, be better.
- I am grateful for my writing which is an outlet for everything I think, see, and feel.
- I am grateful for infinite abundance; friendship, optimism, friendship, clarity, inspiration, motivation, dreams, goals, intentions, love, joy, philanthropy, peace, harmony, health, and prosperity.
Love and Light
You can find the link to my Facebook Live on Coaching here.
I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!