What are you doing in coaching sessions that could be inhibiting your goals?
Going to life coaching is not easy. I learnt the hard way. You’re at point A and want to get to B, but when it comes to coaching, you experience difficulties. Not only do you have to set weekly goals, but you also have to achieve them. Life can sometimes intervene. Work, kids, health and other responsibilities make achieving the goals you’ve set for yourself, hard. At times it can feel daunting.
I’ve been to coaching and I’ve coached others. (I’m a certified iEQ9 Enneagram Practitioner and author of 14 self-help books). Because of this, I’ve experienced the struggles of being a coach and wanting the best for my clients. I’ve also experienced how tough being coached can be. Stick with it though, and you can achieve amazing results. For example, I wrote a book in eight weeks, got a publisher for it, and later had two language translations, all under the guidance of an incredible, coach.
Why we go to coaching
You want to excel in your career, as a friend, partner, family member, and in society. Coaches guide and motivate you to be your best.
They can help you become aware of your blind spots. These are things about yourself that you’re often not aware you’re doing. And those blind spots are often what’s stopping you from achieving your goals. A good coach will believe in your ability and make you aware of your true capabilities. That’s why you go to coaching — to become the best you can be. It’s a great way to make your dreams reality, provided you’re prepared to commit to goals. But, nothing worth achieving doesn’t take some good old-fashioned effort and hard work. I know this — you make your own “luck” in life.
Growth and change
Achieving weekly coaching goals is not always easy. If you keep not achieving your goals, perhaps you’ve been unrealistic in setting them. Slower, steadier steps usually achieve better results.
But, and here’s the big BUT, there can be a part of you that resists having to make those essential changes. I know, I walk that path everyday when I try to inspire myself to exercise. Sometimes the better part of me wins. On those mornings, you’ll find me sweating to a workout routine. Sometimes it’s coffee that rules over workouts. I’m okay with that.
Most of us know how we struggle sometimes to maintain the goals we’ve set ourselves. But, what few of us realize is how we also self-sabotage ourselves during the coaching or therapy sessions. It seems crazy right? You’re paying for them. But we all do.
Every second counts
The weeks are ticking past and we have little to show for our efforts. Yet, you want to make the very most of the time you spend with your coach so you can speed up your success. Yet each of us hinder our potential achievement with one or all these behaviors listed below. Which makes achieving goals harder.
That’s why I want to show you how during coaching or therapy sessions, you can speed up your success.
Ways we avoid getting the most from coaching or therapy sessions:
1. Getting so lost in the problem we block the solution
Hmm… I’m not sure what to do. There’s no perfect option available here. I’ll make changes when I know they’re the right ones.
Naturally, you want to find the perfect solution to your problem. The more you explore the options, the more you find that nothing seems good enough. As a result, you get stuck in indecision and block yourself from moving forward.
Solution: Accept that there may be no perfect solution to your problem. Go with the best option you have. It often turns out in the end to have been the perfect choice. If not then at least you know.
2. Becoming best friends with your coach at your own expense
What can I do to help you? Are you comfortable in that chair? I brought these sweet treats for you. Are you okay?
You’re the person bringing cookies to coaching sessions. And, you never forget to ask about the coach’s problems: “How’s your son after that fall?” You show your coach real care and concern. In fact, sometimes it feels like you’re about to coach them. Being thoughtful is what you do in life. The trouble with this approach is that it erodes into your own coaching time. You lose out, and that’s not the intention of coaching. A skilled coach will bring things back to you, but sometimes it’s hard to resist kindness.
Solution: Your coach is being paid to help you, even if you find it hard to receive help. As such, you owe it to yourself to use the appointment time for yourself. The coach has their own counselling options available.
3. You want to please and impress the coach and so avoid going deeper into uncomfortable areas
Bring it on coach! Twinkle, twinkle, I’m the star!
Coaching is going well. You’re the wunderkind client. You meet all your goals and deadlines in the time limit (or even before). You arrive on time. You’re motivated and enthusiastic. Your coach is very impressed. That’s great right? Yes, it is, but be careful that it’s not a way to tell yourself you no longer need to be coached. That way you run the risk of leaving before the real work begins. “I’m doing great. I’ve got this. I don’t need a coach.”
Solution: Ask yourself what you want from coaching? Have you reached that goal yet? Putting energy into these “lesser goals” means you avoid achieving the one thing that you really want. Is the fear of failing in that mission, driving you to create lists of less easily achievable goals? Sometimes what we want from life can seem so huge, that we don’t believe we can achieve it. “Who am I to be xxx?” Who are you not to be?
I was terrified when I wrote my first book, that all the hours of work and research would be wasted if the book didn’t get published. I also didn’t want to feel that I had failed. As a result, for years, I avoided starting it. Although I felt bad about this, it was less painful than not finishing the book. Or, worse still, of not getting published.
4. You want to give up too soon believing the process isn’t working (or your coach is useless)
This isn’t working for me. My life hasn’t changed. The coach just doesn’t get me.
You have convinced yourself that there’s no need to follow the coach’s guidelines. The process isn’t working for you. Nothing concrete has been achieved, and you believe the coach is not up to scratch. Opting out is logical right? Be aware, this may be a self-sabotaging trap. Focusing on the coach’s perceived inadequacies could be a way of avoiding doing your own work. Much of the potential for your growth then gets lost as you seek to undermine the coach.
Solution: Your coach or therapist is working with you for a reason known only to the universe. Trust that and give it your best. It’s about you remember.
5. You get so caught up in your thoughts, you forget your feelings
I think I’m a bit upset. I need to research this goal a bit more before I commit to doing it.
You think that you feel sad. But it’s a thought about sadness, rather than feeling the sadness. The best way of working through painful emotions is not to avoid them, but feel them. Then you can let them go. Resisting feeling, makes the feelings persist. Thinking your feelings can be a defense against painful emotions. Wanting to turn everything into a head rather than heart space, is another way. Attempting to understand the heart through the head seldom works.
Solution: Do you find yourself thinking rather than feeling? Do you use the words: “I think,” more often in conversation than: “I feel?” Ask yourself: “What am I feeling right now?” Then without judgement really allow yourself to feel whatever emotion arises. For some this is easy. For others it can be like heading into a new and strange planet. Feel it to heal it!
6. You entertain the coach to avoid issues
Have you heard the one about… I so remember when xxx happened. Its hilarious. Let me tell you…
I’ll confess. This is my specialty. I went to a weight-loss clinic. Each week, I had the dietitian in hysterics when it came time to be weighed. It was a wonderful way of deflecting the truth that I wasn’t sticking to the program, which the scale (painfully) revealed. If this is your habit, you’ll crack jokes, tell entertaining stories, and pretend everything is fabulous, all to avoid the real issue. Researching my book The Enneagram of Eating, I was told that I wasn’t the first person to use this tactic at a weigh-in. I’ve certainly picked it up in some clients I’ve coached.
Solution: When you find yourself about to tell that hilarious story, stop. Then ask yourself: “Will it help me achieve my potential.” If not, then face the issue at hand, and leave the story for when you’re with friends who’ll appreciate it.
7. You use offense as a form of defense
Don’t think you can tell me what to do. I know myself better than you do. I don’t agree.
Deep down you’re feeling vulnerable and threatened in the coaching situation. That doesn’t feel comfortable. You’re used to being in charge. So, you get angry — offense as a defense. It’s the way you roll in life, so people don’t mess with you. Now there’s a coach trying to do just that. No way! If your coach isn’t aware of the dynamics, they may draw back. Then, your chance of making important changes could be lost, as well as what you want to achieve.
Solution: Be aware if this is a tendency you have. When anger starts arising, ask yourself: “What it is I’m wanting to protect?”
8. You tell long stories, wasting precious session time
Yes, and then there was this other time when…
This is another favorite habit of mine. The trouble is I get involved with the interesting story. I don’t mean to, but I inevitably do. I head off at an obscure tangent. Doing so could mean a whole session goes by with little progress. Afterwards, I’ll get cross with myself: “Why did I go down that road? It’s irrelevant to what I’m working on.” Then, I’ll realize that I’ve told the long story as an avoidance mechanism. Deflecting away from an issue felt like a safer thing to do.
Solution: I’ve learnt now to become aware when I’m telling long, garrulous stories. I know they’re another way of skirting the real issue or deeper work. Can you relate to that? When you launch into a long story, stop yourself and breathe deeply. Then ask yourself: “How relevant the tale is to what you really want to achieve?”
Some of these behavior patterns will likely show up during your coaching or therapy sessions. The good news is that you’re aware of them now. As a result, you can consciously choose to avoid them. And, when you do find yourself enacting them, remind yourself that:
Being defeated is only a temporary condition, giving up is what makes it permanent.
Marylin vos Savant
Go back to: “What’s my motivation and purpose for going to coaching?” Then head back, wiser and even more self-aware.
Now you’re all set to make every minute of your session count, which means success is on it’s way.