Being Me, Not a Metaphor

by Victoria on April 29, 2009

I’m at a point (or so I think) where it is time for me to offer – officially – my coaching services.

I’m trying to just keep it really simple, not expecting perfection in my web copy. Just making room for my Right People to find me.

The words haven’t been coming.

Words and their meanings

Since taking a class from Havi this past weekend about Metaphors, I’ve been thinking a lot about words. Basically, the words we use can inadvertently create resistance in people (me, you, everyone) because of the associations we make with the words.

Often unconscious associations.

For an example, check out Havi’s most recent Friday Check-in where she talks about eating frogs.

My particular frog

So I’ve been examining my associations with the words “coach” and “life coach”. A lot of them aren’t terribly favorable, so no wonder I was afraid to say it was what I wanted to do with my life.

Then I saw this amazing video post from Pace. She talks about how, in her desire to be a revolutionary, she realized it wasn’t working for her because she was trying to act like a stereotypical revolutionary. It wasn’t her.

Just as Pace was getting sucked into behaving according to some pre-conceived idea of how a revolutionary should behave, I have concepts and images of what it means to be a coach. What it looks like to be a “life coach”. *shudder*

I’ve got this idea in my head that a coach is rah-rah and tries to apply some formula to every client and if it doesn’t work it’s the client’s fault.

And is pushy and goal-obsessed and tells you that if you can’t stay focused and motivated and Meet That Goal, you will never Win The Race.

I keep bumping up against those images and ideas, and I’m afraid that’s what being a coach will mean. That I will have to become those things in order to be a coach. I know that’s not rational, but it’s there.

What’s really not rational about it is that the people who are coaching me aren’t like that, so where am I getting this idea that I will be required to turn into a yucky bullying coach?

In the work I’ve been doing with clients, I don’t treat them like that at all. The thought never crosses my mind, yet there’s still some part of me convinced I will inevitably embody the image.

And if it were true that I had to do it that way, then forget it.

Be yourself

Pace’s heart-felt appeal is for us to stop trying to be something we’re not. To just be ourselves.

That really cut through all the bullshit flying around in my head.

I don’t have to place finding the right name for what I do ahead of going out and doing it. I need to infuse the word “coach” with my own elements that represent what I want it to be.

There’s always going to be somebody who responds negatively to a word. So instead of trying to find the perfect word, I need to focus on conveying those elements – communicating my essential self – in what I do and write and say.

Me being myself as a coach means giving clients individual attention and helping them in the way they need to be helped.

Working together as partners.

Using my intuition to go below the surface of a problem or block.

Really listening.

Exploring options. Reframing thoughts. Considering perspectives.

Offering encouragement and support.

Holding space for people to feel safe while they work through their stuff – like inviting them under an umbrella in the rain.

That feels so much better than worrying about what a coach should be.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Pace April 29, 2009 at 7:43 am

Wow! I’m so incredibly happy for you! I’m thrilled about you being yourself, because yourself is amazing and shiny and wonderful. And I also feel blessed that I could be part of your process. (:

Pace’s last blog post..Book Bonanza Wednesday! Chapter 16: The next time I ask for $1000, just give me a veggie burger instead!

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leah April 29, 2009 at 8:10 am

yay! this is awesome, victoria!!

leah’s last blog post..Fashion and Color (or Colour): Interview with Andrea

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Debra April 29, 2009 at 8:16 am

Um…excuse me, Victoria…but, have you been creeping around in my thoughts lately? ;~)

This is crazy right on with the energy of my experience just lately.

In fact, a post will be soon to follow as my morning ‘tune in’ time was focused on this very thing.

It’s so funny the things we know, compared to the things we ‘own’…and the things that whirl around in our periphery that can send us sideways sometimes!

I’ve been feeling the same way about “coach”.

You’ve said it all, processed it all brilliantly. I’ve come to much of the same bottom line, myself.

The key for me is “be true to who I am authentically…shine in my brilliance…lead and guide by the clarity of my example, thereby allowing (giving permission, encouraging) others to do the same.”

*after all…isn’t that what I’m encouraging/guiding others to do? Of course it is!*

Whenever I tune in, that’s the message I receive. And most importantly, that’s always the message that feels most resonant, in harmony…for ME. What more could I ask for? :0)

Words are important…and they only have as much power as we give them. Finding words that carry the vibe of our own uniqueness is always preferable… And honestly, sometimes our language seems a bit limiting for the level of uniqueness that we are! LOL

When I was little I made words up ALL the time. Maybe it’s time to rekindle that creativity… Maybe I’ll make a word up for this ‘coach that I AM’. :0)

Here’s to the unique coach within all of us; may it guide our way on!

In Harmony,
Debra

Debra’s last blog post..An “I AM” Boost

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chris zydel April 29, 2009 at 4:06 pm

Hey Victoria,

I know what you mean about that word. I played basketball in high school and we had a coach named Dee and she was EVERYTHING you described in your “bad coach” scenario.

Always yelling, always rah-rah, always trying to motivate us by making us aware of our shortcomings. She was like a yappy, skinny, sharp and nervous Chihuahua….. so yeah, I’m not surprised that you have weird associations with coach cause there’s a lot of those Dee’s out there!

I LOVE your definition of coach! If I needed a coach right now I would get under that umbrella and sign up with you in a heartbeat!

And I totally encourage you to make up the definition that feels right for you. So that you can be the coach that you are meant to be!

Hugs,
Chris

chris zydel’s last blog post..THE WISDOM OF NO MISTAKES: DRIPS CAN BE FUN ( or at least not total torture)

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Mark Silver April 29, 2009 at 4:13 pm

I’m totally with you. As in, forget “coaching.” I’ve really struggled with my own reactivity around this, because want to call me a “coach” and I am not a coach. Well, my friend Molly Gordon says I’d pass her test with flying colors, but I’m not trained as a coach, I’ve never had any coach training.

I’m trained as a spiritual healer. Except that didn’t exactly fit, either. As an ex-paramedic and magazine editor, my energy tends to be a little different than the stereotypical healer.

So, anyway, I’m with you, Victoria. No “coach.” No “healer.” It’s not about the labels.

The focus is on who are we helping, and what are we helping them with. That’s what gets me out of the navel-gazing stuckness that can happen around this.

Anyway- thanks for voicing it. Rock on.
From this weirdo sufi spiritual healer to the weirdo coach that you are. :)
Mark

Mark Silver’s last blog post..Do You Really Need to Offer a Free Download?

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Shannon Wilkinson April 29, 2009 at 4:21 pm

Hey Victoria, it’s so true about the coach/life coach words. I’ve struggled with calling myself that too. I love that you’ve made up a definition that’s just right for you, and will help guide your right people to you. I’m going to stick with it too, until I come up with something better!

Congratulations on offering your coaching services!

Shannon Wilkinson’s last blog post..A beautiful new journal. Yikes!

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Goddess Leonie | GoddessGuidebook.com April 29, 2009 at 4:45 pm

I adore you so much Victoria…
I think this is so beautiful, meaningfully and poetically put.

Your coaching is a vehicle to share the gifts and wisdom of VICTORIA with the world.

Goddess Leonie | GoddessGuidebook.com’s last blog post..Mini update: free Rainbow Zen Habits wallpaper

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Hiro Boga April 29, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Yay, Victoria! You’ll be your own shining, beautiful, loving, brilliant, collaborative self with your lucky, lucky clients, no matter what you call yourself.

You’ve defined your heart’s work so clearly and beautifully in this post. I love knowing that you offer the shelter of your umbrella in the rain.

Big hugs,

Hiro

Hiro Boga’s last blog post..Grace Descending

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Dave Thurston May 1, 2009 at 9:21 am

You know . . . that whole listening thing, that whole coaching thing, that whole helping people want they really want to do thing . . . Isn’t that “Judo for the Brain” (<– I think that it is Judo that uses the opponents own strength to bolster his strength).

So, perhaps you’re providing not coaching per se, but are the judo-sparring partner that is allowing your clients to build on their own strengths — to tackle their dragons using your strengths.

Oh, and now, I’ll associate you with my kids’ elementary school as there is always a car there with the bumper sticker “Metaphores be with you”.

Dave Thurston’s last blog post..Big Day G

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Victoria April 29, 2009 at 6:20 pm

Thanks so much for all of your beautiful comments! I hated having to wait all day to reply, but it was an office day with lots of meetings. *sigh*

@Pace – Thank YOU for sharing such an inspiring video.

@leah – Thanks…I enjoyed our metaphor brainstorming. ;-)

@Debra – Oh yes – our language really does feel limiting at times! But all we can do is be ourselves as best we can.

@chris – Awww thanks…the umbrella’s always open for you if you ever need it. xoxo

@Mark – I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to have you call me a weirdo coach. That’s the best kind of coach to be, methinks!

@Shannon – Thanks! And it’s so true – the best way is to stick to our definitions without obsessing about the word.

@Goddess Leonie – Thank you so much. I love hearing that from you!

@Hiro – Big hugs to you…You have played a huge role in me being able to define my heart’s work!

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Jessica May 3, 2009 at 5:30 pm

That’s great! It never occurred to me to check my “language” about an issue if I’m feeling stuck.

Jessica’s last blog post..Listen to a friend even though it isn’t easy

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Victoria May 1, 2009 at 2:52 pm

@Dave – Ooh…there’s some good stuff to explore around judo and helping clients build on their own strengths. Love it!

And that bumper sticker is too funny. Makes me think of Obi-Wan Kenobi with his little hand wave to the stormtroopers. “These are not the metaphors you’re looking for.” :-)

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Liz May 20, 2009 at 9:20 am

This post resonates so much with me. I have been having so many similar reservations about the label “coach”. It makes me think of yelling and competition. So I’ve elected to sit back, write for now, and let things percolate in the background. I’ll look forward to seeing how things continue for you… sounds like you’re on the right path!

Liz’s last blog post..Thank you note Tuesday, week 3

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Victoria May 21, 2009 at 7:21 pm

@Liz – It’s a really tricky sticky one, isn’t it? The term doesn’t quite work for me, yet I haven’t been able to find anything better. So, for now I’m just inching toward being okay with it, so that it doesn’t get in the way of doing what I want to do. Let me know if you come up with a word that fits you better!

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