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 }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: