Is Coaching Magic? Well, no ... I mean, maybe.
Updated: Nov 11, 2019
I went to a magic show once, late in the summer of 2018. Magic isn't something I've ever had more than a passing interest in. Yet I took a 6-hour round trip from my home to Manhattan just to see this particular show. It was titled "In & Of Itself" and was performed in its entirety by the incredibly magical Derek Delgaudio. Throughout the show he performed a variety of tricks with cards and other objects, using sleight of hand to mystify the audience.
I was in awe. The most powerful part (and I won't give it away in case he ever brings the show back) was when he reveals a mind-blowingly impressive series of secret identities within the room.
This is relevant because the subtitle of the show was "IDENTITY IS AN ILLUSION", a point which Mr. Delgaudio demonstrated in a few different ways, all magical and each powerful in its own way. It has been slightly more than a year since I saw the play. Although I thought about it intensely for a few weeks afterwards - the play was that good - I hadn't thought of it in a long time until today.
I was curious when this play came back to mind today, because my intention was to write about the process of coaching, or at least the extent to which one exists in the way I coach. A common question I hear about coaching is around the process - "how does it work?" or "what do you do?" It hasn't been an easy question to answer, in part because I have been trained in one of the best coaching programs in the world (Coactive Training Institute) where there is absolutely structure, but no prescribed process. CTI trained coaches treat each client as the "naturally creative, resourceful, and whole" person they are. As such, there's no simple process for coaching someone.
And yet, while on a hike this weekend near my home, I realized that I do have a process of sorts. That revelation emerged as I wrote in my journal during the hike. My way of coaching relates directly to a key phrase that my coach helped me identify as a core purpose for how I navigate the world best.
So here it is, my process, or perhaps my "magic secret", for how I coach, using the phrase "Slow Down and Connect" as a guiding principle:
How? There are probably infinite ways to slow down. As I touched on above, I won't tell you exactly how - what works for me may not work for you. But if you're not sure what could be helpful for you, I will share some ways that I am able to slow things down to get you thinking. Examples include:
redesigning my habits to free up time
walking in nature
reading spiritual literature
I also do work with my clients to help them get clear about/grounded in their values, which is a great way to slow down difficult decision-making processes that often creates stress. When faced with scheduling conflicts, I often am able to lean on my #1 value - "Being a Great Dad" - to quickly determine if I'm saying "yes" or "no". That definitely slows down my head, my heart rate, and my pulse!
Another key piece of Slow Down is identifying your strengths. When you are spending most of your time working in your areas of strength, life seems to slow down. You are getting just as much done - in reality, probably more - but it just feels easy! There are a bunch of ways to understand this and I'll use whatever approach works best for my client.
Slowing down and creating intentional moments in my life has radically shifted my ability to focus, get clear and ...
There are as many ways to connect as there are ways to slow down. And many will be intrinsic to you. Maybe you connect to a higher meaning by knitting. Maybe you connect to community by going to concerts or church. I have my own ways and they're a huge key to me being energized and feeling strong so I can show up at my best every day.
These are a few key areas in which I have my clients look for connection:
Connection to "Source". This could be (any of) the source of your behavior, meaning, ease, distress, joy, your highest self, and way more.
Connection to "Self". This is where I ask my clients to get clear about what is most important to them. Areas of inquiry will include what you find fun, your dreams, your beliefs, possibilities, values & strengths, and more.
Connection to "Purpose". What is your calling? Is there a cause or a community with which you want to be more aligned? Where do you go in life once you've decided to go for your wildest dreams? Connecting to Purpose is powerful and it creates incredible satisfaction when you honor and invest in it.
Slow Down and Connect is probably more of a structure or a framework than it is a "process". And it doesn't mean you will get wherever you are going slower! In fact, you'll get there faster because you'll strip away so many distractions and stresses! It's also quite likely that it will help you shift to an "intrinsic or inherent" identity that reduces friction for you.
Here is what Wikipedia says about the phrase "in and of itself":
Prepositional phrase. in and of itself. by itself; with respect to its intrinsic or inherent nature without consideration of extraneous factors
At the magic show, I was stunned to realize that my identity became clearer when I looked at things differently. Through coaching, my identity has developed into the truest form I've ever known. Much of that has to do with leaving behind the "consideration of extraneous factors", such as the expectations that I had internalized from work, family, and other sources outside of myself.
Today's world suggests that we have to go ever faster if we're going to succeed. Or maybe a better way to say that is to have the identity of a successful person. I don't buy it. I see so much stress, burnout, dissatisfaction, and hunger for meaning in the world around me. Those are not the words to describe the ideal identity that any of us would choose.
You can make a new choice. See if working with a coach can help you demystify the true identity that you want for yourself. Maybe even see if Slow Down and Connect is for you. Trust in a bit of "magic" if you have to.
I can tell you from firsthand experience that you will find a more true, joyful, and alive version of yourself if you commit to working on yourself with a coach. I have seen it in my clients, too, and that makes me incredibly happy. I'd love it if you were the next person to have this gift!
To enjoy a free hour of coaching on any topic you want, email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.