Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Horse of a Different Color

Do you remember the horse in the Wizard of Oz? Dorothy finally makes it to the Emerald City and is riding in a carriage pulled by the horse of a different color. She looks at him and he’s one color. The next time she looks he’s a different color. The perspective of that horse was continually changing. You could never be comfortable with a certain look. Depending on your color preference you may have thought he looked ghastly or beautiful but wait, he’s about to change.

Changing perspective is something we often have trouble doing. Our perspective for a situation may be a result of many factors in our lives: our mood, history, belief system, values, religion, and lifestyle. There are many difficult events in our lives that keep us stuck for one reason or another.  When there is no easy, quick answer we often need to find a way to make it bearable until a change can be made. This usually requires a change in perspective.

Such a change can support a mother feeling guilty for trying to carve her own niche away from the constant rigors of childcare. She may need to realize that her time away will re-energize and brighten her mood, therefor becoming a happier and more patient mom. She may also be illustrating to her children that she respects herself enough to give some self-care so they see the value in that.

It could benefit a man going back to school while juggling a family and a full time job. He decides to take the fast track to get to his new career more quickly. The sacrifice is time away from his young family. He can look at this time as opening up an easier future that will provide a better family life. He can decide to make the time they do get worthwhile by being completely present for them. He can begin to feel better about his endeavor.

It could help a long relationship where the same issues are simply never resolved and hurt; resentment and mistrust continually sabotage it. One person may have to come to terms that some things may never change in a partner. If the person holding the hurtful feelings can work towards a different idea, view of their partner’s motivation and gain some ownership to how they will let these problems control them, they may be able to find their own power and peace to either accept what they have for the benefits of the relationship or be fully prepared to admit it’s just not enough.

So this week the theme seemed to be changing perspective both in my own life and for my clients. Coaching is not always about the huge goals finally achieved. The bulk of coaching is in the smaller tasks that lead to that goal. Often what trip us up in our goals are ourselves and our limiting beliefs.

So if you have a part of your life that you feel helpless, hopeless, or discouraged, try giving it another color and it may release some of the flying monkeys. The Wizard can’t always fix our problems, it may have been is us all along.

Hey-the Wizard may have gone on to be a great Life Coach. J

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Coaching What??

I’m always up for a challenge.

When I was young I’d ride any horse-no matter how insane.

I needed a daughter to complete my family.  I figured out where she was waiting for me and adopted her.

I started martial arts with my boys and became determined to achieve my black belt. After many years and two knee repairs I finally earned it.

I had a goal to be happy after way too many years in a sad marriage. After summoning a mass amount of courage I was able to break free.

I’ve become determined to create a life for myself that supports my views, values, interests and, to be honest, future income needs. I’m still working on that one.  That’s where coaching comes in.

A year ago in December I enrolled in the International Coaching Academy.  Every week I participate in hours to classes with fellow students and instructors located in every part of the world. I have 6 clients and two coaches I have weekly sessions with.  I try to help people who are stuck, unhappy or unmotivated in a part of their life by simply listening closely and asking powerful questions. It’s not therapy, counseling or consulting. It’s having goals or a vision and discovering the best path to make them a reality.

But coaching is still a fairly new concept in the world. When I say I’m studying to be a coach I usually hear “You’ll be great-high school or college?” Truly, no one wants me to coach a sports team. I throw like a girl, catching is sketchy and my brief field hockey career consisted of being yelled at for hitting the little ball with the wrong side of the stick. I can teach someone how to defend themselves, ride a horse or what life was like in a one room school house in 1853 (I have a weird variety of abilities). But coaching a team to score a goal, make a home run or create the best human pyramid is not what I’m going for.

When I was going through my divorce my then husband made me go to counseling. After one session it was very clear I was wasting time. I wasn’t having a mid-life crisis.  I wasn’t confused or struggling with childhood issues or emotional drama. I knew exactly what I wanted. My struggles were simply around the best steps to make it as easy and successful as possible. I needed a coach.

I’m still working on creating the life I want. I certainly feel on the right track. I’m stronger, happier and more confident at this age than any other time in my history. I have fabulous children, a man I adore and the best friends in the world. My goal for the next two years is to add a coaching career to my already amazing job. Thankfully I now have my own coach to help me stay motivated.

So if you’re still confused about what I’m doing, Maya Angelou summed it up brilliantly:
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

And if you’re having trouble doing this on your own, I know of a good coach…..