Coaching Case Studies
I helped her figure out what she was about: to achieve a richer, deeper understanding of her strengths and weakness; of her deeper unarticulated desires and interests; to see the areas in her potential in life that can continually expanded to achieve the fullest expression of herself in this life.
Because she was so committed to her career, she had lost touch with herself, her original motivations and what she really cared about for herself. She was so tied into defining herself by what others thought that she has essentially disappeared except for taking care of others. After decades of this, she was experiencing a sense of listlessness, uncertainty and vague dissatisfaction. She constantly operated with the anxiety that whatever she did (which was mainly for others), and however hard she worked, it was not enough.
I helped by allowing her to integrate or re-integrate different dimensions of herself, her history and her life. I brought forth and re-introduced to her different long ignored or forgotten “parts” or dimensions of herself so she renegotiate and resolve the desires of these parts. She began to see a more balanced way of living three key aspects of life so she was able to participate daily in aspects of her life that she has ignored for years. She ended up more enlivened, more energetic and attracting more people and prosperity to her. But most importantly she was engaged in her life again, what she did mattered to her and she moved from being a shadow of herself to a vibrant, full color, energetic and magnetic person.
I used the following resources and approaches as the basis of my work with her over a 3-month period of time. I used work from NLP to put her into a series of trances in order to help her locate, listen to and have conversations with the various “parts” or dimensions of her, which had developed over the years. We named these various internal personas that not only represented but also were, a self-judging critic, a defensive self – ready to take offense, a little girl looking for comfort and love, an eager young woman looking to make her mark in the world, and another part who wanted to please Dad and ultimately all other men. As she became aware of these various personas she began to see how they each struggled with the others and with her conscious self for expression and control. With awareness she was able to have conversations with each part to acknowledge and honor it for the contribution it had made in her life. Additionally she learned to allow the different parts to negotiate with each other (as well as her conscious self) in order to be of service to her whole self in its current situation rather than acting out of historical situations and triggers. In this way she cleared the way for inner peace and greater internal alignment so she could better focus her energy and intention.
Another dimension of work we did together was influenced by Richard Bolles and his book, “The Three Boxes of Life and How to Get Out of the Them”. The 3 boxes are Play, Learning and Work. His proposition is straightforward. Instead of living your life in three big boxes of play (as a child), learning (when you are in school) and work (for most of your life) and play (in retirement if you are lucky) it was far better to live each day with some play, learning and work.
She was clearly living in the box called work and was oblivious to most other dimensions of her life. She exercised, but even referred to this as “working out”. This activity was clearly held as something she had to do (for fitness and health), rather than something that produced any enjoyment at all.
We worked together to slowly develop the practices for learning, playing and even bringing play and learning into her work. The result is a woman more engaged in her relationships with people, more alive in her work projects, more visionary in her work projects, better able to deal with the day-to-day setbacks and interruptions of life and more at peace with herself and her role in the world. Finally she is able to see when these patterns are not taking place (and even anticipate them) and self-correct quickly to get re-aligned with her own intent, and re-connected to what she cares about.
This person came to me with the story that he did not trust himself to move out of his comfort zone. He saw over and over again that he wanted to build his capacity, but never seemed to be able to establish any practices that would stick longer the 2-3 weeks. It had gotten to the point that he was not only not able to persist in create any new skill or competence and he was not able to master any new content an, disciple. Worse he had lost faith in his own ability to even attempt these kinds of changes anymore. He felt stuck in his relationships – attracting the same kind of women over and over. He was not advancing in his work or career, because he was not able to bring any new energy or new thinking to his projects or the teams he participated on or lead.
I decided to engage with him not only as a coach but also to partner with him to expand his capability in some way. I offered to join him so that both of us could support each other through the next stage of our mutual growth. We looked at a number of areas that we each wanted to develop in ourselves: improved capability with and prosperity of money; learning about bio-feedback; taking a class together Spiral Dynamics based on Ken Wilbur’s work; engaging in a spiritual training through my church or just getting fit together by establishing and working toward some fitness goals.
Ultimately we decided to focus on generating greater vitality and energy for ourselves. We focused on a developing and following a program for improving our personal energy physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I knew that he (and I) needed some structure, but that at the same time that we tended to rebel against a structure if we did not set and hold the context well. We had to keep alive the benefit for ourselves and have fun doing it. We also each saw that we could use this development process to balance between pulling each other ahead and encouraging each other and at the same time maintain some sort of competitive challenge to it. This worked only if we maintained our awareness about our on-going attitude about what we were each experiencing.
I am able to help him by organizing his learning and development around something that he and I both cared about, by modeling the kind of persistence and follow-through that he is looking for and by showing him that he has something to teach about moving beyond his limits and building his muscles in key areas of life – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
We developed a mild, but consistent workout plan where we rarely worked out together, but reported to each other every other day. We kept a diary about our positive and negative emotional reactions, discussed our findings and helped each other reflect on what we discovered. He interviewed a few of my colleges and friends and I did the same for him. We used these background findings as gist for improving our emotional intelligence and for partnering in improving our respective relationships. We also kept track of what we were producing at work as a way to determine how mentally challenged we were. We both noticed a shift from reacting to the actions and requests of other to producing more of our own thinking and taking more initiative with those around us. We were learning to stretch out mental muscles rather than doing the same thinking over and over. Finally we each started meditating 3 times a week and doing spiritual reading on trips, weekends, etc. We would read the same book and stay in e-mail and phone conversation about what the chapters were producing in us – questions, assumptions, connections and insights. We were careful not to overwhelm ourselves and had to cut back at least twice to make sure we were doing what worked rather than trying to keep up to a schedule for exercise, reading, journaling that we knew would not be fruitful or successful. We were also very aware how conscious we had to stay as we established these practices.
He ended up regaining a great deal of confidence in himself as he extended himself into the world in a stronger, more focused and peaceful way. Better work assignments started coming to him, he was having more conversations and dates with more interesting women, he felt more healthy and physically stronger, particularly in his “core” muscles. And his sense of peace and acceptance about his role in the world was at an all time high (according to him). I had many of the same results and felt more prepared to deal with and even prompt the change that was necessary in my world. While we have ended our shared set of exercises and practices, we have each found other people we are working with to continue our personal development and growth. We still stay in touch periodically to check in about our progress, our learning and our missteps – and how we get up again and persist.