I get this all the time from coaches. It’s a question that I believe every coach asks themselves at one time or another. I have faced this with my own doubt and frustration many a time in my nearly 11 years of being a coach.
“How can I coach a client on their money issues when I’m caught up in debt?”
“How can I coach my client on cleaning up their office when I’m sitting in a messy office?”
“How can I coach my client on their marriage when I’m having fights with my wife?”
and even more recently, “How can I possibly coach coaches on BEing MasterFull when I just had a crappy coaching session like that one?”
Well, you could look at it that way. If that’s the case, then you have to have everything perfect in your life handled before you can coach. You have to be making lots and lots of money and be a financial whiz. You must have an immaculate office and living space, adorable children and an amazing spouse. You never fight, feel frustrated, angry, overwhelmed, disappointed, stuck or unsure of yourself. You must always be working your plan–your clear and powerful plan that ties with your values and utilizes your strengths. You must be continually succeeding in your goals, no matter how big and outrageous they may seem to others. You must work out an hour every day, meditate every day, write out your plan every day, take out free time for yourself every day, play with your kids every day, take your loved one on a date every day, live in a big house, drive an amazing car, and basically have all your S*** together. Oh yes, and everyone loves you… all the time. And you love everyone… all the time.
Now when I last checked there were likely about 20,000 coaches worldwide (probably more), which means that there are 20,000 people living perfect lives so they can help other people live perfect lives.
All of them have it all figured out… except YOU!
Or, we could look at it this way.
Coaching is not about living perfect lives. It’s not about having everything figured out. It’s not about having an amazing workspace, immaculate health, incredible relationships and families in big houses with all the time in the world to complete all your dream projects to change the world…
It’s about being in the conversation. It’s about continuing to exmine your life from as many angles possible. It’s about catching yourself when you’re in your unconscious “bad” habits that keep you stuck, and intentionally focusing your energy towards “good” and empowering habits that create.
So I say, CONGRATULATIONS. You’ve got crap you’re dealing with. Most likely it’s the same or similar crap that your clients are dealing with. EVEN BETTER! (Extra bonus of coaching is sometimes you can learn from your clients, too.)
What’s important is that you are continuing your own work, committing to your own growth and development, and focusing on creating change and success in the areas that are satisfying and fulfilling to YOU!
So if you’re not living a perfect life (and I’m still searching for that one person who is) then you are in the perfect position to BE supportive, engaging, challenging, empowering, nuturing, and out of the box with your clients.
So embrace your crap. Love your crap. It’s your crap that makes you completely qualified to BE a wonderful coach.
Now it’s time for your thoughts and comments. please share cause I know I haven’t covered every angle of this topic. What’s your take?
As I read your post, what pops up for me is that as human beings, we are inherently imperfect. And this reminds me of the wonderful book by Brene Brown The Gifts of Imperfection (which, by the way, seems like a great coaching question-what are the gifts of your imperfections?). The subtitle of her book seems particularly appropriate for this conversation: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. Isn’t a big part of coaching about learning who we are at our core essence and creating a life experience that’s in alignment with this? And isn’t it about dropping other people’s expectations of us and the beliefs we have gotten from others that don’t serve? For all the lip service we pay to perfection, in the end, I think we’re all striving to be the best version of ourselves (not the perfect version, not the version that everyone else “thinks” we should be).
It’s our imperfections that make us human and it’s the human connection that makes coaching work (truly-studies show that the single biggest factor for success in coaching is the connection between the coach and client). In my experience, our clients don’t want us to be perfect-they want us to be real, authentic, vulnerable. They want to know that we’ve been there and done that and can understand and empathize. The difference is that we’re just father along on the path, though we’re all on the same journey. We’re standing in the energy that our clients want to be in and we hold it for them until they are ready to claim it for themselves.
So yes, Ben, I agree with you that being human is one of the best qualifications for a coach to have and that being perfect is not a requirement for coaching. (yes, we can all set those perfectionist gremlins aside) And, at the same time, I believe it’s really important for us as coaches to continually be striving to be the best version of ourselves. We owe it both to ourselves and our clients.
Once again you have perfectly provided some wonderful insight. Then again, I don’t know if it’s appropriate, given the topic, to say that it’s indeed perfect.
I love the reminder to let go of who we think we’re supposed to be, and without negating the rest of that, what also pops up for me is to turn our attention to who we choose to be, wish to be, want to be, and continue taking steps down that pathway. But, much like the horizon, we’ll never actually reach it. But it’s sure to be a fun journey along the way.