Pre pandemic I found myself doing less one to one coaching and more workshops, team coaching and development programmes for teams. I put so much energy into building this side of the business that I stopped talking about coaching. I loved the work that I was doing, and so I didn't miss the deeper one to one work. I didn't realise that I missed it until this year.
And now I have fallen in love with it again and I want more of it in my life. As I begin to plan for the year ahead, I felt it was important to reflect on the why behind my refocus.
I have always held the belief that we can all achieve our full potential if we are clear about what we want and have someone who believes in us a little more than we believe in ourselves.
Before the pandemic, clients would come to me when they needed to improve some aspect of the careers, lives or leadership. They often had a short term goal and wanted a quick result. I loved coaching, but it seemed that the coaching topics were often short term, low level problems.
Since the pandemic, the quality of the coaching clients, topics and work has really levelled up. Clients are ready to design their lives around longer term goals. They want to put changes in place now that will create long term and sustainable impact on them, their people, relationships and loved ones. Ultimately, the shift is from short termism to legacy.
Before the pandemic, leaders would come to me to create some breathing space. They were operating at full capacity, jumping from meeting to meeting, deadline to deadline and were exhausted. They were operating in high stress and couldn't think beyond the immediate.
Now we emerge from the sprint, we are adjusting to marathon pace. Goals are longer term. We have all had time to reflect on what we want, who we want to be and how we want to show up.
We feel like global citizens, not only facing global issues together, but connecting to a human experience together. We learned that it is good to care about one another, our environment, and our planet. We have had the opportunity to get out of our own heads, and look up, look around and appreciate.
It doesn't matter whether you are a CEO, Director, New Manager or starting a business or charity. We are all humans experiencing the same experience. Same ocean, different boat.
And then come the burning questions.
If I don't want to return to my life before, what do I want and how do I create it?
The shift in clients
The pandemic has given us all time to re-evaluate what is important to us. We had time to remember what is important.
- We’ve been reminded of what is and what isn’t important.
- We’ve learned that we don’t need as much stuff as we thought.
- We’ve remembered that there’s no place like home.
- We’ve discovered news ways of working and how we want to work.
- We’ve avoided the commute, busy roads and hectic lifestyles.
- We’ve reconnected with nature, noticed sunsets, listened to the birds.
- We’ve realised that we can do a lot more from home than we ever thought possible.
- We’ve realised how vulnerable we are and that we need to take care of our futures.
- We’ve reconsidered our priorities in life.
- We’ve appreciate freedom.
- We’ve become a lot more reflective, mindful and purposeful.
The love of coaching
At times during the pandemic I felt more connected with my family and friends than ever before. We couldn't see each other in person, so we used technology to stay connected, build relationships, play games, show our "projects" or just chat.
My coaching work created that same connection with my clients. We created a space together to be absolutely present with each other. I listen with all my senses, care intensely about them, creating trust and being open and sharing. There is something very special happening in that moment, it is unlike any other relationship I have. Because we both value the coaching space, we both prioritise it and don't rush from meeting to meeting, frazzled and unsettled. Instead, we learn to take some breathes and show up in the present moment.
Coaching conversations have shifted to legacy conversations. Clients have had time to evaluate the life they want in a post pandemic world. In the old world we would plan day to day, maybe looking ahead to next year, but rarely thinking 5, 10 or 20 years from now. This shift in conversations and outlook has enabled me to coach on really important, life affirming topics. I have been able to help clients get clarity, design their lives and their futures. The sessions are deeper, more purpose driven and grounding. It's made me eager for each session as I see people literally reignite before me.
A coaching conversation is always aiming somewhere. The client brings the topic. We get clarity on goals, designing actions and getting clear on who they must be, as well as what they must do to achieve their version of success. I love it when the client dares to speak their true desires, and then, with my help, realises that it is all within their power. They see truth, clarity and gain conviction.
When I coach someone, they usually come to me with a mask on. It might be the mask of their job title, the cloak of responsibility, the labels that define their thinking and direction. Soon I begin to coach the whole person. They show up fully present, egoless and free. I guess this comes back to the connection again. I get a huge feeling of love, pride and trust when I see the barriers come down and the whole person shows up. That takes huge amounts of courage and vulnerability, but once the client gets there, there is no going back. They show up fully, and I show them that they are awesome. They just need to lead authentically and with integrity.
An energy emerges that becomes an unstoppable force. Motivation is heightened. Passion is activated. That is not to say we don't talk about the pain, the frustration, failures and guilt. That is essential. And so we clear that and move onto freedom, without the heavy burden of what has been weighing the client down. The energy shift energises me. In the coaching, we are in synergy. So when they leave on a high, so do I.
So next year I will do more coaching. I will use my energy to attract clients who want to design the life they want, lead authentically and make a positive impact on their people and world around them.