Thursday, January 27, 2011

M...My Life Coach

I'd mentioned earlier in the month that Team Jo might include a Life Coach.  And now it does.  And her name is M (well, okay, that's not her real name).  When I started out a few weeks ago, I wasn't exactly sure what a Life Coach is or what they do.  Actually, I still don't entirely know.  But it can't hurt, right?  I'm only a few days away from sabbatical commencement and still don't have an entirely formed plan.  But, I'll tell you, I'm already having some pretty interesting insights based solely on my "complimentary" sessions.

How did this whole thing go down?  Well, to start, I have to tell you I'm still not sure what I need them for.  Or what I want them to do.  Or if I need one.  But, since they're a life coach, I'm hoping they can help me answer these questions.

A couple weeks ago I'd had AskSunday (virtual assistants) try to find some Life Coaches in the area, and a bit about the certifications that exist.  I called a few that they found and was interested to learn that they pretty much do all the coaching on the phone.  So, while it was fine that I found coaches like 10 miles away, it doesn't actually matter. I didn't hear back from all the folks I called, so decided to expand my search nationally.  I found to be super helpful.  It seems like they pretty much all do an initial complimentary consultation, so I decided to interview three of them.  I'd set up the calls for every few days over the past couple weeks.

J1 talks.  A lot.  About herself.  I know this is a complimentary session and so not truly a "coaching" session, but doesn't she actually want to know anything about me?  After 5 minutes of me sharing, she spends another 40 talking about all the things she could do for my career.  While I could see a career coach being super helpful (and most of these guys do both), I really want to focus on the whole life part.  My career is great.  My personal life, however, appears to have some holes (more on that coming up below).  So I'm pretty disinterested by the end.  $395 for three 45 minute sessions.  My text to a friend afterwards reads something like "Life coach sucked.  WTF.  Hope next is better."

I may have met my twin.  She's relatively aggressive from the start which, ironically, makes me a bit uncomfortable.  But I'm thinking maybe someone who challenges me a bit isn't a bad thing.  I'm used to manipulating situations, so perhaps someone who can call me on my bullshit would be a refreshing experience (albeit annoying at times).  And then she asks me "what's the biggest thing missing in your life?".  And a weird thing happens.  I actually tear up.  Huh.  Something's going on here, and I'm thinking that I'd better go find those therapy phone numbers I'd filed away temporarily under "unnecessary".  Team Jo may need a therapist after all.  This is a healthy, but irritating, revelation.  And, without much pause (other than composing myself from the tears), I answer "a relationship".  Seriously?!  This is a bit of a surprise to me.  That's the biggest thing missing?  But I'm the one who always has it together.  Who doesn't need anyone.  Who's blissful in single-dom.  I'd recently written down a goal for my six weeks around figuring out a career plan for the next 12 months and beyond.  And I'm talking to a life coach about not being in a relationship?  Whoa.  This is now getting interesting.

She does have a couple of good tidbits worth sharing. 
  • Coaching should be about "asking thought provoking questions"
  • Clearing out "tolerations" should be an early task.  These are things that you deal with, but annoy you.  She gave an example of a guy who's sprinklers would go off every morning when he was in the shower, and he'd get a seriously cold blast of water.  But he never took the three minutes to just change the sprinkler timer.  Apparently clearing these things out will help clear the mind for better focus.  I'm going to be making a list.
  • In the coaching relationship, I let her know what I want to accomplsh and then she'll help me focus on that.  I'm still having a hard time with defining what I want to accomplish, but sounds like she can help.
  • Light the "should" list on fire.  If it's important, you would be doing it.
  • Goals are great, focus is better.
$300/month for three sessions (with one week off).

I go into the M session thinking I'm going with J2.  I mean, in 40 minutes, she has me reeling thinking about ditching all this career focus and figuring out what's the deal with my personal life.  M gives me time to introduce myself without interruption, which is lovely.  "What's one thing that if it changed would make time with a life coach successful" she says.  Still struggling with this one.  Then she gets spiritual on me.  "We know the answers.  But we need to stop and hear them".  Strangely, this totally resonates and I'm starting to get interested.  "Why can't you find what I'm looking for", "Why is it eluding you".  These are the questions she says she can help me answer.  To which I reply, "Can you help me figure out what I'm looking for?".  I'm advised that, yes, a life coach can come in during the introspection process. 

I'm sold.  About $300 for four sessions in February.  So, let me formally introduce you to my new life coach, M.  My first assignment?  Emailing her three limiting beliefs.  Hmm.  Will have to come back to that one. 

Do you have limiting beliefs?  Hasta, sabbaticaljo

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