Coaching from experience

As a coach, I draw on a number of tools I’ve gathered over the years: training in mediation; communication training from a variety of sources; community building work from M. Scott Peck’s FCE organization and the related Quaker tradition of gaining clarity from asking questions and listening deeply to the answers; training and certification as a coach.

But what I also draw on is my personal experience. I just completed the publication process on my book, The Wilderness of Motherhood: A memoir of hope and healing (available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback formats). I had to deal with my own excitement and enthusiasm; my boredom; my impatience; my procrastination; my overwhelm at figuring out the technical aspects of publishing and marketing; my hopes and anxiety about the outcomes.

I had to do a lot of self-management through that process. I set up accountability relationships to keep me on track. I got outside editors to help me with the tougher aspects of smoothing-out the storyline and finding the errors I couldn’t see because I was too close to the project myself. Sometimes, I had to let it rest, and I worked on acceptance of the fact that there are seasons for working on a book – and seasons for letting it incubate. I had to let go of my guilt, at times, that I wasn’t working better or faster. And then, I needed to slowly keep showing up to slog through the technical details of self-publishing.

When I work with my coaching clients, I’m not just drawing from abstract (though wonderful) concepts about how to work through difficult, long-term projects and how to achieve goals. There’s a messy self-management process that most people discover when their longings, self-defeating tendencies, strengths and weaknesses collide. I get it. I’m doing the same work my clients are doing, and we walk through their challenges together.