I take it for granted now that there is often a theme that arises from my coaching clients. Somehow, they come to their sessions with common issues and I have stopped wondering why and just accept that this is part of how the Universe works. This past week’s theme though is a theme that hit me personally.
Men just aren’t listening! It’s time to speak up, ladies.
My first client is working on healthier boundaries with an ex-husband who was financially abusive. She is frustrated at the litany of topics she can’t bring up with him when they discuss co-parenting because he gets defensive, argues, and turns the tables on her. My second client is a CFO at a very successful company and is working on her leadership style. She is frustrated with a partner in the company who refuses to take responsibility for any challenges but wants all the credit for the triumphs. Both said to me on their coaching call: “I can’t say anything to him because I don’t want to deal with the fallout.”
Are you not speaking up because you don’t want to have to deal with the listener not liking what you have to say?
And then, just to drive the lesson home, the Universe sends me several messages to watch the Super Soul Sunday episode with Glennon Doyle Melton where I received the clear message: “There is a system to telling the truth that splits women in two. It’s very hard for the world to hear the truth from a woman. Since negative emotions are less acceptable from a woman, we sometimes end up telling our truth in different ways than words. We tell the truth in harmful ways: they say I’m not fine with a credit card, or they say I’m not fine with overeating, they say I’m not fine with booze, or sex, or unkindness. That why it’s so powerful to integrate those two selves and tell the story of what’s going on on the inside with your words,” shared Glennon.
Deal with the fallout now or later
When are we women going to embody the full expression of ourselves? When are we going to allow ourselves to take up all the room we are meant to occupy? When are we going to be more concerned about our own feelings and break out of the prison of tiptoeing around others’ feelings?
“If you avoid conflict to keep the peace you start a war inside yourself.” – Cheryl Richardson
The thing is, human beings tend to avoid pain on a whole. We all like to avoid the unpleasant things in life. What we don’t realize is that sometimes we are turning down one road to avoid the skunk up ahead only to walk into a grizzly bear instead. What happens if my first client’s ex-husband is abusing his daughter but she doesn’t want to make waves? What happens if my second client gets scapegoated for the partner’s major spending spree? Dealing with the fallout of an uncomfortable conversation, while slightly painful, could be much less dramatic.
And what is my unspoken truth?
I don’t want to be mommy first and get to my career when it’s convenient to everyone else, not anymore. I have sacrificed my body to gestate, deliver, and feed four children. I have devoted over twenty years to their education, their emotional intelligence, their values, their mental and physical health. I have dried tears, shared belly laughs, survived road trips, attended plays and concerts, and graciously accepted macaroni art and bouquets of dandelions. I have been an excellent mother. I love them beyond words. My unspoken truth is that for me it’s not enough.
I will always be a mom and have another ten years before my nest is empty, but right now I also want to be Tammy the author, Tammy the speaker, Tammy the coach who is empowering women to speak their truth and live a full, authentic life. I am claiming my truth and standing in my full power to be my full self.
That’s my unspoken truth, what’s yours? Where in your life are you keeping silent to make others feel comfortable, and what is it costing you to keep it bottled up? Is today the day that you choose to stand in your power?
Speak up, ladies, speak up!
I can’t tell you how many people ask me what coaching really is, or how often they misconstrue it for therapy or consulting. That being said coaching is also quite difficult to describe and much easier to experience. Through a couple of examples I’ve drawn from real-life coaching situations, I’m going to try to show you what coaching can be.
Relationship coaching: My client, we will call her Sally, came to me feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, angry, and resentful at her husband and three teens. She recently returned to a fabulous career after being a stay-at-home mom, and the family was not pitching in with the housework, cooking, or laundry, leaving everything for her to do in addition to working full-time. You know that feeling ladies, when you walk into the kitchen and it’s covered in a huge mess to dig through just so you can find the counter space and pots you need to cook in!
First, we looked at the chores and meal preparation from the perspective of being overwhelmed and angry, and decided that creative or warm and fuzzy solutions were not coming from that perspective–just more frustration. So we turned the chair and faced a different side of the room, and I asked Sally to tell me about her favorite vacation spot. Her shoulders dropped and serenity washed over her as she described a family vacation at the beach. She recalled how she felt and who she was as a person while there, and even how meal preparation worked better at the beach house. And from that clearly resonant perspective, she brainstormed solutions to her current situation: She wanted to use the slow cooker more often, buy pre-cut vegetables, and re-institute Kids Cook Sundays which used to be a lot of fun for her family. In the end, I suggested a metaphor she could bring to her teens: Think of the family as an orchestra playing in the symphony, if the whole string section doesn’t show up, the piece just won’t sound the same and it is impossible for one person to play every instrument at the same time. The family needs to run like a symphony in which each person plays their part.
Sally left our Skype call session transformed and motivated to move forward with a plan that worked for her.
Career Coaching: My client, let’s call her Jane, wanted to launch a brand new product in her business but she was stuck in the “wait until it’s perfect” phase of her launch. She was paralyzed by her own inner critic. We all have that voice in our head that sabotages our biggest plans, the one that says: “Who do you think you are?” and “What will people think?” or “What if this is a total failure and you lose all the customers you have?” So I asked Jane to build a caricature of that voice in her head to personify him or her, to describe what the gremlin looked like and sounded like and to give it a name.
By really shinning a light on this saboteur, Jane was able to dissociate from the voice, recognizing that it was not her opinion but the saboteur’s opinion. From there I asked Jane questions that connected her to her true self, her wise, compassionate, courageous, and certain self and we explored the purpose of launching this product, how it was meant to affect people’s lives in a huge positive way, what her intention was behind it all, who she was becoming by serving the world through this product, and what was possible.
Jane ended our phone call empowered and successfully launched her new product.
I hope these examples gave you a small glimpse and a better understanding of what coaching is all about and how it can help in your life. Coaching is support from someone (like me) who takes the time to listen to your situation and draws on experience, and mastery of skills to offer unbiased focus (or re-focus) that helps you reach your own conclusion, solution, goal, or objective. Lastly, I often hear “I don’t have any problems and I’m comfortable with my life, why do I need coaching?” THAT is why you need coaching. Coaching is for leaping out of the comfort zone and going after your big dreams. If you are bored, not quite satisfied, and looking for big changes you need a coach like me.