Monday, June 20, 2005

The Paradox of Coaching

Critics of the coaching process and relationship often say that the entire work of life coaching is nothing more than a glorified form of "navel gazing." All this focusing on what you want, what you value, what you dream for your life--it's selfish. It's just another self-serving expression of our culture's obsession with "me, my & mine."

But these critics do not understand that coaching contains a powerful paradox--rooted in this fundamental attribute of every human heart: We find our true purpose and true meaning in life not in what we get for ourselves, but in what we give away. By diving into the exploration of our heart's true desires, everyone eventually comes to realize that what they really want--what would truly make their lives happy and fulfilled--is to surrender their hearts to a purpose and a calling that is greater than themselves. Our deepest desire is to become an active player in a grand, wondrous story that is bigger and more meaningful than any story we could tell on our own.

And so coaching, which on the surface seems to be all about you, is ultimately not really about you at all, but about the big gift you were created to give away to the world.


Anonymous said...

How often does the one being coached look to you to do the work for him/her?

Michael D. Warden said...

It happens in just about every coaching relationship, especially at the point of my clients' greatest fears. "Just tell me what to do!" The desire is really to abdicate responsibility, because the fear of making the wrong choice is very big.

However, whenever this happens I always call my clients on it, and demand they step up and take responsibility for their own life and their own choices. To do anything less would be to hold them as smaller and less capable than they truly are.