Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The (Not So) Secret Goal 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.

What is the unique, big gift you were designed to bring to the world?



Anonymous said...

Let's look at this another way then - what do OTHER people want for my life?

And let’s have a little fun! ;)

1. my parents want me to:
be utterly risk-avoidant - especially around risks of a financial, physical, or career nature;
marry a partner who shares their values to at least 90%;
do as they do, think as they do, and therefore be "right" at all times.

2. my friends want me to:
be happy and fulfilled;
to be supportive and wise, without being a know-it-all;
to partner with someone who helps me develop as a person.

Wow, I'm only talking about the people who love me, and already I see irreconcilable contradictions there!

Let's move out a level, to people I have personal business with.

3. my landlord wants me to:
exist in stasis all the time I'm in his property, leaving no trace of personal decor or normal human habitation. In other words, do anything BUT feel at home...

4. my boss wants me to:
be prepared to do several multiples of my paid work, for a single wage, as part of a country-wide culture of unpaid overtime (I'm in the UK);
to live and breathe ways to increase her profits - without expectation of any reward;
to never fall sick, or be bereaved, or have any problem that diverts me from my work - oh, and be fanatically loyal to her personally, as well as to the brand in general, while in clear contractual terms having no such expectation of that loyalty being returned.

Well, I guess there's a certain harmony there, since no-one wants me lounging in a hot bath of a Saturday morning, wearing out the plumbing, when I could be out wearing holes in the boss's furniture - doing unpaid overtime!

Yup, soundin' good!

Now: the outer world (and I'll try to post it in another comment, to split this monkey up!)

Anonymous said...

5. the government wants me to:
pay the highest taxes possible, ideally before the due date;
have no morals or ethics higher than obedience to the letter of the law, and that only ever as interpreted by the current administration;
to believe whatever I'm told regarding the environment, and the extent to which I need to surrender previously inviolate liberties;
above all, to keep any dissent regarding any policy or action (including illegal acts conducted by government officials, with or without sanction from their masters) restricted solely to my four-yearly trip to the ballot box.

Joining organisations like Amnesty gets me hotlisted for a higher level of surveillance, as does following certain religions, or being from some ethnic groups.

6. big pharma, and the whole healthcare industry, wants me to be:
chronically sick with an incurable condition - preferably still in work though, so I can pay the endless bills;
actively hostile to anyone who suggests that readily available changes or additions to my diet may treat or reverse any illness, and above all they want me unquestioning, and in awe of their annointed priests, doctors. "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing" after all!

7. junk food merchants want me to:
mistake their fatty, over-processed, unhealthy crud for a treat, and even a wholesome diet staple;
to have no preferences regarding use of GMOs, transfats, and any other substance currently approved by the FDA. Animal welfare needs to be a total non-issue for me, as does workers' rights, and the environment. "Shut up and eat up" is the best way to sum up their fondest dreams - for my precious and only life.

So this group want me rich, sick, white, agnostic, unopinionated, disempowered, and above all rejecting any voice but their own.

Okay, hands up I'm exaggerating, and my own cynical view on big pharma et al is in play.

But really, am I THAT far off the mark, when it comes to what actions in my life would best increase their bottom line? I truly think not.

If nothing else, it demonstrates that strong and important expectations others have of us, that are important to their own well-being, are almost always irreconcilable, and often downright hazardous to INDIVIDUAL well-being. Not to mention trickier concepts, like self-actualization, conscience, and empowerment.

And while I have to confess to having avoided, ignored, or otherwise dealt with these third-party hopes and expectations (at least where it seemed reasonable, wise & moral to do so), there have been times when I've been snared in each of them, and it was only coaching and spiritual explorations that got me out of the trap.

Ooooh, looooong comment here, but your post hit a nerve, and ultimately I also found it thought-provoking: how now to live in a world when all MY expectations of others, explicit and implied, see them living fulfilling lives?

Food for thought! ;)

Michael D. Warden said...

@raininspain -- Love the rant!

And yes, sometimes (often? more often than not?) it can feel to me like everyone in my world is telling me, "I love you and I have a wonderful plan for your life."