Conversations with my Life Coach

“A conversation with a coach is unlike any other conversation” (Stephen Hedger)

It’s taken me way too long to really appreciate the full significance of those words.  Yes clearly this is the case. But it is much deeper than that!  Really??!

Yes because a conversation with a coach is a special type of two way exchange.  The client deep (in my case) in her turmoil. The coach has to listen – and by that I mean really listen to reach the core of what that turmoil is.  How else can he know which tools to use to help. And it was this that was basically giving me the heebie-jeebies!   I’d convinced myself that I am not a good listener.

I’d failed to keep my focus on Stephen’s statement!  A coaching conversation is totally different.  I will be there to listen and really listen.  Not to sit and take notes (gosh I found that irritating when I went to see a psychologist during one of my failed attempts in the beginning to get help).  And I suddenly realised the significance of the ice-breaker session we did at the beginning of that NLP Course I attended.  Something I was finding difficult to explain to one of my friends who, quite rightly, queried what had been achieved by such an in-depth exercise!

I now believe we were being encouraged to LISTEN. Really concentrate at a level  of attentiveness which goes way beyond what any of us would probably do normally.  Because those of us who want to become coaches will need to reach this level of attentiveness so we really hear what the client is saying – and so be able to use their words – not to paraphrase, or put our own spin on them.  What is interesting is that even two weeks later I can still remember quite a lot of what the others in my group said and in some cases the words they used. I can’t remember their names – but I didn’t need to – we were all wearing name badges.

And during that session I had no desire whatsoever to interrupt any of the group.  I had no desire to help them out  – I wanted them to be able to do it for themselves (which is what we’d been asked to do) and I found myself silently egging them on to achieve it.  I didn’t interrupt!

I’m just kicking myself on how slow I am for the penny to drop!!

How often are we heard?

I thank Counting Ducks for sparking this post.

How often are we really heard?  How often do we really say how we feel?  So often as listeners we don’t listen and as speakers we couch what we want to say in a cloud of suggestion in our attempts to avoid hurting the person who we are speaking to.

So why?

Well, as listeners, we will put our own take on what we hear based on our past experiences so probably miss the exact point the other person is trying to make.  And so often, in the case of a chance encounter, we are so eager to speak about ourselves that our inquiries of the other person are cursory at best!

This happened to a very close friend of mine who had breast cancer.   A few months before she died she bumped into a friend in our local town who she hadn’t seen for several years.

The friend greeted her “How lovely to see you J.  How are you?”

J:  “I’m dying!”

Friend: “Oh darling how lovely.  I must tell you what I’ve been doing since I last saw you……..”

Fortunately J found it funny!

So how do we improve our listening.  I’ve been thinking about this a great deal.

I’ve just finished reading “Time to Think” by Nancy Kline. A book I  thoroughly recommend.  She suggests we create Thinking Environments and Partnerships.  Thus allowing one person to think out loud whilst the other LISTENS!  And when the listener does speak the important thing to do is to repeat exactly what the Thinker has decided is the issue they wish to address.  It isn’t the job of the Listener to solve the issue.  They listen and allow the thinker to think.  Think out loud and so think things through.  The Listener’s job is to frame a question incorporating the Thinker’s issue, using the Thinkers exact words and then repeat it each time the Thinker runs dry.  So resparking the Thinker to think.

This has huge potential as it has two wonderful effects.  Firstly it encourages us all to really think for ourselves, say out loud what we really think rather than ‘go with the flow’, modify what we’ve said and so spark another thought.  And secondly it encourages the other half of the partnership to listen and listen incredibly attentively and so hear things we would usually miss. And maybe by listening more we learn and understand more.

Interesting concept!


I’m having a wobble!

I’ve just spent an hour early this morning lying in bed and shouting at the wall

“How could Alex do this to me?”

Of course the answer lies with Alex and only he knows so really no point in asking the question.  He’s done what he’s done.  And I just have to get on with it.

I think this was triggered by finding out yesterday that he’s spending the next 10 days at the parental home of his new woman.  Which is what he did last year.  So nothing new there.  And I know this is all linked to my inability to “let go” and I’m feeling sorry for myself.

And still to wish he would come rushing back and ask forgiveness is a bit Hollywood – real life doesn’t happen that way.  Sadly!!

Do you know I’m in danger of becoming one of those women I totally have no time for, who years down the line are still wandering round in a sort of droopy pathetic way and who when asked how they are reply –  in a  attention seeking way: “Oh coping you know”.


So I’ve got to stop doing this to myself.

And thank you AJ for your comments (and your advice  and suggestions on my lack of fridge) – it’s great to know there are people out there egging me on.

So sod it – I have to live up to the current title of this blog or I’ll have to revert back to it’s original title (see This Blog page) which seems rather defeatist and I am not going to be defeated.

I have to value myself more.  I want to value myself more!   After all I told everyone at my party a month ago that I loved the new me I was finding and because of that, because of what I was learning and discovering, I wouldn’t have missed what I’d been through for the world.  Despite all the terrifying, abject horror of the experience.

Well having said that – and meant it – I’d better live up to it now.  Tough though!

It’s just I didn’t see at the time there was a whole lot more horror to go through!

I need to understand my values, learn to apply them, set the rules, focus and have some goals!

Now where is any of that difficult?? – Apart from all of it!!!

And I not only owe it to me but to everyone who is egging me on.  All those who have stood at the top of the ventilation shaft of my own Chilean Mine and yelled encouragement at me!!!

And what a waste of all the life coaching sessions if I give up now!!

This post is having the desired effect as I am now smiling again!


A time to be kind to myself

I have come a long way in a fairly short time. When I think back to the beginning of August when I started the Coaching – I am in such a different place now.

My goal then was to get my marriage back on  track.  Fortunately Stephen pointed out how limiting that goal was and I agreed my goal should be “To be happy”.

And I have achieved that.

I am much more content with who I am – more than I have been for years.  Yes it has been hard to admit some things to myself. It has been hard to admit there were things that were wrong in my marriage.  It has been hard to admit I had not been honest with myself.

Yes it has been tough – but so so worth it.

And now I know I need to live my life to its full potential.  To grab my future  with both hands and to find the courage which has sustained me throughout the last 20 months to go this next step.  To overcome the fear I have and realise that I will get what I want. So if I make my goals small then I will only achieve small things but if I can give myself the chance to ‘reach for the sky’ then I may – just may – surprise myself.

So I am not going to give up now.  I have come this far it would be a shame just to settle for what I have now when I could have so much more.

I want to grow.

I want to be more than I am now – in a loving, kind but ambitious way.  Not in a hard tough way!  It has to be fun and I shall continue to see the funny side of life!

I want to be loved – and hopefully soon!   I really do so miss being loved – in every aspect of what  that means.  I hate sleeping on my own!    But that person – whoever he is  – will need to want me to go on being me and love watching me grow – because I don’t want to miss out on any aspects of my future.  I WANT IT ALL!!!

This is a new phase I am about to enter.  It’s scary – but then as I so often say to those who work for me  – being scared is good if all you’re scared of is failure  – it means you will strive to achieve rather than settling for 2nd best. So all I need to do is practice what I preach!

So I’m giving myself a week or so of just being kind to myself.

I have my big Thank You Party in 10 days or so for all the people who have cared for me during this time.

Then I have the final sort out of my divorce. Which will be so sad and final but has to be done.  I don’t want the person Alex has become or is at the moment.  There is no future in loving someone who doesn’t love you back.  There’s no point in inflicting any more pain on myself.

Then I will need to really focus on my future.  And I will.

Love and anguish

So Alex came round to see me yesterday afternoon – to talk – again.

Actually he came round to tell me  he definitely did not want to be with me ever again.

Then somehow we got talking and crying (both of us) and he ended up giving me a lovely long hug.  We hugged for over an hour.

I just feel numb now.

If this really is it and it is over then I don’t want to see him again – ever – it’s the only way I will truly get over this  – and I told him so.

I was / am prepared to go through the next stage of the relationship coaching to help us as a couple but he has to want to too and be totally committed to it and I don’t think he is.

He also said all he ever wanted to do was look after me.  And I know I stopped him doing that when actually all I ever wanted was to be looked after.  Oh God why didn’t I trust him. Why did I do it all wrong.

(he did confirm one thing I know about myself  – I don’t listen – as in truly listen.  But then he didn’t talk….)

I should have listened – really listened

My lakeside walk this morning has been very beneficial.

Not just for the tranquility and serenity of the surroundings but for something that has finally dawned.  This is not been a very pleasant revelation but one I must face.

I don’t listen.  Oh I hear the words but I am far too quick to put my own spin on what’s being said and I only heard what I wanted to hear.

I have a horrible suspicion that Alex did try to talk to me but gave up as I refused  – or was not prepared – to really listen.  No wonder he sought comfort elsewhere.  No wonder he felt it wasn’t working for him.

I know I am not a controlling and horrible person.  BUT given the fact that Alex came from a family where only his mother’s views prevailed and he and his siblings have all grown up very diffident and unable to express themselves in a calm assertive manner then no wonder we ended up in this mess.

I have two VERY assertive brothers – both of whom hold very strongly to their points of view and who – when we were growing up – often made me feel that my views were not worth considering.  I have a nasty suspicion that with Alex I found someone who always agreed with me and so I became the very thing I dislike in my brothers.

Yuck!  This has not been very pleasant to face.

Sadly it may well be too late for Alex and me.  I have no idea if I can put things right.

And he did try to make me listen.  He has kept saying to me over the last 17 months that he couldn’t talk to me.  Blimey I really wouldn’t listen to this ‘cry’ for attention.  This plea for me to listen.

If I could turn the clock back I would – knowing what I do now.