This past year, I’ve been studying, learning and integrating a new form of coaching to enhance what I’ve been doing for the past 20 years. This coaching method builds and expands on how I’ve been coaching until now and it brings the opportunity for deeper self awareness leading to profound personal transformations.
“Change happens on many different levels within a person: mental, emotional, practical and systemic.”
Change happens on many different levels within a person: mental, emotional / feelings, practical (habits, behaviours) and systemic / collective. To date my coaching has been largely a mental reflective activity, with short yet crucial journeys into the emotional depths of our individual being. My clients and I also explore practical, systemic and collective aspects of their issues and find ways to implement changes including building new habits and creating systemic supports. This type of coaching works and has served my clients really well for the range of leadership development and career change issues that they bring to coaching.
The short emotional journeys that my clients have taken with me in the past have often created essential breakthroughs to help them discover key internal obstacles that have been holding them back. That’s because our most stubborn blocks and barriers are emotional, encoded in body sensations and feelings. They can’t be easily changed with mental work alone because they are not rational and they are often unconscious.
I have found that the simple process of noticing, feeling and accepting these emotional blocks causes them to move. Often they have been frozen in place for years. When they move they can release, causing a previously unnoticed barrier to change. These barriers were created within us for important reasons, protecting us from feelings that we could not handle in another situation at a younger age. By gently, gradually and safely feeling these feelings together, we bring them to light so that they can transform in ways that support our current situation rather than keeping us stuck in the past.
“…our most stubborn blocks and barriers are emotional, encoded in body sensations and feelings.”
Those clients who I have been able to help to transform these inner emotional blocks have experienced surprising and rapid change. For example, one of my clients was suddenly able to speak out in meetings when he had conflicting yet important ideas. He didn’t notice the change until after a meeting when he suddenly realized he had spoken up and easily stayed engaged during a provocative discussion. This block had been a stubborn barrier to his influence in the organization.
Another client was contemplating a career change because he was unable to stay positive and motivated during the tough times that his organization was facing. He had spent the past decade as a successful sales leader riding the cresting wave of business in Asia. When the tide turned, he lost his motivation and became depressed by the changes in circumstances that were forcing his company to shrink, or change. He was looking for a way out. Instead of quitting, with my help, he felt the emotional set-point, it shifted and released. He was then able to summon the inspiration he needed to lead his organization in transformation. Step by step he created new support systems for himself and he established a new role in the marketplace for his organization. Once this hidden emotional barrier was felt and accepted, a dam broke in his creative leadership that allowed him to move forward towards new types of success in what had previously felt like an impossible situation.
Despite these successes, I have also come across many clients who could not feel these critical feelings in the way my former methodology required. Many people have learned to block, smother or suppress certain emotions. While some of us can feel some of ourselves, it is the norm to have lost touch with many aspects of our emotional selves. In education and in the world of work, we focus almost exclusively in the mental realm, ignoring emotional aspects of situations, and therefore limiting ourselves in our creativity, intuition, empathy, relationship and trust building. While this setting aside of a core human capability may have helped us in our scientific and business pursuits to date, the current demands for innovation in all parts of society means we must get back in touch with our emotional lives.
“…the current demands for innovation in all parts of society means we must get back in touch with our emotional lives.”
More diversity in the workplace can drive more innovation, and it will also require more emotional intelligence, as the most challenging differences between people are emotional. For example, as we aim for more women in senior leadership roles, we must also make space for the emotional patterns that women bring. Women in general have been conditioned to suppress anger and show sadness, while it is the opposite for men. In order to express emotions appropriately, we must feel them consciously. By growing our emotional awareness and acceptance, we can find appropriate control.
Another critical fallout from our habitual disconnection from our emotions is our loss of connection to ourselves as alive beings inseparable from the living environment. This collective illusion of disconnection from nature is what allows us to continue destroying our own home with our most habitual ordinary daily actions, without feeling the painful consequences of what we are doing.
“…a much slower pace of conversation where we tap into the inner reality that happens behind all our usual mental noise.”
That’s why I’m very excited to be able to integrate and offer this new coaching process. What’s required is a much slower pace of conversation where we tap into the inner reality that happens behind all our usual mental noise. My role is to feel along with you and to keep you feeling safe and free, and to discover something new that you were not aware of before. It’s actually very simple.
Now I can help any of my clients, who are essentially stable and successful people, to move towards those crucial feelings that are blocking them, no matter how unconscious they are. Always working within the comfort and willingness of each client, we can explore more deeply into the emotional realms where we can find new sources for positive transformation.
Happy New Year! May 2020 bring us opportunities to express more fully our whole connected selves!