I often feel in a very privileged position when working with coaching clients, as I witness their journey and personal triumphs over adversity, dilemmas, indecision, confidence or challenges to realise a new conclusion.
Most of their stories go untold and may remain in total confidence between myself and them for ever. Whereas some personal and business changes are clearly noticeable and are shared amongst colleagues and family. Although some may know the stepping stones of their success, others will only know of the final outcome.
Coaching is such a personal and profound experience that can change lives forever. I wanted to share how nearly 10 years ago with my then-coach, I used coaching to radically change my life and gave me a lifestyle I never dreamed of.
Like any good story, it happened once upon a time. It was around Christmas and on a walk with my partner (now husband) that the subject of children came up, again. The conversation this time was different as I was presented with the cold, hard statement that ‘if we want to have children, time is running out’. Sensing that the conversation was different from previous ones I asked a typical coaching question, ‘on a scale of 1 to 10 how much do you want to have children?’. Combing our scores to a miserable 8.5 out of 20 I tried to convince my partner that the numbers simply didn’t add up to us really wanting children. Ever the optimist, my partner suggested I just needed to think about it some more.
I remember thinking at the time that he’d handed me a ticking time bomb and had just walked away, knowing that I was the one who could diffuse it. So began 2 years of personal development to understand why I passionately did not want children knowing that my self-discovery could potentially lead to some hard relationship choices.
One of the routes I chose was coaching. When starting a coaching relationship, for those who’ve not experienced it before, a typical introduction session is getting to know the other person and to clarify goals or personal outcomes. I clearly stated mine as whether to get pregnant or not. My coach did confide that that was not her typical client request but that between us we’d explore what the mental barriers were.
The pivotal moment for me was in a session where I visualised my reluctance to becoming a mum by imagining going inside a room that was cluttered with thoughts, feelings and fears. I can clearly see today the room; dusty, dark with storage boxes and junk piled up high and against the walls of this inner room. I was drawn to a box that compared to the rest was bright and almost new. When I got closer I saw that in pink fluffy letters spelt the word Mummy. I remember hardly being able to speak the word. As I explored the inner image further, I noticed that the box was propped against a hidden door at the back of the room. I realised that all I needed to do was pick up the box and the door would be opened for me.
Luckily for me the story did end happy ever after as not only do I have one but two children. During my coaching all those years ago, I discovered what was inside the pink ribbon box and how to let go of the fears that were holding back my decision making. I also developed a deeper connection with my family that I never thought possible after years of being disowned. But that’s another coaching story.