Coaching and Emotions – Where do you draw the line?

I never thought that being emotional was a bad thing, especially when it comes to coaching. I’ve always looked at the ability to empathize with other people and feel their pain as something that will benefit me as a coach. After my peer meeting yesterday morning, I realize that I do not know as much as I thought and that this emotional sensitivity might affect my ability to be a successful coach.

I want to be a successful life coach who will be able to help others achieve their goals and reach their ultimate potential. The question becomes then, is this something I can do while immersing myself into a deep emotional connection.

During the peer meeting we were to take turns coaching one another. I went first as the coach, only asking one or two questions, as the rest of the 25 minutes was filled by my peer partner’s Β recap of the week and other things going on. One particular thing that was brought up was the deep feeling that this is their purpose and that they sense that this is God’s will for them, to become a christian life coach and reach out to the community. They mentioned one specific way in which God was providing them with the tools necessary in order to reach those people in need and extend beyond their comfort level to help others.

I related to this, as I too feel that this is my calling and I have been blessed with the knowledge and wisdom to know that this is his plan, such that opportunities have already arose to put coaching into practice, thus opening several doors. In realizing that my peer partner’s story reflected my own heart and journey, I became filled with joy and awestruck wonder that this person was placed in my life for a reason, again solidifying my path and purpose in life. The emotion at that point was a result of that understanding. The tears in my eyes as I listened were not of sorrow or pain, they were out of understanding and confirmation.

As a coach, I think that is important to stay emotionally connected to your client. I want them to be able see that I connect with them and share in their pain or discontentment. I want them to find comfort and security in my eyes and feel drawn to me to share their fears and hopes and worries and wishes. I want to be able to relate to them, and often I can find parallels to my own experiences as they mention their own. However here is the challenge, how can I draw on my own experiences to be a help to them and not get stuck in my own web of thought regarding my situations or circumstances?

I needed additional guidance on this topic, so I consulted our trainer for more insight. Her response was more than helpful. it seems that the balance is so calculated and it is so easy to be caught up thinking of our own issues that we must remember one word, “OBJECTIVITY”.

Being objective seems to go without saying that you need to look at the situation with a fresh insight and new perspective in order to gain an understanding to be able to help the individual. She said that we will always compare what we hear to our own personal stories and the trick is being able to use our understanding of our own experiences to help the client understand their own experience. In this way it is ultimately about the client, but we can use our insight into ourselves to help reveal the insight in the individual.

I did not fully understand that until just now as I write this. It is not a hindrance to be able to become emotional, even on a spiritual level, it is a tool that one you realize you must acknowledge and then be able to step out of yourself and look at the situation from a different vantage point. I think as I continue to practice my coaching skills I am going to work hard to not become “callous” or even more objective in the face, instead I will focus on being objective in my mind.

In order to do this I think as I realize that I connect on a spiritual level I should thank God for this connection and the power of the strong emotion, and ask him to show me how he wants me to use this connection to be able to help the other person. I am going to try that as I continue on this journey!

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interest of others. Philippians 2:4

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