Rushing home from a coffee group and Creating Authenticity

As the title implies I had a very busy day on Tuesday. I went to a coffee group (get together) around 6:30 and I had to leave a little before 7:30 to make it home just in time to let the dog out, grab a drink and set up my connection to begin class.

While I was at the coffee, I did not want to leave. I was having fun visiting with friends and meeting new people. When 7:30 (7:25ish, actually) came around, I knew I had to leave, my weekly class meeting with my fellow classmate’s is something that I look forward to every week. Despite me rushing around and rushing home and making it home just in time, a deep breath and a quick prayer and I was ready for what class had in store for me!

First we debriefed about our peer meetings. In my previous post I mentioned my concern with my vulnerability on the coaching side and client side, however my peer partner volunteered to provide feedback and mentioned several time that I did a great job, and I really provided challenging questions.

This was nice to hear, especially since I was not sure how the dynamic would be perceived. Again I was reassured that they are looking forward to working with me and they are so glad that they are working with me as their coach. Immediately this was like a warm sense of relief and empowerment that came over me in a wave. I remember thinking to myself alight, thank you Lord for more empowerment, confidence, and confirmation of my (your) current plan and (your) purpose.

The main focus of the week was to tell stories that would set the stage for others to be open and authentic themselves. The main idea is that in being authentic in our stories, when can better help the client be authentic. I feel that this is a strength of mine, clearly I have no problem expressing myself or a personal story (considering in every class demo I’ve volunteered for resulted in me fighting back tears or containing a strong emotion).

I shared a personal story with the class. I fully expected to become emotional while expressing this memory/story and even said it as a disclaimer before I began. I think what allowed for me to not become fully immersed is 1) It is a positive, powerful happy story that demonstrates God’s amazing goodness and 2) We were given a 3 minute time constraint, so I wanted to make sure that I provided enough detail but was concise enough to stay within the limit. With these two things in the back of my mind (mainly the time limit) I told the story with voice inflection but no other outward expression of emotion.

There it is, I did it! I spoke of a powerful memory/story with authenticity and I was able to express my emotions with eye contact and voice inflection, rather than tears or a broken voice. If I can do that telling that powerful story, then I should be able to do that going forward! (Again praying for the holy spirit to provide me with the strength I need and his vision to see my future clients’ stories from their perspective and also an ability to view my own through a new lens)

Again, God provided. I meet with my counselor and as we were discussing the week and mindfulness, it stirred up my reoccurring feeling of loneliness. Not letting me get away from this emotion, I was instructed to go back to an earlier time where I felt this emotion. In doing this I had an “Aha moment” that put everything into perspective for me. It was like the reason for my loneliness and sadness clicked.

Growing up in a family where alcoholism was present, I always felt like that alcohol was chosen over me. I remember pleading for my dad to stay with me early on, and of course the bottle won over the bond I was after. This is not to say that I had/have a unique and positive relationship with my father, I did and that may very well be the reason that his mental and emotional absence affected me so much. I felt like he chose alcohol over me and that something must have been wrong with me or I must not have been good enough because if I was then he wouldn’t leave me.

Fast forward to here and now and the present time. My husband’s daily absence is a everyday part of my life. Typically I can expect him home between 10:00-11:00 PM on the weeknights and when he does get home he still is working. On the weekends he is usually gone most of Saturday and part of Sunday. What clicked with me in the moment with my counselor is that I feel that he chooses work over me, over spending time with his family and that contributes to my feelings of loneliness and sadness.

To connect the dots, this parallels my feelings from childhood. Again feeling that time away from me was a choice and that it was inevitability going to lead me to loneliness and isolation. While I know this does not directly relate to coaching or my coaching journey, it indirectly does because the clarity and peace I’ve received from this revelation has impacted every other part of my life. I don’t feel broken and hopeless to repeat the past or be an emotional mess as a coach. Instead I feel strong and empowered to take the tools, to take the brokenness and to take my story and use it with God’s direction to help others.

This is exactly what the story a coach shares with a client should do. My notes from Tuesday say that the story needs to be concise, detailed, provide self- disclosure, an attitude of humility and ultimately focus on highlighting God’s goodness. The goal of a personal story is to create an open environment that encourages sharing and also provides additional insight and a fresh perspective into the current obstacle they are experiencing. One caution is to make sure to not tell a story that provides a leading answer/meaning or implies a hidden suggestion of an obvious solution.

We were provided with a challenge question as we concluded class.

What ways is God giving you chances or opportunities to catalyze and build authentic relationships?

The obvious answer is by building relationships and deepening existing ones. I have small group tonight and with the power of the holy spirit I plan on taking that step and being authentic in order to catalyze a deeper level of openness within the group.

Next is my peer meeting on Saturday morning, so look for another post shortly after that!

Praise be to the God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

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