About Coaching – A Story

Never heard of coaching? (Don’t worry, you’re not alone if you haven’t.)

Can you not even begin to fathom what a coach could do for you?

Or do you know a little about coaching but still can’t fathom what a coach could do for you?

Well, let me tell you a story.

I had this great conversation with Anne Lamott awhile back. Man, she really set me straight! (What does Anne Lamott have to do with coaching? Hang tight – I’ll tell you in a minute.)

You see, I was really struggling with writing this very page, the About page. One thing that’s special about me as a coach is that I really tap into the power of my client’s 12-Step spirituality and use my coaching skills to help my client see, hear, and trust what their Truth, that is, their Higher Power, is trying to tell them.

I’m putting myself out there as a 12-Step recovery coach. So, obviously, one of the major foundations for my own spiritual practice is the Twelve Steps.  It’s not the only one by any means, but it’s where I discovered my faith, and it’s a big one.

The thing is, I had this block: I felt really self-conscious packaging myself as a spiritual coach – a spirituality-based coach with a lot of experience in the Twelve Steps.  And when it comes down to it, I’m really just a coach who wants to use coaching to help her clients use their connection with Spirit to seriously take their lives to a completely new, unimaginable dimension.

I want to use coaching to help clients beef up their faith, power up their ability to take faith-based actions, and develop a keen ability to hear that still small voice.

I’m a life-long spiritual learner and I take whatever resonates for me wherever I can get it. That Twelve Step tenet of “God as you understand God”: I really take that to heart.

So with so many spiritual traditions out there – religious ones included – how do I present myself? Gabbi Berstein had already claimed “Spirit Junkie.” And what language do I use? “God”, “Spirit”, “the Universe”, “Jesus”, “Budda”, or something else? They all work for me, but what about my readers and my clients?

This is why I thought it would be great to talk to Anne. I love her spiritual writings and, although Christian, she really seems to communicate a spiritual message that anyone can hear. And as a recovering addict, she probably has a pretty good familiarity with the Twelve Steps, too.

We met in this noisy coffee shop. The tables were filled around us with lots of other people chatting. The smell of coffee filled the air and I myself had a warm cup in my hand. Fortunately, our table was just a small round table, otherwise I’m not sure we would have been able to hear each other over the voices and the espresso machine.

I asked Anne my burning question: Where do you locate the spiritual message? Where is it grounded?

She laughed, in this half serious, half self-depreciating way and said, “It’s all about me!”

“What I do is not out there, it’s inside of me. Yes, it’s informed by my Christian faith, but it’s what I experience inside of me.

“Yeah, the Twelve Steps talk about a Higher Power, and I talk about God. And God is my Higher Power. But my spirituality is really about how I experience God and how use that to get outside of myself.

“Madeleine, you’re complicating it too much.

“I don’t really ask myself, is it the Twelve Steps, or God, or Jesus. It’s just what comes to me. For me it’s Jesus; that’s what happened for me. That doesn’t mean that’s what happened for you.

“So, Madeleine, what happened for you?”

I told Anne that it started to happen for me in Twelve Step meetings, but it really took hold in my own apartment when I made a really scary choice to trust in a God I didn’t understand and decided to rent this apartment and to leave my marriage based on that trust. (You can read the whole story about that here.)

Anne says, “It sounds like you, too, had something happen for you, and that’s what you base your own choices on.

“I did what I did because I had a message, but it was my path.

“You know, Madeleine, it sounds like you are trying to make everything make sense. But it doesn’t always make sense. It just is.”

Oh, man, Anne’s words were music to my ears! It was one of the most helpful conversations I had ever had. I had so much clarity and I felt sooo ready to write the About page on my site (and you’re reading the proof here!) I just couldn’t thank her enough.

I mean, what I got from Anne was faith in my own experience, relief from my tendency to have to figure everything out before I take action, and a plan to move forward. I knew in my heart at that point that I could only do this thing as myself. I couldn’t make it happen as anybody else.

Sound like an obvious piece of understanding? It is.

But here’s the glitch: Before I only understood that on an intellectual level. After talking to Anne, I knew it. I mean I knew it in my heart. I knew it in my soul. The essence of my very being understood it.

And that kind of place is the most powerful place from which to take action. It’s the only place from which action is sustainable.

So that was a pretty powerful conversation, don’t ya think?

Okay, so, the coaching part?

Well… see… I’ve… actually… never… met… Anne Lamott.

I’ve read almost all her books, so I feel like I know her fairly well, but she has no idea I even exist.

So did I make that whole story up? Yes and no.

This story came from a visualization exercise I did with my own coach, Kate Blassnitz. I brought my dilemma to one of our coaching sessions and mentioned how I would really love to have a conversation with Anne Lamott.

I was referring to a real conversation, but Kate walked me through the visualization in which I asked Anne Lamott my question and had the conversation in my own mind.

If you want to put it in really woo terms, no, I did not have a conversation with Anne on the physical plane, but I did talk to her on the spiritual plane. I talked to the part of Anne Lamott that resonates with my own Spirit. And therein lies the difference.

Now, if you’re not with me on for the woo explanation, you might say that this conversation doesn’t mean anything because Anne Lamott never really said any of those things. I just made it all up in my head.

But that’s the point!

If I had really talked to Anne Lamott, who, as I said, doesn’t even know I exist, she might have been able to share some encouraging experience of her own, but I may or may not have heard my own Truth in that conversation.

She might have given me advice based on what she did, but it likely may not have fit my own experience.

And my fears would still be standing right smack dab in the middle of me and what I was trying to do.

Don’t get me wrong. I would still love to talk to Anne in person. But the whole point of the visualization, rather than a real conversation, was to side-step my fear and go directly to my Truth.

And that is what coaching does.

In our coaching sessions together, we don’t face fears. We don’t even acknowledge them. There’s no point. Doing that just takes us in the completely wrong direction, and it can even make the fears bigger.

We just go straight for the Truth, your Truth.

It’s powerful and incredibly effective.

I mean, seriously, go back to my conversation with Anne. Are you not surprised at how detailed it was? I was.

Your Truth is not vague.

Your ego might like you to think it is so it can keep you confused, but working with a Coach can help your Truth speak loud and clear.

And it’s not all just visualizations. This kind of visualization is just one of hundreds of exercises, transformational questions, and NLP-based activities that side-step fears and go right to the heart of your Truth.

This is why coaching is radically different from therapy. No, Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore!

Once we get to see your Truth, then we determine specific actions that will serve that Truth and get you where you want to go.

If even the mention of Truth (capital T) sounds a little too woo for you, let me remind you of a key take-away of that conversation:

I got my About page written.

I got this Website done.

Truth yields results.

Truth gets things done.

Truth gets you where you want to go – faster and easier!

Truth will take you even farther.

But what if you don’t even know where it is you want to go? What if you’re feeling completely lost? Don’t worry, coaching will allow you to access your Truth to figure all that shiz out, too.

So, are you ready to try coaching out for real? Request your free introductory session right here, and I look forward to meeting you (on the material – or virtual – plane!)

Until then, love and hugs! ~Madeleine Sophie