Naked Coaching, no one really wants it, but, if you have read my previous blog post (find it here), you might just get a glimpse of the benefits. This is in response to a question I was asked a few days ago – What is it like to be a Coach and to be Coached? What came into my mind is the nakedness of it, for both myself and my clients. The necessity of the shedding, the unfolding, the undressing and how, in order to be able to invite them to do that, I have to do that too. As a Coach, I know that I have to be a living demonstration of my work and that means showing my imperfections, my vulnerabilities, my heart.
Let’s be clear here, no one comes to me and actually gets naked. But, I do encourage my clients to strip off their armour until there is nothing left to protect them from shame, anger and humiliation. In fact, I insist on it. Not until then, do they discover what is innately theirs: love, acceptance and resilience. The truth is, some accept, some decline.
In the beginning, most don’t really understand the process, because, having spent their entire life putting on their armour, taking it off has never occurred to them. When it does occur to them, they may squirm, take their time, dawdle along, search for ways to avoid getting naked.
This is the tipping point, the moment they either back away from Coaching or else, they take a chance on their undressing. As a Coach, it’s always a most interesting moment. It’s a time that I myself get quiet and allow consciousness to do the work.
There is a dance in this moment, a balancing of tensions, of push and pull. I don’t involve myself in deciding what that is and what it looks like. Instead, I let intuition guide me. Imagine if you will, losing yourself in the music and dancing in full view of the world. Imagine the range of emotions that might arise, the insecurity, the love, the thrill, the letting go of insecurity, the fear of being judged, the letting go of the fear and instead the welcoming of judgement. I know fully that you are likely to be holding on to what you believe protects you, to your honour, to your reputation, to your good name and I also know that what you’re really holding onto, is an innocent misunderstanding.
I though, know that at this point, that care is needed, service is called for and love is necessary. It is not my job to force you to let go, but instead, love and care for you enough that you just might take a chance on letting go. Many do, some don’t, at least not straight away. What are you gong to do? Many take that leap of faith when they get a glimpse of the mirror that I hold up, or even, like was the case for me, they get so tired of carrying the armour, that they take it off for a moment, to get some rest. In the confines of a Coaching relationship, they discover themselves held. They discover their safety net. But still, what are YOU going to do?
Of course, it might look like that is of my doing, but it is not. I have no ones safety net. If I did, I would be giving them out all over the god damn world. We all have our own safety net. It is part of our design and it inflates when it is necessary.
Now, this is the point where it’s so tempting as a client to back off. Do you recognise this? Is this happening in your relationships with others? You have discovered something deeper, a quieter place, a calmer space. You have discovered your innate capacity to swim in love and so you are done, you got what you came for! I love that, I really do. My heart meets your heart in this place, so why not swim a little longer?
You see, when I witness clients doing this, backing off, or remaining in the still waters, I know that the chances are that this is also happening in their other relationships. Take for instance, a relationship with a partner. You fall in love. At first its not safe and so you move with care. You enter this dance and over time, you discover that it’s a beautiful dance, even with the awkwardness and the stepping on the toes. The dance is comfortable, but only because its with the right partner, right?
The dance is not comfortable and beautiful because you are dancing!
The dance is comfortable and beautiful not because you are dancing, but because you ARE the dance!
Without you, there would be no dance, not for you anyway. You would be sitting at the edge the dance floor, waiting to be asked, wishing that you could ask. Oh the shame, the embarrassment, the frustration at not being asked, or at having asked and being refused. Yes, you can just wait to be asked and you can find that partner who allows you to feel safe enough to join in. But what then? What of the shame, the embarrassment, the frustration that you think you were saved from because your partner came along? Or actually, your Coach? What of that?
If you really want to discover the liberation in the dance, now is the time to strip off. Stay on the dance floor and notice that the dance is coming through you, regardless of what your partner, your colleague, your boss, your coach is doing. You are dancing your own dance.
Until my client notices that, I am going to continue to dance with them. Of course, many want to rest from the dance and that is natural. A rest is so healing. But to not dance again? Or to sit and wait to be asked again?
Occasionally, clients do this with their lives. They seek the confines of Coaching and then feel amazing and think they’re done. Most are, but a few, simply need to rest, take a pause. When they don’t get back up to rejoin the dance, start their new business, jump into that new relationship, write that book, leave their job or whatever it is they want to do, they assume its because the next song is not for them, or, their dance partner has left the dance floor, or, their Coach is no longer available. When a client is due to complete their package, this is what I am looking out for. A question I always ask myself and the client is:
Are you done because you now know that you are the dance, or are you done because you are waiting for the next dancer?
If you are wondering whether you are the dance or the dancer, consider this:
The dance itself needs only to be danced, regardless of what you are wearing. Whereas the dancer is likely to be waiting for the right music, the right partner, the right dance floor, the right clothes.
The best dancers are the ones that don’t even notice that I left the dance floor with their clothes <3