When I just started working with coaching an acquaintance of mine, who’s been sitting zazen for quite a while, asked me how I was going to combine the practice and working as a coach. The way he put it I had to actually bury my integrity in order to get into coaching. Whatever his perceptions of coaching might be, I had looked into it before I started working with coaching professionally. What is it about? How does it help people? It also made me realise I had been doing it for quite a while for my friends as a hobby!
Then I looked inside. What is it that drives me? What do I have to offer people? Why should they come to me? (Those are really good questions for any professional to ask. Really, get it down on paper, just like that.)
Helping at least someone to connect to their authentic self and to learn to appreciate life as it is along with achieving the desired results as part of my work – it is just too good to be true! I see coaching as an expression of my bodhisattva vow in my every day life. It is a unique opportunity to work with people who actually are interested to get engaged in their lives and make a change. It is never only about the results because in the process we inevitably have to look at our own perspectives and ideas of our selves and what we thought was possible, face our monsters and befriend them instead of sticking our heads in the sand. I actually get to see people lighten up at the insight that it is possible to get a grip of the mind and choose a different path, get into new modes of thinking and allow themselves to live more authentic lives.
So no, I do not have to sell myself short in coaching just like in anything else in life. If I don’t believe some technique would be useful for the client, I will never use it but that has nothing to do with spiritual practice and can be expected from any professional, I believe.
One aspect that I was not aware of when I started but that I begin noticing now is beautifully expressed in one of the books that gave my ideas world about art a good shaking – Peter London’s “No more secondhand art”:
“Engaging with others… not only enables our companions to move more assuredly towards their particular goals, but also enables us to get on with our own evolution. As we employ our recources to futher the growth of someone else, we become more beneficient, more epxressive and expansive. In the act of helping others we are transformed in the like manner.”
No doubt about it, this whole thing of starting an independent business is a huge learning experience, all of it. This part, thoguh, the one Peter writes about, when we touch others and become transformed “in the like manner”, how is this not Zen?
How do you touch people in your line of work? I’d love to know!
I actually had the honor of teaching abstruct art to the kids in a Nigerian school (a touch and fun challenge I had to swallow). Here I am preparing a lession with my colleague. Btw, posing for the pictures is a very Nigerian style so I had to be flexible with it.