When someone comes to me or others for Awakening Coaching, they generally pass through four stages of evolution. If all goes well, and the client is fully on board and ready to try something new, these four stages can go relatively quickly: in a matter of eight or ten weeks.
Stage One: Feeling Bad for No Reason
Often when someone starts out with coaching, they feel terrible, or at least not nearly as good as they would like to feel, and they don’t know why. Perhaps they feel tired and lethargic and they have tried all the obvious things to take care of it. Perhaps their relationships are riddled with conflict and misunderstanding, and it always seems to be the other person’s fault. Perhaps they have a vague sense of a gift that they were born to bring to the world, but it seems too obscure and out of reach. At the start of a coaching relationship, the majority of people feel too busy, too overwhelmed, too distracted and too entangled to have any clear idea why their life is not working. They just feel bad for no reason.
At this stage, the coaching client feels like a victim, looking for someone to blame. They are living in an unfair universe, where everything is out of their control. “My parents abused me, all my relationships were with people who turned out to be psychotic, my business partners were all crooks.” They may even blame politicians, past lives or aliens.
Stage 2: Feeling Bad for a Good Reason
We always start a coaching relationship by taking inventory, by asking some powerful and specific questions.
What are your aspirations and your dreams?
What is your intuition of what is possible for you in your life?
What gets in the way?
What are the habits that inhibit you living at your full potential?
What are your strengths?
What are the disciplines you have already built up, that we can rely upon?
And finally, perhaps most important,
What are the outcomes that you are looking for from a coaching relationship? Where do you want to be, in very specific and concrete terms, eight to ten weeks from now?
By taking inventory in this way, it is possible to point out that the life they are experiencing right now is the inevitable result of actions they have been taking.
For example, if you stay up late at night, eat a lot of processed food, don’t drink enough water and don’t get enough exercise, anyone is not going to feel good in their body. If you withhold relevant information in your relationships, if you lean toward criticism and blame more than appreciation, it is not a big surprise when you feel separate and lonely. If your life is full of distractions, internet cruising, watching mediocre movies and TV, and indulging in substances (both legal and illegal), it is not a big surprise that you lose your purpose and direction in life. Now we have moved up a notch. The client is no longer feeling bad for no reason, but for some very obvious reasons that we can do something about.
The client no longer feels like a victim, but begins to feel responsible. At this early stage it may even be tinged with some embarrassment or remorse. They may feel overwhelmed or powerless when they recognize the momentum of dysfunctional habits, but they begin to see that this is all coming from within themselves.
It is possible to get stuck in this stage, endlessly analyzing why my life sucks, wanting to develop the perfect model to explain the suffering. Some styles of psychotherapy can get bogged down here. So the coach can ask the client, “Would you rather understand why you are suffering, or would you like to do something different and feel better?”
Stage 3: Feeling Good for Good Reason
In Awakening Coaching we use some very specifics tools. Radical Awakening, for example, is a very reliable way for anyone to reconnect with their true nature as limitless, spacious, and free. Radical Releasing is a method to take the resistance off of stuck feelings so they begin to flow again. As a result, you are able to take action more easily and effectively. Perhaps most important, Empowerment Practices are short, simple tailor made shifts, that usually take just a few minutes a day, which can help the coaching client to change their behavior from automatic habits to something new, fresh and creative.
This is the pivotal difference between feeling bad for a reason and feeling good for a reason. In just a few weeks of shifting the right parameters, the right tweak here or there, everything can start to flow again.
I wrote a whole book about such empowerment practices, it is called Leap Before You Look.
Now the coaching client again lives in a different universe. It is a world of opportunity and creativity. They feel empowered to create the life they want, because they now have the freedom to try new things.
The difficulty with changing behavior, even in tiny ways, is that there is, in almost everyone, a strong momentum to keep things the way they were. Most people would rather stay with dysfunctional habits that are familiar than with creative habits that are new. For this reason, an Awakening Coach has daily contact with their clients. The client sends in a short report each day, that takes just a couple of minutes to fill out, just to indicate if they did these short practices or not. We advise our coaches and also their clients to anticipate resistance, and then to be prepared to work with it.
Stage 4: Feeling Good for No Reason
Because of the “awakening” part of Awakening Coaching, we aim to bring our coaching clients into not just having a life that works: honest and intimate relationships, a sense of purpose and meaning, being in good health, etc… but to go also beyond that into an irrational sense of well being, for no reason at all.
This happens not through tweaking the habits in your life, but through coming into a clear, stable and unshakable recognition of who it is, or what it is that is experiencing that life. It is important for people not only to have a powerful experience of their true nature as limitless, as free, as love it self, but to be able to access that awakening in any situation.
Now the coaching client is once again living in different universe: one which is benevolent, fun and easy. Creativity flows on its own. Relationships are naturally humorous and appreciative. Money is just not an issue. The client lives in a flow of gratitude and wanting to serve and make a difference.
Not everyone, mind you, is equally “coachable.” You might be surprised how many people would rather be right about why they are unhappy, unhealthy and stuck, than to try something new. Being “coachable” through this work requires the client to give up their stories and theories about what is happening and why it is happening, and to be guided into something new and different… to think thoughts they have never thought before, to say things they have never said before.
I am just bubbling with excitement these days for what is possible for all of us. Anyone can shift from feeling bad for no reason to feeling good for no reason in a relatively short period of time. We can do this without needing to fall back into the old, hierarchical relationships which have dominated spirituality for so many thousands of years.
I want to share more with you about these four stages of evolution through a coaching relationship. Please join me on Thursday, March 21st at 6 PM pst. I will be glad to demonstrate all of this, to give you very specific examples, and to answer your questions and hear your experiences.