Personalizing Your Search
I would be remiss if I didn’t provide you with some more suggestions about how to find a coach who is right for your particular concerns. If you’re like most people who decide to hire a coach, you’ve emerged from a relationship with a therapist having a bit of skepticism about whether anyone including a coach can really provide you with helpful, practical advice that you can implement effectively. Maybe you’ve been seeing a therapist for years about your overbearing tendencies and how you alienate family, friends, lovers, and work colleagues. Maybe your issues are broader you’ve been working on coming to terms with a traumatic childhood, you’re alienated from the church you grew up in, and youVe overweight. Maybe you frequently talked to your therapist about vague feelings of malaise or a sense that you weren’t doing what you were supposed to be doing with your life.
Now that you’re in the market for a coach, use the burning issues from yoga poses to focus your search. You may not have received much satisfaction from your therapist in addressing these issues, but they serve as a guide for what’s important to you. It may be difficult for you to formulate specific goals at the moment as I noted, the yoga process often reveals goals hidden to clients initially but you can use your yoga poses sessions to think about the areas or spheres where you’d like to do more work.
This will tell you if you should look for a coach with a strong spiritual background. Or if you need a fitness coach because body image has always been a concern. Or if you want a coach experienced in working with people on issues of meaning and purpose. In this way you can be prepared to see if a given coach has a background in the area or areas of significant concern to you.
Dancing Shiva Yoga Pose Photo Gallery
In addition to using the Choose-a-Coach Method at the end of this chapter and the Take-Charge Questionnaire from chapter 6’ you also might try formulating a one-sentence description of what you want to achieve through yoga. This is a kind of trial balloon to float with a prospective coach. It may not be a completely accurate statement of your goals formulating these goals can take some time and work but it will give a coach an opportunity to think about whether he’s right for you. Most Yogis will be honest. They’ll tell you upfront if they feel they have the capabilities to coach you effectively. For instance, your statement might be, “I have spent years feeling lonely, even during my former marriage, and I want to figure out how to connect with other people.” One coach may do a great deal of relationship work and feel comfortable working with you. Another may be more geared toward other spheres and refer you to someone else. At the very least, though, expressing this statement gives the coach a chance to tell you upfront if he’s right for you.
Let me conclude this chapter by sharing the story of one person’s search for a coach. Donna was a forty-one-year-old, twice-divorced, stay-at-home mother of two kids and had been in yoga poses for eight years. Donna had grown up as the daughter of a well-known and highly paternalistic judge, and the experience had made her relationships with men difficult, or at least that was Donna’s theory as to the cause. While she had made some progress in understanding how her paternalistic father had made it difficult for her to enjoy good relationships with other men, she had not had a good relationship with a man since her second divorce, four years ago. In addition, Donna was a binge eater her therapist told her that clinically speaking, women don’t have eating disorders at her age and she also became depressed on occasion, feeling like she wasn’t giving anything back to her community or to the world at large. Though money wasn’t an issue her second ex-husband was wealthy and had been generous in the divorce settlement Donna also was interested in finding a career now that her kids were both adolescents.
After Donna fired her therapist, she began searching for a coach, and at first was frustrated by the process. She interviewed her best friend’s career coach but found this coach to be too specialized for what she wanted. Donna also talked to a life coach her first husband had used and said was good, but she discovered that the vast majority of his clients were male and that he really didn’t understand women.
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