‘Afflicting the comfortable’ is a definition of coaching by Michael Cavanagh in his excellent book, ‘Evidence Based Coaching Handbook’.
Much as it made me laugh, I thought that there are many reasons why clients have started work with me. Being comfortable isn’t one of them. Or is it?
What if the way we are at work is like the way we walk? Each of us has our own unique gait that reflects our body’s interaction of hundreds of muscles and bones. That unique gait fixed unless we do some serious bodywork.
And so it is with the way we are at work. We have fixed ways of relating, how we are, how we do things, how we get by. And, it works fine until something changes and we don’t quite cut the mustard any more.
New challenge and new roles face us with ourselves. Our strengths – hurrah. And our vulnerabilities – of course. On top of that, we aren’t supposed to talk about our vulnerabilities at work. Sssssh.
Coaching is the serious bodywork. Powerful coaching gives you the space to put your guts on the table. It really matters that you talk about what you struggle with, how your patterns don’t serve you and how you are comfortable. Herein lies the treasure.
Only then do you have the information you need to do adjust, shape up and move on.
To provoke us into something new, we have to do something different. Coaching gives us that opportunity. As coaches, we are, therefore, ‘afflicting the comfortable’.
Clients have described ‘achieving a deep level of thinking, and far more than I thought’. Deep listening, provocative questioning and even coaching away from your office, all allow you to do this.