Andrew’s Secrets of Successful Coaching: #2

Here it is: Get to the Hidden Truth.

The important word here is ‘hidden’. Truth seems to come in at three levels, public, private and hidden.

Public Truth is what we tell other people is the truth. And it is of course, or at least some of the truth. None of it is technically untrue, but provides a favourable slant, putting us in a good light. (Or a self-deprecating light if we prefer that!)IMG_1924.JPG

Private Truth is the truth that we would rather our public did not know. We may confess it to a priest, a good friend, or a coach or counsellor, but it has a definite element of confidentiality about it. One reason for this confidentiality is that the consequences of that ‘truth’ getting out may be potentially very damaging, not just to us (not necessarily EVEN to us) but to others we care about or something else we value highly.

Hidden Truth is of a different order all together. It isn’t necessarily secret – though it may be. It is hidden. It is this ‘deep truth’ that we may not realise ourselves, so hidden it has become inaccessible to us. Initially we may have deliberately buried it deep, or distorted it to ourselves, so even we won’t be able to find it.  And then we discover how successful we’ve been: it is now distorting US and we can’t find it whatever we type into the ‘Search’ box of our memory.

I’ve been coaching professionally for 15 years now, and I reckon it is the revelation of this truth that is often the MOST freeing. When we’ve found the ‘file’ it is in, we can delete it, or at least restore it to its uncorrupted original.  It brings instant and wide-ranging freedom:

“My parents’ divorce never was my fault!”
“I couldn’t have made any difference to saving the girl’s life if I had wanted to.”
“I was only five – he was an adult.”

Signs of a Hidden Truth lurking:
“OK, so how do I know when there is a Hidden Truth distorting my life?”

You’ll know. Here is an incomplete list of signs:

  • Sabotaging yourself
  • Never quite succeeding for some reason
  • Going to great (irrational) lengths to avoid a particular situation 
  • NEVER (or ALWAYS!) doing this or that 
  • Feeling you need to be ‘careful’ all the time 
  • Never really knowing a ‘sense of abandon’
  • Never seeming to be able to shake off a sense of fear
  • Feeling ‘hampered’, as they say in snooker.

Even when the Hidden Truth reveals you were wrong, at least it gives an opportunity to accept that aspect of your humanity and grow some more, drawing useful learning from it for the future.  As I’ve said before, the chances are a person cannot get to this Hidden Truth by himself or herself. The person is too ‘inside’ it. So you need to see a pro – not least because friends and family are too close.  

Remember…

A professional coach will ask the key questions no one else is asking, and won’t be swayed by red herrings or smoke screens (human beings are highly skilled at keeping hidden truth well and truly hidden) and won’t let you out of a bolt hole. After all, YOU want to get to it too, don’t you?  That is what a good coach will do for the client – get to it. He or she will ask questions – in a way that works – that reveals the Hidden Truth.

A pro will provide the solutions to SORTING IT OUT. And when all is revealed,  the source of the pain, discomfort or persistent unhappiness loses its power, and peace and joy become a much more real possibility.  More often than not the new understanding becomes highly useful and explains so much about your life that didn’t make sense before.  

That is my Second Secret of Successful Coaching: Get to the Hidden Truth. 

Psychological ‘Junk Food’ – or a Healthy Diet?

As you probably know, Powerchange focuses not merely on external behavioural change, as the standard life-coaching and CBT models tend to, but on the underlying Auto-Response systems of a client’s life. Whilst much of the ‘Success’ industry feeds its ever more desperate junkies with addictive ‘success fast-food’ and turns its back as they become psychologically obese, we’ve been taking a different tack, digging ever deeper to uncover more of ‘how human beings are designed to work’, as we put it. We spend time explaining to our clients HOW thinking works, HOW it is that they have been unsuccessful in the past, and HOW it is that they were unable to follow through despite being so committed, determined and motivated. Consuming psychological junk food will make you fatter and hungrier, but not happier.

Pricey.

Just like the ‘burger meals’ on the street, psychological junk food is very expensive, with people forking out huge sums for what they believe to be ‘the answer’, only for their success to be sabotaged by another part of their psychological system – and the unnerving suspicion that they’ve been taken for a ride.

We’re not alone.

We recently were introduced to the work of Dr Robert Kegan and Dr Lisa Lahey at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, and found that many of the principles they and we have been working to over the last decade are highly complementary. Whilst having a conversation over lunch with Mary Orr, Professor in Southampton University’s School of Humanities, we were again aware of the importance of working collaboratively with those deeper inner drives that make us human beings what we are. Mentally healthy people honour the essential ingredients, the staples of psychological long-term health, the fresh vegetables of human well-being. Among other key qualities of character, we deem these to be the pursuit of truth and integrity. Without these essential vitamins, individuals – and the societies they make up – become diseased, corrupt, poor and sick. The subjection of that natural desire to live with the freedom self-sustaining truth and integrity brings eventually means that the essence of our communities dies of a kind of ‘values starvation’. People stop believing and trusting one another.  When seeking truth goes, trust goes too – and society with it. Noticed?

I guess none of us would pretend that we know it all, but we do know that confidence and self-trust are wrapped up in knowing deep down that we are trustworthy, that YOU can trust YOU, a key foundation stone for a truly successful future. People who have high integrity levels experience massive inner strength, and they can use that to power their own change.

Do I always live with integrity? No.

Although seeking truth and living with integrity are pursuits, in order to meet my own current standards of integrity I must answer ‘no’ to that question. No, not always. Am I always truthful?  I’d like to say yes, but no, not that either. Am I pursuing those as desires for my life. I can say an honest YES to that one, and am pleased to say that I’m getting more honest at a deeper level, not least with myself. Do they work as foundation stones that help me to feel secure and safe – a trustworthy launchpad for what I do and teach? Absolutely. Unlike my physical body that is naturally weaker than when I was twenty one, the core of my psychological life is probably stronger than it has ever been.

What about you?

My clients live more fulfilling and successful lives because of my invitation to discover the truth about themselves through Powerchange coaching. For many it is a very rewarding positive ‘shock’ to find out just how valuable they are! The coaching we provide will take you into a much better place personally, regardless of whether you end up with the touted millions deemed to be evidence of success by other coaches using other methods. The people we are now working with suddenly realise that they can live a healthy psychological life free of the ‘junk food’ that has become embedded into the mental eating habits of their life and work. They may have consumed much of it over the years and are fed up with it. They are redefining success. And yes, we DO discover those well-intentioned assumptions, attitudes and behaviours that are pulling them away from where they sincerely want to go.  Together we sort those out too, so that those inner values become an unstoppable vibrant engine of personal power and freedom.  If that’s what you want really, you know what to do!

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