I’ve sometimes been asked how it is I am able to ‘get inside’ a client’s life and thinking so quickly. How is it I seem to know where to go in the coaching conversation? How is it they are so honest so quickly, often in a way they have never been with (literally) anyone else? What is the secret?
Take a few minutes off right now and read through this – to the end. It will definitely be worth it!
The secret isn’t particularly a secret, but in this day and age talking about a subject like this is emotive. People get sensitive about it, not least because it can be so misunderstood. Today I’m going to risk that misunderstanding, pluck up the courage to ‘come out’ and tell you.
Ready? Here it is: I choose to love my clients.
Simple, isn’t it? Whilst I am working with them, and actually from then on to one extent or another, I love them. Good old-fashioned human love. The love of one good person towards another. The stuff that makes the world work so much better.
Wholesome, honest, kind, honouring, ‘agape’ love. Love that is trustworthy. Love that is strong and challenging. Love that protects the wellbeing, respect and physical and emotional boundaries of another human being. Love that doesn’t exploit or abuse. Love that tells the truth, but not more than they can bear. Love that focuses on giving, not taking (‘Love’ that depletes the recipient is not love at all). Love that makes the giver vulnerable (as writing about it publicly like this does). Love that keeps the receiver safe.
Love that protects without being protective. Love that is direct without being directive. Love that sacrifices without being sacrificial. Love that is kind and shares.
Love that smiles, hugs and embraces – and buys the coffee. Love that is comfortably warm and has nothing to do with current concepts of ‘hot’. Love that goes the extra mile – and goes one more after that. And the kind of love that knows when to speak and when to listen. And love that willingly expresses its natural affection in a way that is healthy and welcome.
Just let me put on record that this is a million miles from the pseudo-love that is coercive, focused on sex, pitying, or even ‘charitable’ in the victorian sense of the word – or the sort of ‘love’ that creates an impression of kindness but is actually motivated by something more sinister, more one-sided. That kind of so-called ‘love’ is horrible, and such a distortion of the real thing. It is the greatest sadness to me that for many millions of people – maybe for one or two who will read this blog – it is the only understanding of the word ‘love’ they know.
Maybe that’s one particular reason I so enjoy Therapeutic Coaching. Apart from all the other good and liberating things it does, it empowers people to love.
I learnt primarily about love from my mother, but also from my mentor, Campbell McAlpine, both of whom demonstrated selfless acceptance of a young Andrew Sercombe, and provided me with the experiences of love I needed in order to love others – however inadequately I manage that, because as those close to me know, I’m not always loving. Sometimes I’m just plain selfish.
There are three things that we are told will endure for ever: faith, hope, and love. Without love there can be little trust, the trust which enables faith in others, and there is certainly no hope for our world in the future if love is missing. Who would look forward to a world like that? So the greatest of these three has to be…
PS: If you’ve got a problem with love – giving it, receiving it, or because someone has abused the concept – get in touch with me firstname.lastname@example.org or at www.powerchange.com. I or one of our coaching team may be able to help.