So, let’s talk about the therapy/coaching crisis that I believe is corrupting the world of self-improvement and even mental health as a whole. This problem is twofold; it’s a coach/therapist oversight, and it’s a client/patient choice. Here’s the deal: We as coaches, counselors, and therapists are trying to help people change, grow, and heal so they can live better lives, right? Well, the problem is that often the focus gets stuck on showing clients how “bad” and “dysfunctional” it is where they are instead of helping them accept who and where they are at the present moment. I know, it sounds backwards and counterproductive. But think about it. People get into comfort zones (life coaches do too) and find it much too difficult to move from the cozy existence of dysfunction when it means work is involved. Go figure.
Additionally, a stuck-in-a-rut mentality remains and is exacerbated by well-meaning coaches and counselors. Often, coaches and self-help leaders are the ones who enable the client’s self-doubting and loathing that has been going on for a long time. This approach gets clients focusing on what they don’t want to happen instead of what they truly desire to happen. How many ads have you seen that start with phrases like this: “Sick and tired of your life?” or “Not having the success you desire” or “Is body fat keeping you from the life you want?” Pretty negative, huh? I call this coaching your way into a corner. Don’t get me wrong, some people thrive with life coaching and therapy, but those who do have a completely different mentality going into it. First of all, they accept fully who they are from the beginning. They see their non-serving behavior as stepping stones and not launching pads for inner thoughts like, “I can’t do anything right,” or “For the love of God, when will this miserable life end?” Can you see the difference?
I guess the thing that I want to get across is this: Before you pay one cent for coaching or therapy, do the following…
- locate yourself.
- Accept yourself as the wonderful, unique individual you are.
- Realize that non-serving behavior and choices do not define who YOU are but are the result of not knowing and accepting YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF.
And, if you are a coach or mental health professional, DO THESE THINGS:
- Understand your clients and patients are who and where they are and may never change or move from this existence. And, you know what? That’s OK. All of your wisdom (or mine) will not “save” them from themselves.
- Realize the journey to self-improvement is different for each of us. There are no rules, programs, or tutorials that will magically make any of us the “person we’ve always wanted to be,” or “the expert coach” for others to follow. We are who we are.
- Find wisdom in simplicity and acceptance.
So, if you really want to be coached, then you need to do yourself a favor first. Understand it’s OK to be where you are. Spend your money on being accountable for choices and behavior, not for being told it’s not OK to be you. A coach or counselor’s job is to help you move away from poor behavior patterns that don’t really reflect the authentic person who wants to come out. Furthermore, each one of us will discover truth and identity when we are good and ready to. Take the pressure off of yourself. You don’t have to live up the expectations of the world, your family, friends, or even a coach.
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