A few months back, I began my journey in the new world of coaching. I was enthralled with the prospects that it offered, of how we can make a meaningful difference to others. It was always about the client, how to be with them, how to help them discover their own solutions and help co-create their journey of growth. I also read voraciously during this period, understanding how people think, behave and how I could use this in my coaching sessions.
I then entered the stage of conducting peer coaching sessions. I tried to develop and sharpen my skills on active listening, powerful questioning and always BEING present – for the client. And there was good progress. The more I practiced, I realised I was able to distance my thoughts and feelings – and make myself available for the client.
So much so, the coaching practice got ingrained in my mind that as a coach I am here and getting competent to support others, the universe external to me, my clients.
It never struck me that whether as a coach, I am available to myself!
It happened the other day.
I was on the Eastern Freeway on cruise control set at 80 kmph (as per the speed limit). There was an event at the workplace the earlier week and I was brooding over it. To distract my mind, I turned on a podcast and listened to it over the car speakers. My mind flitted between the recent event and the engaging talk of the master coach. The podcast ended half way into the freeway. There was a loud silence. Except for the sound of tyres speeding over the gravel of impatient drivers trying to reach their end, a few minutes before me.
And then in the silence of the car, I suddenly heard myself say aloud,
“Sabya, how are you feeling now?”
I heard words coming out from my inside, “Feeling really down”
“What is making you feel down”?
I went on to describe the event which I had been regurgitating within myself for the last seven days.
“What is it in that event that makes Sabya feel down”
I explained that I am thinking of what other people may be thinking about me on the event.
“And how does Sabya know that?”
“Actually, I don’t know! This is what I think they may think. But honestly I don’t know”.
“And if you don’t know what they may think …”
“It is stupid to think about what they may be thinking…They have their own lives, and this may not matter to them at all”
“How important is it for Sabya to think what others may be thinking?”
“To think of it, it really does not matter. The event actually is beneficial for me. It does not matter what others think!”
I suddenly felt a sense of huge relief and realised that I was unnecessarily blowing the event out of proportion. I was at peace with myself and the event.
More than anything else, what really dawned on me is that I have a great permanent Coach for my entire Life – Myself!! And as a Coach, I have a Coachee too, for my entire life – Myself!! And I can seek more Aha moments in my life before I seek to offer such moments to others. And that I need to actively listen, ask powerful questions, have coaching presence … with myself first… to transform myself…before seeking to transform others.
This has been truly an Aha moment!!
Truly, I believe this is the best gift I can give myself – I could help enrich my life, by first understanding my thoughts, my feelings, my circumstances, my beliefs, my behaviour, by coaching myself first!
And with that, I would be able to truly serve others better and enrich their lives.
Sabyasachi Patnaik is a Manufacturing and Supply Chain professional having worked with leading Indian corporates. He is passionate about engaging people to give their best and enjoy every moment at the workplace.