What is personal-growth coaching (or trust coaching, as some of my particular clients endearingly call their work with me)?
Coaching allows you to work in a focused way to clear out what you don’t want in your life and to move consciously toward what you do want. It allows you to create your life consciously while being accountable to someone who’s a staunch supporter, who’s persistently on your side, and who holds up mirrors for you to see what you may not see in yourself—and what you may not fully own, especially where your best qualities are concerned. Coaching helps you to step into your power and live into your full potential. It allows you to address something that's up here and now (or something that's been up that you don't want to keep ignoring). It allows you to call in and usher forth something missing that you're ready to allow. Much of my work is also simply geared to supporting people in the end of suffering, in self-abandonment no more. The sections of my book Scooch! represent quite accurately what my work is all about.
How does coaching differ from therapy?
In coaching, we don’t go back into your history to understand why you operate as you do. We look at how you’re operating and how you might operate more effectively to have the life you want. Coaches tend to work with specific, focused issues in a goal-oriented way, with assignments and action points to move you along. The process therefore lasts for a much shorter duration, as opposed to the open-ended, ongoing, years-running therapeutic approach. Finally, coaching doesn’t address deep trauma or any sort of “emotional surgery,” though emotions and your “stuff” will inevitably come up and I'm equipped and more than willing to sit with you in anything.
In my coaching, I do work a lot with mindset and managing thoughts and feelings that keep you in suffering or prevent you from moving toward your vision or creating the life you want. I often use or draw from The Work of Byron Katie, a powerful system of self-inquiry that allows people to get an often unprecedented level of clarity and insight into their own thinking and feeling patterns. I also mirror back any victim mentality clients are in (as shown by their words and how they frame things), and I invite them to look at this universal stuff with no judgment or horror. I invite them to and support them in greater measures of personal power. I also support my clients to type themselves on the Enneagram, a beautiful, ancient, and complex 9-point personality typology system. When you're clear about your type, it's supremely helpful to look through that lens at your tendencies and growth points (including charting the growth journey you've already moved through and integrated into your being). My clients consistently express amazement at how quickly and deeply and concretely they experience change in their work with me.
Finally, the coach-client relationship is different from that of client and therapist. Clients have access to me between sessions, with at least one e-mail exchange built into our work together after each meeting (your takeaways and my responses to those). We also use e-mail and phone check-ins as needed, which help clients stay in a fruitful process and keep me connected to that process.
Client comments regarding check-ins between sessions:
"These were very beneficial for me because they helped me out of some of my panicked, circular thinking."
— Brooklyn client
"I can remember one check-in in particular. I was sitting in my car outside the climbing gym and it was raining. I had just been a part of my first team brainstorming session at my new internship, and was feeling insecure about what I was bringing to the table. I was particularly focused on the moment when I saw myself as compared to the other intern, and you pointed out the significance of going from the See-er to the Seen. It was so useful because we were able to catch the moment in real time, not waiting until the next session to deal with it."
Much More than Sessions!
When you commit to a coaching process with me, you're not just signing up for regular one-on-one sessions with me. You're engaging with a whole program to bring what we do in session into your day-to-day life—in how you think, how you operate, and specific actions you're taking to implement what we talk about and to bring about the changes you wish to make.
You can expect the following:
Client comment on takeaways
"I appreciate your insistence on this part of the coaching. It makes it all the more valuable, and is quite different from the therapeutic model of coming for a weekly 'spew' and then going away until the next week! I feel that I am doing myself a big service by undertaking this coaching with you, and I'm grateful you are around to offer it!"
— Ithaca client (at beginning of 6-month process following a 4-session run)
A sample statement of takeaways from 2016
Here are my takeaways from Friday's fabulous session:
1.The Universe provides backup plans. Always. Support doesn't need to come from one source like one person, one place, or one thing. Support comes from multiple sources. And my support isn't coming from my partner, it's coming from the Universe. At this place and time, support may show up in the form of this partner. (This brought me so much relief!)
2. Don't think you're writing by yourself. When you sit down to write, you're a conduit. It's coming through you. (I love this! It's fun, exciting, and supportive to think about.)
3. I'm ALWAYS connected to God. Always. Even when I don't think I'm connected, I'm still connected. There's nothing I can do or say to break that connection!!! (I'm still feeling the effects of this exercise with you. Seeing myself through the eyes of God affected me deeply. I felt so much love and compassion. I felt safe and strong. I felt protected.)
This was truly a transcendent session. I feel like my takeaways are not capturing how truly moving and incredible that hour was.
— California client
Note from Jaya: I'm always supporting clients to apply their own belief system (and to clarify and stretch it as needed!). Where this client uses the G-word, someone else with a similar takeaway might use Life, or Love, or Source, or All That Supports Me.