Whenever I read a new book, I am almost always totally emerged in the story, I can feel the pain, the joy, the happiness and the excitement of the characters.
While reading “Maybe you should talk to someone”, by Lori Gottlieb, the story of a therapist that goes to therapy, and her journey, I couldn’t help but think about my own story.
When I started coaching one year ago, I was dealing with a lot of anxiety, a post partum depression, a toddler that thought that sleep is for the weak, but also a hunger like I never felt before.
A hunger of doing things out of pure passion, a hunger that I thought it was possible only for a few lucky persons in the world. First, I discovered the amazing world of coaching through the eyes of the client, and then, through the eyes of the coach.
I experienced transformation since the first sessions with my coach, and it turned my life upside down. Therapy was also a great asset for me, but integrating through coaching what I discovered in therapy, my life basically sky rocketed.
And for the first time in my life I felt like I could really use things that come natural to me (like seeing through people, creating a safe space, bringing awareness), and put them in service of others.
Seeing how you can impact a person’s life, helping them access the greatness that is inside each and every one of us, is an amazing thing to witness.
The thing is, that coaches are also humans, just as therapists are human. Therapists go to therapists, coaches have their own coaches. Why?
Well, first because we cannot coach ourselves. The brain works in the same way for everybody, it is trying to keep us safe in the only way it knows: fear. Fear is here to protect us from being hurt, from being killed, from being put into potentially dangerous situations.
And in no way we can discover our self defense mechanisms by ourselves.
Second, because we also need somebody that observes the way we act, the way we talk, how our energy shifts depending on the topic, and so on. We also need somebody that sees our blind spots, our strengths and our possibilities.
We need a teammate with whom we can co create plans, with whom we can co create ways to explore our fears and challenges, and how they can bring us growth opportunities.
Because in this line of work, before helping someone else, you need to deal with your own things first.
As part of their specialization, therapists undergo therapy also, first, in order to experience the process as a client, and second, to be able to identify and solve their own defense mechanisms.
In the first months as a coach, I experienced a lot of triggers from my clients. Sometimes I felt like I was not respected enough, sometimes I felt the pressure to perform just to prove myself, sometimes I felt like my clients were being superior to me.
Of course, these things were all about me. About my needs, my wounds and how I took things personally.
You learn this in the coaching school: the process is not about you, is about the client’s journey. But the only way in which you can really embody it, is through constant practice.
At this moment, I have almost 300 hours of 1:1 coaching under my belt, and even though my journey is still a “newborn”, I was put in a lot of situations. 300 hours of 1:1 coaching will definitely come with challenging clients and moments.
For me, is is IMPERIOUS that I undergo therapy and coaching, because I owe it to myself, but also to my clients.
They need me focused, unbiased, and I think that before everything, this is the most important thing that I can do.
I take the feelings that arise from my coaching sessions to my own therapy and coaching session, and in that way, I can learn things about me, about self defense mechanisms and wounds, about how I can grow from them.
And by doing this, I can be the best version of myself almost at any given moment when I’m with my clients.
I always say that it takes a team to work on my brain, but every team member has a role: my therapist works with me on my past, my wounds, my traumas (and the way in which my traumas get reactivated with some of my clients) and my coach works with me on my projects, on my vision, on my business, on a play plan, and on how we can integrate what we discover in therapy as self defense mechanisms.
It takes a village as they say, but as professionals who have so much responsability in their hands, we do need to have our shit together before trying to change anyone’s lives.
Or at least to ask for help whenever we feel like something comes up in our lives that have the potential to affect our work, or to affect (negatively) the way in which we interact with our clients.
Life events can affect our empathy, our active listening, our judgement, the way in which we create the safe space for our clients. We need to be aware of ourselves and of the feelings that arise, and should manage them in the safe spaces of therapy and/or coaching.
So yes, coaches get coached, therapist get therapy, we are all humans, we have normal lives and normal problems, and the fact that we help others get through things , it doesn’t mean that we should not get help also.