Living on Purpose: It takes a village
Vail Valley CO, Colorado
VAIL VALLEY, Colorado ” Four months ago I received a call from a man who had questions about the coaching process. Henry lived paycheck to paycheck and was having trouble with debt. He felt stuck. He realized how helpful coaching could be, but knew he couldn’t afford it.
Henry asked if there were any other ways to integrate coaching into his life at a price he could afford. He was convinced that if he just moved off center, he’d be on his way; he just needed a little push.
I suggested some do-it-yourself solutions but he seemed pessimistic, explaining that each time he had tried, he had failed.
I then suggested group coaching. There are many benefits to working within a group, including lowering the cost and gaining support from other participants. This appealed to him and he joined a coaching group.
Henry seemed nervous at the first meeting, but so did many of the other participants. We began with introductions and an exercise to help people identify where they were feeling stuck. We talked about group expectations and agreed on group confidentiality.
As the session ended, each person had agreed to an Action Step (homework assignment) to help move forward. Henry’s included collecting information to get a complete picture of his financial situation. He knew there were problems but was unsure as to the extent, which also prevented him from finding a solution. His accountability partner was Claire and he agreed to e-mail her in one week to update her on his assignment.
Note that Henry would not share any of the financial information with the group, simply the fact that he had done his homework. The forward movement in coaching is not based on the details of the situation, but on the information gained through the process and the actions taken.
The group met every other week and Henry made great progress. Just like individual coaching, most of the movement happens in between the coaching sessions. The coaching meetings provide support, accountability and a connection between people. The time in between sessions gives the participants the opportunity to integrate this new energy into their lives.
At the second meeting, Henry triumphantly told the group how he had gathered and summarized his financial information. Although he felt victorious, he was also overwhelmed by the amount of debt he had.
Another group member, Jim, offered the name of his financial advisor and recommended consulting with her about Henry’s portfolio. Two other members offered referrals and Henry’s Action Step was to schedule consultations with all three to find out what services they could offer.
At the end of the second session, Henry shared his gratitude.
“I am thankful to be a part of this group. In the past two weeks, I have made significant progress and feel supported. Part of feeling stuck was that I felt I was all alone. It seemed everyone else was doing just fine and I was the loser who was struggling. I feel like I have found my new village. Thank you!”
Every meeting I witnessed each member of the group making forward progress. These people were no longer stuck, and if they ever did get frustrated or feel like giving up, there were nine other people ready to help.
After our last session, I received a thank-you note from Henry. It said, “Group coaching has been a life-changing experience for me. The support I got from the group gave me the courage to do what needed to be done, plus I have made some life-long friends and found my village. I am still in debt, but instead of it getting worse each month, it’s getting better. If I follow my plan, I will be out of debt in 18 months. I feel like I can breathe again. I have enclosed this cashier’s check for you to apply to a scholarship fund to help someone else who feels stuck.”
With this, I knew that Henry had not only found his village, but had found a way to be a contributing member.
Coaching Challenge: Who are the people in your “village?” What do you contribute to the village? What do you receive from the people in your village?
Sheri Fisher is a Life Coach who lives in Grand Junction Her practice, Living On Purpose, focuses on personal and professional coaching. The situations and characters in her column are fictional to maintain client confidentiality. If you have topic suggestions, please email or comment on Sheri’s blog. Sheri can be reached at email@example.com or for more information, visit http://www.coachwithsheri.com.