“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weights you down.” Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon
Last week one of my coaching clients stopped working with me.
When she came to me she had one foot out the door and no idea how to save a marriage that was essentially on life support.
Now several months later, she and her husband have re-connected, they’re communicating every day and they’re enjoying doing things together that they haven’t done in years.
She also is now equipped with all the tools she needs to sustain this connection in her marriage.
So she told me she was going to stop working with me and I was… THRILLED:
That means she got the result she wanted.
That means she feels confident and equipped in her marriage.
That means that I did my job as her coach.
Years ago when I was in coach training with best-selling author & Oprah contributor Martha Beck, she taught me an incredibly important lesson that I still carry with me today in my coaching practice. She taught us that if we keep coaching clients with us for years, we’re actually not helping them…we’re enabling them, which will only make them feel disempowered in their own lives. She taught us that our job as coaches was to help our clients feel more empowered in their lives – not less. She taught me that my job as a coach was to help my clients to overcome – to solve – the challenge they are facing.
If I allow my coaching clients to tell and re-tell the same troubles over and over again…
If I enable my coaching clients by not equipping them with the insights and tools they need to be successful…
If I don’t provide my coaching clients the accountability and support to overcome the same painful patterns that brought them here…
…then, I’m doing them a disservice.
And if I simply tell my clients what to do, then I’m teaching them to be reliant upon me for their answers for their lives.
The result of following this approach is that I get the privilege to see my clients fly with the wings that they grew themselves, and I have to say a bittersweet and heartfelt goodbye.
So be it.
My job, as I see it, is to work myself out of a job.
So if you’ve been either going-it-alone or in therapy for months or even years and you still haven’t yet solved the struggle or achieved the result you want in your life and your most intimate relationships, maybe it’s time to try a different approach. I would love nothing more than to receive the call from you in the next few months where you tell me, “I’m going to stop working with you because I’ve got this now!”