A handful of the 1-2-1 clients I work with put their coaching on pause at one or more points during our relationship. They are not ready, or not ready now, to focus on our work together.
Their reasons include illness, busyness in a way which precludes focus, personal reasons (births, marriages, deaths), or the work we are doing together is making things worse, not better, because they are not ready to make decisions, take the actions or slay the dragons. Not quite yet, anyway. They are psyching themselves up and busting tolerations and clearing the way.
I encourage everyone else to keep the momentum up, however they are feeling, because coming to the call could make the pivotal difference this month, or at least make you feel better about not being ready. Yet. These are often the best calls when clients show up bravely when they think they have nothing to report and are feeling a bit low about it.
The results in coaching are often seen in fits and starts, spurts of action, pauses to catch one’s breath. It isn’t a slow steady climb. Well, it is, but you can’t see it like that as you go along. You can only get that perspective in hindsight. As long as you keep on keeping on.
But sometimes you need a break. You can’t keep on.
Right now one of my clients who did take a break has come back and she is achieving impressive results. We were making it worse, not better. So she took a hiatus and when she felt ready, she returned.
What happened in the hiatus?
I’m not sure. She did that bit by herself. But she’s back now and it’s all full speed ahead and quick starts and awe-inspiring life decisions and onwards and upwards. It can’t always be like that, can it? We’d be in adrenal fatigue!
Everyone must go at their own pace and ask for whatever best support they need. My client always drives. I often ask a new or potential client “Why are we speaking today?” because I want to know how I can best serve them. They mostly know their own minds.
The rest comes from knowing you and that only comes from working together for a while so I can get to know each client individually, what you need from me and when, how you get best results and how I can remind you of that and get you into their good place.
I observe you patterns. I watch your feelings. I listen to what you say and don’t say. And then I choose whether to support, cajole, encourage, sympathise, challenge, educate or any of a full range of what might be appropriate in the moment. One or more of those often.
My goal is to meet you where you are. And if you need time off ‘cos you are not ready, then fine by me. Unless I think you are wriggling on the hook and looking for an easy out and you want me to catch you out in that one and give you a hard time. I will, if I must!
I will generally believe you and take at face value what you say. And depending on how emotionally robust you are, I might fossick around in there a little. But mostly I’ll take you at your word and treat you like an adult. You’re not ready. Fair enough. Come back when you are.
Until then I’ll hold the rest of your calls in my online diary bank and to your order; it’s not use it or lose it chez Judith. And you can draw them down in any timeframe that suits us both. Take all the time you need, but don’t hide. I might send you a little message or a nudge while you’re gone, just to make sure everything’s OK and to let you know I’m thinking about you.
And I’ll be right here, ready and waiting for you when the time is right. Just where I’ve always been. On the end of an email or a Skype call.
Are you ready?