Tuesday 16 October 2012

Coaching states of mind

Firstly, it's important to note that a "state of mind" is not merely a way of thinking. Mind comprises cognition, emotion and volition (exercising choice), and when one of these patterns changes, so do the others. It's one system, or rather, one ecology that connects to an increasingly expanding possibility of purpose, awareness and intent.

Most state of mind coaching happens on the job, or in training for the work. Aircraft pilots have their way of focusing: clear, concise communication for the sake of operational functionality. Teachers use multi-layered communication, catering for varieties of communicative receptiveness. Hairstylists depend on what works for them, adapting their coversation form client to client. And nuns who take the vow of silence have to learn how to deal with it. Communication obviously plays a huge part, and begins with intra-communication: how you talk to yourself.

Coaching confidence, for example, often involves deliberate neglect of a problem area of self-acceptance and the building of a scaffold of pride in a new area, and shifting awareness or focus to that new area. Whatever you say to yourself, or whatever attitude or stance you communicate to yourself can be changed, even though the pattern of awareness may feel as though it's written in stone.

As a child, I was taught that healing as in miraculous healing was not part of God's will. You accepted afflictions and bore them as part of God's plan. Miraculous healings might have been on the pages of the Bible, but they were to stay there. "Sickness and illness are not part of God's plan for us," said the preacher, one day. "The Bible tells us this." I remember that moment very vividly. I was on my feet within one hundredth of a second. "Where?" I demanded. He swung towards me, a bit surprised at the interruption, but didn't miss a beat. Calmly, he began to recite and refer to Biblical texts. From then on I wanted to know more, but was still convinced that miracles certainly weren't for me. Decades later, I can state with certainty that anyone who wants to learn the state of mind that assists healing and curing in dramatic ways can do so. It requires a few easy exercises, a lot of practise and a firm, clear intention. For example, I once had a patient with a frozen shoulder. She could bearly move her arm to the front of her chest. Within forty-five minutes she could touch the back of her head. I don't know what the long-term outcome was because she was so alarmed at her dramatic progress that she ran away and never returned.

Coaching states of mind is voluntary. The coach has to be very sensitive to the subtleties of what the coachee asks for, requires and demands. These might not be the same thing, Business coaching, career coaching, relationship coaching, life coaching, health coaching and spiritual coaching have a starting point in common: the need to change the pattern of mind in respect of cogntion, emotion and volition. "I can shift your stuff," says Graham le Sar frequently enough on my laptop screen. Fair enough. But why can't I shift my own stuff? Why do I need a coach when it all depends on me, anyway? There are two reasons to call for a coach: to learn the manouvre or two that he or she knows and you don't (and you know you don't) and for the accompaniment (the extra monkey effect). Often you move along far more rapidly and effectively when there's more than you assisting your movement and growth.

Coaching states of mind is where most coaching begins. Boredom can become fascination, listlessness can turn to excitement, despair to hope and grief to joy. Faith is not about belief but about profoundly influential action based on trust. It's common to defer such action for your whole life, and then die. Much better to give yourself a heads-up and look for the ecology that begins with your present state of mind but certainly doesn't end with it.

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