Therapy Meets Coaching
Meetings points between receiving therapy and providing coaching.
Hello, you are reading ‘Like Person, Like Coach’ by Iacob Bacian - a monthly newsletter exploring the intersection of personal narrative and coaching practice.
It’s hard to remember life before therapy. I stumbled into it eight years ago when I was struggling with shame and low self-worth. It has now become one the most life-affirming work I’ve done. On and off over the years it has allowed me to understand myself and given me the courage to show up for the grit in growing. As I go into my third year as coach, I continue to be fascinated by the meeting points of a therapeutic and a coaching approach to personal development and healing.
I’ve started compiling a list of these meeting points - comparisons, analogies and mostly questions. I am keen to open up this internal process and share with you my personal understanding of how therapy and coaching enable, through different means, the pursuit of life changes and personal growth. Towards the end I will also be sharing practical resources that are helping me practice boundaried coaching work.
Notes this far:
In coaching I might ask: ‘How will you know what confidence feels like?’ In therapy we might start with what it feels like to not have confidence, and perhaps through holding that with someone who can hold it, it becomes approachable, and over a couple of sessions embodied, part of one’s automatic behavior. In coaching we are primarily using language to name where we are and where we’d like to be; the limitation might be that sometimes we can’t name the things we know are missing but we might instead have an emotional, experiential, embodied sense of this. Would that be a good moment to switch working mediums in coaching conversations?
In open-ended therapy the goal/structure are very loosely defined yet the sessions, most of the time, produce the needed result. A combination of all of the following?: relational intelligence, presence, limbic resonance, intuition, connection, relationship. I value this open approach which translated in a coaching conversation, could fit exploratory topics and moments in life that needs spaciousness for them to take shape and momentum;
In therapy, the therapist joins in the person’s emotional space so they can override the negative biases and limiting beliefs. Coaches remain at a distance, though naming the emotional space at times, but always from another’s perspective and rarely from the perspective of the thinker.
Somewhere in the middle of both a therapeutic and a coaching session, if observed from the outside, they look the same in terms of creating a container for emotional, behavioral and cognitive transformation. In coaching, whilst we are having the rational making-things-happen sort of conversation, we are concomitantly experiencing an emotional connection and building trust and a working relationship - emotions are coming up in the space that need to be held in ways that feel useful, safe and coaching-appropriate.
The shift in coaching is about making creative space for the thinker to find the appropriate methods, tools and next steps for themselves and their situation. Change and transformation are not based on pre-established theories about what will be required for this particular person to overcome their limiting beliefs and behavioral patterns.
Therapy for me is like being in the middle of a pillow fight and waiting for the feathers to settle down. Coaching might be in many ways like rock climbing - we are setting the route before we climb it and our partner is supporting us from the ground, simply by holding the rope. The process is about finding the way our own particular body needs to climb the route in the most efficient, clean/clear and enjoyable way.
Where I’m taking this next:
Therapy has been and will remain a key part of my life. I am understanding more about how this influences my coaching work and style through supervision, dialogue with coaching colleagues and reading. Questions I continue to work with are:
How do I make sure I keep coaching conversations in a coaching space and how do I work with the person I’m working with to respond to when the work might go beyond its borders:
A book that is helping me with this is:
Simplifying Coaching by Claire Pedrick MCC:
Creating solid, safe containers for coaching conversations that are conducive to transformation and moving forward.
Naming trauma when it is showing up in the space, in collaboration with the thinker and appropriately in response to partnership strength.
Books that are helping me with this:
Coaching and Trauma and Therapist into Coach by Julia Vaughan Smith. The first book explores coaching-appropriate interventions for working with trauma in coaching sessions. The second book looks at the additional skills required for therapists who are looking to train as coaches.
How you can work with me:
Book a 20min free call to explore coaching. Email email@example.com
One-to-one coaching conversations (£75/hr, some reduced fees are available depending on personal circumstances. Book on Calendly
A coaching series - a series of coaching conversations spread across a few months. Number of sessions is adjusted in conversation depending on progress.
Find more information on my website: https://www.iacobrbaciancoaching.com/
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