Openings

I have tried to force coaching moments on people before, not because I was conscious I was doing it, but because I was just trying to help.  If someone doesn't want to be coached, they just want you to be with them.  Which you can do if you just breathe and let go of this vision you have for their personal development.  You can't push people.  When I realize what someone's type is and I say, "Hey, I think you're such and such a type", and after listening to your reasons, they say, "you know, I think I'm just a mixture of all the types", or "I must just be the tenth type" or something, you get back to your body awareness if it's left you.  Of course they're all the types, and I mean, unless they're Jesus or the divine principle incarnate, they are not the tenth type, but whatever, it's funny I guess.  It's just not the right moment, or you have just deserted yourself.  Get back to your body.  As Gurdjieff told his students over and over, "stay with yourself.  Stay with yourself."  No perceived opening is worth abandoning yourself for.

This quote from the beginning of Russ and Don's first book together- Personality Types- sums it up succinctly.  "What is the point of understanding personality types?  SInce everyone is unique, the idea of cramming people into categories seems odious."  Odious.  Exactly.  It makes me want to run for the exits when it's being done to me, and I shudder at the thought of how often I've done it to others.

James Flaherty, the principal at New Venture's West, a coaching school that essentially gets its graduates to be operating at Level 3 by the time they graduate (where they can "catch themselves in the act"), has been writing and thinking about coaching since before it was on anyone's radar, since the 80's.  He wrote a book called Coaching: Evoking Excellence in Others, which is quite dry, but I have managed to get through half of it.  He talks about openings. 

Coaching starts when either the client or the coach encounters an opening for coaching.  It seems to me in our day-to-day world, in which we routinely and competently deal with mostly recurring situations, relationships, and conversations, there really isn't any opening for coaching.  Imagine if someone offered to coach you in how you poured your cereal in the morning, how you opened your car door, or how you stood in the elevator on your way to the office.  Most of us would think this was very strange or maybe part of a Monty Python movie.

An opening for coaching is necessary.  Openings occur when the transparent fabric of our routine is disturbed- either by something breaking down, by an offer someone makes to us, or by a change in circumstances that requires a new skill from us.

Not that suggesting to someone that they might be a certain type is the same as coaching, but it still something you have to be present for, and you don't have to have a mental break-down to be open to what type you are, but a person has to be interested.  If they're not interested, you come back to the in and out of your breathing.  You land in the body.  All people want is to have people "being" with them.  Hard to do when it's your family and you care about them and you're more invested in them seeing their destructive habits.

Or you can just do like my astrologer does and only book appointments when she knows I'll be ready to hear what she has to say.  No use having a client spend 450$ on an appointment that they're not ready for, she believes.  You have to know astrology for that, though.