What does the breeze have to do with coaching

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There is a soft breeze that starts blowing a little past four in the afternoon. It blows in from the sea I can’t see from my rooftop, although it is only a few miles away.

The wind rises in the East and waves its way West while the sun rests lower and lower on the horizon. I liken this wind to the wind of change that affects most of us in the afternoons of our lives (yeah, I know I couldn’t resist the metaphors). A restlessness that won’t leave us and demands that we freshen our perspective, rethink our well-worn path. In Colombo the wind is like a fan that cools the big city down after another hot day. For many of my clients, the fan of mid life actually fuels the embers deep inside, and propels them to make changes they had never thought possible.

Just as everything is settling into a soft routine, here comes the irrepressible desire to tell the organization to go take a hike, to tell the selfish off springs to find their own way, to wonder if life will only amount to “this”, whatever “this” is. Some come for a coaching session or two because they are restless, but quickly find the exploration too fraught with danger. I can understand why a successful professional would think twice about taking another direction they know nothing about. My goal is not to have them change for the sake of change, but simply to help them listen to what they are really telling themselves and then make decisions that support who they feel they are, or better yet, have the potential of becoming. The alternative seems to be a complacency that leads to smaller and smaller horizons, while a gnawing dissatisfaction creates dis-ease physically or spiritually.

For many the changes can be small, hardly a ripple to the outside world, but a profound wave inside. The result can be a settling into the life they have chosen, but with a new attitude and a bounce in their step. Now they know what they know and choose mindfully, rather than feel victimized by their circumstances. For others, their waves are tsunamis that impact their career, their partner, their family. When you see them after a year or two, they look more vibrant, as if more pixels had been added to the image they project. Their former entourage won’t speak to you J.

My role is only to catalyze. It’s their life after all, and their movement must be theirs. But it is hard to repress the awe and excitement that comes from seeing another human being take charge of his or her life, guided by a strong intention.