Clients, Sweet Spots and Values

Here is the next instalment from Wise Goose student Helen Tyrrell on her journey to becoming a coach. She’s celebrating new clients arriving, one through Wise Goose ‘Find a Coach’ Directory, and getting to grips with self-employment with the help of a friend. She has had some great feedback on previous posts, so do read on…

So, things roll on…. and over the last five weeks I have had the privilege of undertaking a pilot 5 step programme to ‘authentic self-employment’  led by one of my fellow Wise Goose students, Mhairi Mclean.

Many big questions for me were addressed by this short programme and my impossible mountain now looks- well sort of more achievable – maybe. I find I am also less attached to outcomes. The element of fear seems to have dropped out, and, gradually, new clients are beginning to arrive. Of course there are a thousand unanswered questions and things are still as precarious as can be, but I have begun to feel a change. So what has happened?

I can’t reveal all in a dramatic gesture because it is something about the way the course was delivered that has reached me. However I can reveal some learning about the art of exchange: exchange of ideas, thoughts and listening: authentic conversations. If business is a dance between your own needs, talents and skills, and the needs that the world brings to you, how do you navigate that spot? One answer is by bringing your authentic self to every conversation and by listening: both practices which work well with coaching – and which help me understand what is going on out there, beyond the limits of me, in a very real way. Any needs that show up in those conversations do so in a very personal, specific way rather than being faceless, guessed at, generalised, so it is easier to recognise where and if I might help. I also have the chance to become the client when I meet a person or service that fills a need of my own. Everybody wins.

The other part of the programme that has me still mulling is the area of my chosen business values:  balance, courage and financial sustainability. Thinking though the value of balance has required some deep reflection. What does balance mean in a business context? For me balance means not working all the hours God gives! it means occasional fallow days in the working week,  time for my creative projects, for my friends, time for care of body and for proper care of the ‘household’, our immediate environment– a true ‘ecology’, where we remember that eco once meant ‘household’ in Ancient Greek. The sort of balance that allows me to give of my best and most creative self to my clients, rather than a burnt out shell.  It is easier said than done. Our ‘always on’ culture of perpetual summer is deeply ingrained in many of us, myself included. It’s also more radical than it might sound. Received wisdom says work ethic is rewarded. My creativity workshops were called ‘Play Ethic’ to remind myself of the value of play time…. and yet, still an inner critic harps on, dismissing this approach as frivolous, lazy, entitled, privileged, out of touch with reality, with necessity. Is it? And if yes, how impoverished are our lives by this? How do we navigate the tension between said necessity and, well, life?

Maybe that goes to the heart of my coaching practice as well. It is said that you are best placed to teach what you yourself have had to learn – or in my case go on learning. If you too feel that your best life choices are also often assailed by that inner critic, or that you face a tension between necessity and your lifestyle of choice perhaps we could explore it together through coaching? There is much richness and relevance to your struggles and they have a significance beyond you, to the culture we live in. Maybe you would like an open, free, unstructured  conversation to see if we have a sweet spot exchange of skills or money? Or maybe you’d just like to talk – I know I would! Drop me a line!  And of course if you want to know more about Mhairi and Business and Freedom and that amazing 5 step programme, drop me a line too. Who knows she may run it again before too long!

Image by Helen Tyrrell