Last year, I offered a coaching workshop called “What does it take to Change?” at a women’s conference in Whistler, BC. The conference website, commented that: “We know what it feels like to want to slow down, make changes and create meaning in our lives, but are too busy keeping up with our relentless schedule that we’re not sure how to start.”
I could relate. Working as a manager at a university here in BC, while trying to launch my own coaching practice and organizational development consultancy again after a recent move from Montreal at the same time, had been … amongst other things, busy… and, at times, stressful. And while a retreat from the pace of responsibilities and life is restorative, I knew there were ways in which I was living my life that contributed to a frenetic pace – to that very “busy-ness” that I felt the need to retreat from.
What we know from human development research is that in trying to change, our attempt is often in tension with another thing that we value – something that we feel is part of our identity or “who we are.” This is something Integral Coaching Canada calls a “current way of being.” This is a way we are in the world, which may offer us some wonderful and useful experiences in the world, however won’t allow us to have something that we want.
For example, “Sarah” wants to become more reflective. Her “current way of being” goes, goes and goes, and does, does, does. Her coach may give her a metaphor like the “Busy Beaver” for her current way of being.
Now, instead of getting into why Sarah (unconsciously) believes that she is only as valuable as she is productive. And the more she goes, goes, goes and does, does, does… the more she is worthy of… success, love, or whatever it is… And that this is why she cant become more reflective. And therefore this means that all of our current “ways of being” prevent us from achieving our goals… We’re simply going to call her Current Way of Being in relationship to her topic (becoming reflective) the “Busy Beaver.” Because that’s simply how Sarah is being in relationship to her topic: it’s not WHO SHE IS. And, it’s therefore CHANGE-ABLE.
We can then offer Sarah a New Way of Being metaphor (for example a Swan) who’s way of being provides Sarah with the opportunity for her to become reflective.
This is easier said than done if you accept that, in order for real change to take place in your life, you need to change your way. It requires developing the muscles of “Swan-ness” in the day-to-day: something pretty foreign and out of reach for Sarah’s current way. Thankfully, with coaching (and peer support if group coaching is your thing), there are others who can help guide us through our blind spots, and develop “Swan-ness” even if it’s not yet part of how we are. And this gives us access to a new world – and ultimately, a different experience of who we are capable of being.
Debunking the idea that we can get to where we want to be through sheer effort (i.e., if we only run faster and harder toward our goals), the Integral Coaching approach, instead, develops some perspective about how we are currently, and we discover – via a metaphor offered to us by our coach – how we can adopt a new way of being that allows us to approach our goals differently.
Does this make sense? What’s your current or new way of being in relationship to what you want to change?BACK TO MAIN PAGE