Labor coaching- How to help others going thru change
We all need to be reminded sometimes......of our greatness, of the possibilities, of our strength, or that we are loved. This is especially needed in those times when we are going thru changes, whether it's moving to new job, starting a new relationship, letting go of unhealthy habits, or finding more pleasure in life, it is all a process birthing new things in the world, for ourselves and for each other. Creating our dreams is very similar to childbirth and birth is so much easier with good labor coaches! The moments that we can learn how to support each other, truly support, are infinite and such a gift. A year ago in January 2013 I sat outside of the dance studio, wondering and reflecting on the direction of my future. The fork in the road I was looking at had two paths, one was to continue teaching movement in a method and for a company I had been with for 13 years and yet was disillusioned by the lack of congruency and direction of the company, or , to create my own method of movement/dance that I felt would serve my community and myself with more integrity and allow me to be self-employed and helping others. The choice was clear, the apprehension was also.
The gestation period was an experiential period of not knowing exactly what it was going to be! We moved, discussed, explored, waited, and over time Kai began to blossom. The labor coaches were the students who saw the vision with me and where open to not knowing. That takes tremendous courage, positive energy , and belief in creativity.
1. The first tip to helping another as they go thru change is to believe BEYOND THAT PERSONS BELIEF in themselves that they can do it!! Beyond any doubt and thru any conflict, hold the space for possibility. This may take practice and some clearing in your own mind. Take your own opinions, judgements and inner dialogue out of the space and be fully present.
After months of not knowing.....Kai began to have a vibe, a feel......Kai bow's ( these are routines though they are created for teachers to use very creatively to add diversity and a map for them to use loosely during classes) began to come forth, Kai Immersions and "bubbles" formed ( these are the trainings for personal or to become a facilitator....the foundations of what make Kai different than other classes) and a rhythm/heart beat of Kai classes followed....Flow was evident. My labor coaches were those students who humbly listened and energized the steps that emerged as a pattern as Kai moved forward. Labor of love coaches know how to count the contractions, and know that it's all natural and something great is coming.......
2. Step two has two parts
a. To listen is an art form that takes intention and practice. To be a great listener, stop what you are doing and truly listen. Often times not saying ANYTHING is the most powerful way to support someone struggling to find their way through and obstacle. Listening also means can you be with my discomfort and NOT try to fix ANYTHING. Just be with it......Know beyond a doubt that I have the strength to figure it out.....YET, can you be with me while I do that?
b. Energizing means you know the questions to ask and affirm that the other has the strength to do it. Asking good questions takes practice also. A good standard one is "when in your life have you done something you didn't think you could do, something you overcame and look back on as a strength"? We all have had moments, whether it's learning to ride a bike, swim, go to school, travel etc, that we know we stepped thru fear......asking the other to recall, or perhaps you know this person well and can help them remember their inner strength in what they've over come. Energizing has both the doing and the believing part ......Your love has to be bigger than their fear.
Kai is now coming up on 2 years old, the trademark is in it's final phases and coming soon, there is an online distant learning program coming forth as well as Water Immersions and lot's of new Bow's for teachers. The participants as labor coaches are witnessing new teachers stepping in and practicing, starting to guide classes and stretch their wings. I hear all the time that when I have a sub students sometimes miss me.....and yet, I am also witnessing a powerful surging of love supporting the new teachers as the community see's the vision and bigger picture of Kai with me and are rising up beyond their personal desires and taking that sacred - deeply sacred step of supporting a larger picture. For this I am deeply grateful as I attune my energy into all the different aspects of growing Kai and balancing it with my personal life. Labor of love coaches know the sacred act of supporting another is selfless, and yet, it pays back in a big sacred awesome way. Being part of the creation, helping one another is so inspiring and life giving....It's the only way we will become more sustainable and help each other to thrive. We are all connected and as we rise up we bring a higher perspective to all that is.
3. Serving others thru coaching is a sacred act when done with devotion and commitment. It can feel selfless and at times can be too much. Labor can be exhausting ( ask anyone who's "given birth" to anyone/thing) to both the person going thru change and for the coaches. To be a great coach you'll need to know when you need your own self care and have a plan. ( healthy boundries helps everyone) There is nothing less effective than a coach who puts their own self care on hold and brings to the coaching relationship resentment, pain, martyrdom, or even victimization. If you find yourself feeling irritated, closed, unable to listen, feeling reactive, dealing with your own "stuff" and not present to the other....you may be over extended. Every coach NEEDS other coaches to practice being coached!
The gift of being seen and witnessed through growth is highly spiritual for both the one being seen and for the one seeing. This is one of the reasons we love sports and hearing of the inspirational stories of those who overcome great odds and achieve wonderful things. It feels great to lift someone up and cheer them on! A lifecoach /wellness coach/ labor coach is a "job" that we can all do for each other that takes it one step further. I am so deeply deeply thankful for the lovely community in Sarasota and beyond for helping me to birth Kai in the world, holding me accountable, witnessing the changes, and supporting selflessly as she grows. I am blessed by all of you.