How it feels to be coached

I recently went through a coaching journey with Shweta. I started when COVID (and its related anxiety was reaching a peak), and I was looking for someone who could hear my inner conflicts and help me find a way to be better, live better, even during tough times. Sometimes career and work-related drive can be a bit blinding, and I was looking to find a way to balance it better. 

It’s been more than six months since we started, and to my surprise, it started to go smoothly almost instantly. We found a natural rhythm and cadence in the conversation. It of course helped that Shweta is a brilliant listener, with a mind capable of holding conversations, information and silence in equal measure. 

It’d be oversimplifying a coaching journey to its bare insights. It misses the beauty and the wondering discovery during the journey, like a long walk through a dense forest, and overturning a dirty rock to find a beautiful fern or a stunning pattern of moss and lichen. I think that’s what I take away the most – the meandering process of it. Coming up with thoughts, questions and goals, it’s probably the hardest part – to put in actual words what you are feeling, and what you strive to feel. Followed by the wondering of the why and how of it, you take a few paths to that, going back with your coach to your foundation when you are stuck and then coming out with insights and paths forward. You see so much of yourself along the way, you ask questions of yourself, you end up surprising yourself. 

Going through a coaching experience can be sometimes like wading through a dusty attic, you are surprised to find some things there which shouldn’t be, and the absence of some which you assumed were there all along. You cough, sneeze and hack your way through the knick-knacks accumulated during your lifetime, habits and biases which have grown in the shade, assumptions like rickety floor boards. People and experiences tend to figure prominently (our anxieties and fears tend to have definite forms and triggers, I found) and you learn why.  It can be emotionally difficult, especially the start of each session but inevitably you come out of it feeling lighter, leaner and powerful.

Your coach is who you start doing it for, very much the face in your mind whose approval you strive for. As you go through the process, she fades from your mind’s eye, almost formless, just a gentle voice while you go through your journey of discovery. Your coach is also your guide, gently encouraging a rest, some reflection and pulling you back to the best version of you.

I don’t know how it can not be for most people, but it did become spiritual for me, in the sense that it begs the question who you really are, who you want to be and for whom. Most of all, I found something which has been written in books for times immemorial – the questions may lie without but the answers lie within. 

Where do you end up after this? I certainly feel more equipped than before to manage crises, you feel you are reacting with more awareness than impulse, you tend to become more thoughtful and calculated in your responses. You feel more confident in your processes – clarity on the things and aspects which nourish you, the strengths and abilities you can count on and I think most of all, your choices become clearer. Why am I doing what I am doing? Why am I doing this exactly this way? You feel more rooted to yourself, and probably a little less sensitive to the noise outside. I also found it easier to develop and nourish good habits after the coaching journey, and I think I put that down to knowledge of how to “hack” your internal wiring. 

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