I am fully aware than in a world where segmenting, focusing and niche targeting are key trends, talking about comprehensive, holistic and integrative approaches to coaching can sound old fashion. But this is what I think that coaching should be. Everything that has to do with skillful people helping other skillful people to find their next right move in life, professionally or personally speaking, needs to look at the big picture and do the hard work. Otherwise it is a short term solution. And that’s not what most people look for when hiring a coach. A night out with friends can do that for less money and more fun I guess.
I am a business and career coach that supports entrepreneurs, researchers and professionals of all walks of life to explore where they come from and where they want to go. They find their answers by themselves and those answers come from within. That’s in my opinion the only way to find peaceful, enjoyable solutions: when those are taken from a place of authenticity and self acceptance. It doesn’t matter if your company is growing quickly and making good money or if you are a mum of three kids thinking to go back to work after a decade: if this style resonates with you, if you believe that you need to take a 360 degrees look to your life, this approach will work. Sometime life is this simple.
This coaching approach starts with the acknowledgement that every topic brought to the sessions is complex and it has its roots in different areas of a person’s life and therefore it impacts different aspect of that person’s life. This way of working requires active listening, curiosity and the patience to let the conversation flow to different directions. It uses the use power of non judgemental questioning to guide the client to the root of the challenge. The acknowledge of the complexity and interconnection of all aspects of our life (our personal life, our career and study plans and our business ventures) bring along a natural feeling of compassion. It also gives the coach the humility to ask from a place of equality, rather than taking the role of the advisor or expert.
I love Socrates’ comparison of philosophers with midwives. He believed that a good educator is whoever helps the student or pupil to come up with their own truth, their own baby. And, on a side note, it is refreshing to see- in a male dominated Western Philosophy tradition- that women’s roles, bodies and efforts are used in a powerful example about education, wisdom and companionship. Socrates’ method is called Maieutics, and if you read one of Plato’s Dialogues*, you will see how the conversation flow goes from questions about health, to the pupil’s role as a citizen, to his ideas about education and love,to his personal values and ethics. The artificial differentiation among fields and knowledge that we have established in the last 200 years didn’t exist back then. It didn’t make sense. Maybe still doesn’t.
In my work as a coach I question these boundaries because they are sometimes walls that hold us back in our comprehension on our challenges’ causes and possible solutions. Comprehensive coaching means that either if you are setting up a business venture, changing careers or feeling stuck, we will look at the big picture together.
And yes, it can be slower at the beginning as I don’t have a seven tips list to go through or a 21 days program. It can be less neatly delineated. But it is definitely faster in the long term, as every issue you get to identify and solve, won’t come up again in a different form few months later. And it will be more meaningful work to do as you will get to know what genuinely moves you. And that gives you internal, long term, stable happiness and peace. It will ground you, which translates into a more confident, optimistic, positive, balanced, person. You will be better leader, entrepreneur, manager, professional, parent, colleague, spouse, friend. Because you will be better.
Before wrapping up, I will give you an example of one type of issues I encounter frequently: the issue of control. When working with entrepreneurs and business people that are scaling up their venture, this issue comes up a lot in the form of lack of delegation and micromanagement (you know few of these people I know :). In the business literature it is called the transition from manager to leader. The deep issue here is the need of control, that has different manifestations. If you don’t go to the root and treat and heal the need of control, it will come up again in other areas of the client’s life: from developing and eating disorder to get obsessed with making money to compulsive shopping. I have seen it. The need of control is a coping mechanism that serves a reason, so if you do a quick work to stop the behaviour (the lack of delegation) without addressing the cause (the need of control) it will keep coming up in nasty ways.
So yes, I focus on business and on career coaching, but from a comprehensive, holistic perspective that means that whatever challenge you have to face and solve, YOU have to do it. Therefore ALL YOU is welcome to my practice.
*If you just have time for one dialogue, read Laques (about courage). Can’t recommend it enough and it is quite brief.