March 4, 2020
by Allison Iantosca
As a New Englander one can always relate just about anything to the seasons; especially the transition of winter to spring. And so here, at the beginning of March, I find myself, as ever, beginning to think winter is long over and any month starting with an “M” most certainly must signal the start of spring. Daylight Savings is mere days away and my brain no longer tolerates heavy, salt-crusted boots or wind-whipped, chapped hands. In fact, I fully resist any notion of winter.
But here’s the thing: it ain’t anywhere near over. An April Fool’s snowstorm is entirely possible. Crocus tips optimistically greeting the sun are as likely to be doomed by an overnight frost. White pants are not becoming when speckled with a late March “wintery mix”. And yet I act as if my very resistance can will away Mother Nature’s late winter assault.
This got me to thinking about resistance in general. The idea that I would put so much effort into fighting something I so obviously can do absolutely nothing about. Hilarious. And yet, as I look around me, this wanton resistance exists everywhere. We resist difficult conversations. Clients resist the start of a project and the relentlessness of the process. Teams wish away problematic details in plan only to find them front and center during finish. We collectively sometimes even resist celebrating a completed job out of regret at moving on. How funny we humans are.
I think this is why we stress the importance of awareness in coaching. It’s easy to wag fingers at somebody else’s resistance, harder to recognize and deal with our own. Each of us has deep and meaningful reasons for why we respond to things the way we do. No one wakes up in the morning and states “I’m going to be a jerk today”. Instead, each of us engages with the world doing the best we think we possibly can. We react with what we know, what feels safest, what we hope will bring us happiness. There is no good or bad behavior, there’s just “us” behavior. Me being me and you being you.
Powerful questions posed through a coaching engagement open up personal understanding of our resistances and, perhaps, help us lean into the very thing we put so much energy into protecting. Sometimes a little love and support is all your resistance might need.
The funny part is I probably won’t even notice when it isn’t really winter anymore. By then I will have moved onto some other resistance. How human of me.
Allison Iantosca is a Gestalt International Study Center (GISC) trained coach certified by ICF with extensive leadership and management experience. She is an Executive Coach and is the Owner and President of Boston based FH Perry Builder.