Patience with Coaching

May 3, 2024

By Allison Iantosca, ACC

How does coaching, a human process of awareness building and choice making, fit into our automated world?

Yesterday was a regular old Wednesday.

Digital alarm got me up, coffee brewed by an early morning pre-set, the Roomba had vacuumed overnight. Notifications of one kind or another littered my home screen all day along with calendar updates to keep me on the taught wire of the day’s agenda. The groceries I ordered on-line late afternoon Tuesday appeared at my door less than 24 hours later and my 3:00 Starbucks, thanks to the app, was probably ready before I left to pick it up. Hot, fresh, instant.

No sacrifice to quality or expectation for these now daily experiences. This isn’t the future. Not digitally enhanced, fantasized, sci-fi. This is how I live my life. What I want when I want it. Like, NOW.

Yet, even as I take the time to list it out, it feels urgent, lacking the sweetness of a managed pace and living more in the moment. I can’t help but wonder then, about the impact of our insta-lifestyle on experiences that are meant for longer marination. Like, for instance, coaching.

No doubt, a fifteen to thirty minute coaching session can provide a solid reframe of a particularly challenging situation. Enough to give you some workable adjustments to get through the challenge at hand. There are apps for that!

And oh, how I sympathize. I too want a quick fix to quiet the low-frequency anxiety of unsettledness I seem to carry with me these days. To capture worry and shame and guilt like flies on flypaper before they even enter my consciousness and quickly dispose of the whole mess in one fell, automated, swoop.

But a full coaching experience is more like a new jar of pickles. Each session, a turn against the vacuum seal. Effort toward a, sometimes imperceptible, loosening of a strong protective measure that serves a meaningful purpose. We know we want in. Want the top off. Want the satisfying “pop” signaling release/access/change. But it takes some red-faced endurance, a towel or a tool, some muscle. And it takes a lot of tries.

Maybe another way to look at it is that all of the automation is meant to clear space for us to do things that are meaningful. Because isn’t that the point? Less time in the grocery line, in the coffee line, vacuuming the floor means more time available to call on the parts of you that have been left to sit in the waiting room chairs. No more “it’s a little backed up in here. We’ll get to you soon. Thanks for your patience.” The turn has been called and it is all yours.

I guess what I am saying is the things we can get instantly these days never seem to last terribly long– we always need more to sate a temporary requirement, temporarily. But for the deeper satisfaction we ultimately crave, we need to trust the series of single turns.

And, ironically, if it is successful, our new way of living in the world might feel, well, automatic!

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.

*Photo Credit: Pixabay

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