The world is moving so fast at such a disruptive pace that there’s no way we can perform well as coaches unless we make our own sanity and stability amid the storm a top priority. After all, the compassionate, intentional focus required to help our clients accomplish meaningful goals can be ours only if we are more evolved than they are in the fine art of navigating overwhelm.
To stay centered in an increasingly distracted culture takes real stamina and passion; the kind that comes from a sophisticated capacity to pay attention to what’s essential and let the rest go. The less discerning we are in the face of endless options and disruptions, the more likely we are to break down from the onslaught, and the less powerful we can be as guides.
The usual tips for avoiding burn-out – eat right, exercise, learn how to manage your time and say no – simply aren’t sufficient in a world that is becoming more insistent and jarring by the minute. We need to be masters at self-care and personal sustainability in order to handle the responsibilities of our profession, all of which call for advanced mental health and emotional intelligence, astutely and ethically.
So how do we ensure our own psychological resilience no matter what is happening in our lives? How can we stay sturdy, energized, and optimistic in light of the unceasing outer directives swirling around us?
Enlist our own coaches, of course, to champion and support us in making resonant choices and staying on course toward our own definitions of success. Because, seriously, how else can we assist others in doing the same?
Like me, you’ve probably had coaches who were so obviously not doing the necessary inner work to stay grounded that it was actually counterproductive to meet with them. I once had a coach so clueless about her need to be present that she answered her phone twice during our session – and it was her husband calling about routine matters, not a client in distress. I had another coach who was so over-extended that she forgot to tell me when she moved to a new location, leaving me waiting futilely outside her former office. I’ve had other coaches who seemed so scattered and rushed during our time together that I left our sessions feeling anxious and out of sorts.
My current coach is the kind of coach we all need if we want to thrive and grow in our field. She is beyond me in her breadth of consciousness, connectedness, and “let’s get you into a bigger playground” thinking. She is more in the moment than I am, more intuitively driven, more adept at interacting productively and pleasingly with the cacophony. In short, my coach embodies and exudes who I aspire to be, and so she can take me to new levels of self-awareness, inner direction, wisdom, and, most importantly, engagement and groundedness.
What I know from my own experience as a coach is that we can’t burn out if we have an inspiring, reliable, more developed coach in our corner. Because if we are always readying ourselves for the journey, refining our capacity to adapt to and cope with constant change, polishing our strengths for whatever lies ahead, continually cultivating a personal rhythm that lets us function at our best, we will stay sharp, vital, committed, and awake. As the world becomes more discombobulating in its abundance and options, the rules of thriving keep evolving, and we can win as coaches when we stay ahead of the game.
To deepen your power to avoid burn-out in the coaching profession, please attend my workshop on the topic at the June 9th ICFNE Maine meeting in Portland from 3:00 to 7:15 pm. Click here for more information and to register.
Amy Wood, Psy.D. is a psychologist, coach, co-founder of the speakers bureau Speak Performance, and author of the award-winning book Life Your Way: Refresh Your Approach to Success and Breathe Easier in a Fast-paced World. She specializes in helping coaches, therapists and other personal and professional development leaders to more effectively guide others. She is a National Speakers Association member, and is often called on for her expert opinion by media ranging from local newspapers to Parade Magazine. Dr. Wood earned her doctorate from the Adler School of Professional Psychology, is certified by the College of Executive Coaching, and is based in Portland, Maine. To learn more, visit www.amywoodpsyd.com or www.speakperformance.net.