As a coach, have you ever felt like your client, or perhaps even you are just going through the motions?
Maybe the team you are coaching is cycling again – talking about the same old things they’ve discussed many times before, without any energy or commitment to try something different and move forward. You try to get them unstuck but you too are doing the same old things. It doesn’t feel like you are actually getting anywhere.
As coaches, we can unknowingly recreate the team’s issues, mirroring their mindset and behaviour in an unhealthy parallel process. You and your client may have originally been excited to work together, but now it feels less interesting and more of a chore.
Instead of growing and developing, you feel like you’re stuck in a rut – stagnant.
Such feelings can be scary, frustrating, and overwhelming. The good news? Not only are these feelings normal from time to time, they are okay and a perfect example of something you may want to bring to coaching supervision.
It may take time for us to recognize that as coaches, we too are actually stuck. How can we be experiencing the very thing we are supposed to be so good at, and which we get paid to help our clients work through?!?
As coaches we are trained and aspire to be non-judgemental. Yet here we are, judging clients as being boring, unwilling to truly do the work and dig deep – just wasting our time.
It’s not always something we notice or can name at first. The feelings often build slowly over time. Like most coaches constrained by COVID-19, you may be required to run your sessions online. One day begins to blur into the next.
Signs that you’re stuck as a coach
- Every conversation and engagement feels the same. Nothing feels unique or distinguishes one session from another. Is today Monday or Friday? Why is the team going there again?!? Didn’t I already talk about this issue with this client? It’s as if you’re living the plot line of 50 First Dates or Groundhog Day, cycling through the same experiences over and over again.
- Your biggest challenge is just trying to get through another day. You don’t feel inspired or excited, nor are you learning and growing as a coach. Your clients are floating on a surface level, bringing very transactional goals to your coaching sessions. You are just doing your best to get through the “to-do” list of clients until the day is done.
- You lack motivation. You’ve collected a stack of books and many creative ideas you want to try with clients, but your motivation has run dry. You can’t seem to find the energy to get started and don’t even know where to begin. The fear of failure is keeping you from changing things up. You’re sticking with the status quo to avoid the risk of failure (also known as learning).
Reflective practice is one very effective way to help figure out why you’re stuck, while exploring what you want and strategizing about what you need to move back into a place of motivation, confidence and excitement. Coaching supervision, either individually or in a group, may provide just the inspiration you seek.
It’s easy and natural to fall into the trap of doing the same old things in the same old way. Your comfortable habits have probably brought you some level of success up until now. Working with a trained coach supervisor will help get you out of your creative rut.
Supervision creates a safe, non-judgmental, collegial environment of equal peers to discuss innovations and provide a fresh perspective. It might be just what you need to spark the ideas for change which will get you inspired again.
Coaching supervision can also be restorative. It allows time and space to step back and reconnect with your “why.” Reframing the conversation and tapping into your own inner knowing and creativity can help you switch from a push to a pull in your work.
As you begin to develop your own internal supervisor, you will start to work more from source – listening to and trusting your inner prompting, hunches, desires and excitement.
In coaching supervision conversations, you can come to better understand and own your strengths and talents. This support encourages you to consciously look for ways to tap into and amplify your gifts in ways that benefit not only you, but also the clients and systems you work with and impact.
Coaching supervision allows you to stop and reflect on what makes your heart sing as a coach. What do you want to create as your legacy? You learn to give yourself permission to “embrace the suck,” as Brené Brown says. With the support of your supervisor, you can recalibrate. Tune in to your own self-care needs, which sometimes get overlooked or minimized in the desire to add value for our clients.
Your supervisor may even have you go back to previous sources of joy and play outside so you can get your juices flowing again and be true to who you are. Nature has an incredible energy and resonance. Drawing on stillness and nature often allows us to tune into ourselves, opening up new energy, determination and creative ideas.
As they say, who you are is how you coach. If you’ve been stuck in stagnation for too long, reflecting on your practice through coaching supervision might provide the inspiration you need to move forward.
Learn more about Novalda’s coaching supervision programs.
WRITTEN BY: Larissa Thurlow, MDDE, CEC, PCC, a coach supervisor facilitating reflective practice, learning, growth and development for individuals, groups and teams in education, finance, health, government, science and technology. Her client list has included LinkedIn, Facebook, Stanford University, Pear Therapeutics and BlackRock.
Question | What do you do when you find yourself in a rut?
Explore these ideas further.
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- Discover the difference between coach supervision and coach mentoring
- Explore our upcoming Coaching SuperVision program