Coaching to do Less


If I were to graph the months for my mood, January would be at the bottom of the chart. And not in a good way. Though I always cheerfully and hopefully celebrate the sun’s return at the Winter Solstice on December 21, there comes a time, like now, in the middle of January, when it doesn’t feel as if the sun is going to return. And that’s true even in New Mexico, even on a sunny, 50 degree day like today. It feels to me that although the weather might be good enough to be outside doing things, my body and mind are telling me to slow down, get quiet, clear out my head, and rest. And then I remember nothing’s wrong, it’s just time to take a breath or two and be with this quiet time of short days.

 Which leads me to the question I am regularly asked of whether a person will benefit from coaching if he or she doesn’t want to accomplish something. The answer is Yes. One of the principles of Co-active Coaching is to “forward the action and deepen the learning.” So even if a client is not forwarding the action, she can be deepening her learning.  Some clients need coaching to do less. Their lives are so full that they don’t have any down time, or so hectic that they go from one emergency to another, or so full of turmoil that they are running from one crisis to another. So it helps them to look at what they have to say no to in order to have the life they want. That’s similar to what I do at this time of year. I ask myself how to quiet down. How can I really experience every moment of my life?

 I work with clients who want to live more in the present. Their lives may be fine and full, but these folks want the real, juicy, moment-to-moment experience of life. They want to be at work while they’re at work, fully engaging with their colleagues and clients, and they want to be fully with their families when they’re at home, enjoying their spouses or playing with their children. These people manage to get a short walk in during the day, to look at the trees or the mountains, or take a few minutes to breathe deeply. Their goal is to be in the stuff of living life. Not to be where they were, or where they’re going. But to be right here. This can take even more focus and attention than accomplishing a more tangible goal.

For me, choosing to live a life of fulfillment requires me to challenge myself, even if it is to do less. So I’m going to work with my coach this month on how to slow things down so that I can figure out what I really want right now, what I want to do or not do, and what I can take off my plate to enjoy life more and just to be.