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  • Writer's pictureA D Ackerman

On Becoming a Butterfly

Updated: Aug 3, 2019

Photo © Alice D. Ackerman, 2019

If I am this confused, how can I ever learn this stuff?

There I sat, in the classroom, feeling completely overwhelmed, confused, and ill at ease.

Definitely uncomfortable.

Fully defeated.

I was convinced I would never learn everything I needed in order become a great coach and get my business off the ground.

Accustomed to always being in charge and knowing the right answers (or thinking that I did), the first few days of intensive coach training threw me for a loop. I had to learn not to tell people what to do. I had to learn how to be present with my clients and allow them to pull the answers out of their own beings while I facilitated the process. I had to know myself better than ever before. I had to stop overthinking everything and get out of my own way. This was hard.

At first, I was convinced that no one would ever want to hire me as their coach, since I was so confused, so lost, so insecure. But then it dawned on me: confusion was a necessary part of the growth and development process! There was no reason why I wouldn’t be a great coach, but first I had to change. I felt like a caterpillar preparing to become a chrysalis before it can emerge as a fully formed and beautiful butterfly. But why was this discomfort, this process necessary?

As a coach, I must be fully present for my clients. I must empathize with whatever need they have that prompted them to hire a coach. I want to understand their pain.

I have had painful episodes in my life, but I have mostly found ways to hide that pain from the world and sometimes also from myself. I tend to want to look fully capable, in charge, confident, and composed. If I never allow myself to fully experience my pain, how well can I truly empathize with a client who is experiencing fear, confusion, lack of confidence, sorrow, or grief?

So, as I was sitting in that classroom, befuddled and confused, I found a way to look within. To find the courage to hold up a mirror to myself, to look at what had brought me to the current time and place, to see all, or most, of my prior failings. I found the curiosity to keep asking myself more questions. I found the determination to be creative in addressing my purpose. I could become a coach. I could learn how best to partner with my clients in allowing them to find their best selves.

If I can manage to model the way—by being courageous, creative, and curious in all my interactions, maybe, just maybe I can help others to be that way too. To see what they may be hiding from themselves. I want to walk alongside them on their journey to be their best selves.

So, what about you? What are you hiding from yourself? How might you find a way to be more curious about yourself? What might a coach be able to help you see in your personal or work life that would help you reach your goals? I am looking forward to reading your responses below.

What about you? How do you handle your pain? Do you hide it from yourself and the world? Or do you have a mechanism by which you can look at your own issues? Do you have a trusted friend or confidant who helps you? What techniques do you use to keep yourself authentic to accept and grow the real you? I would love to read your thoughts in the comments.


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