My clients - a couple, husband and wife duo came in for their first coaching session together. Setting the coaching context, I said “You are both here for yourselves first..when you share your thoughts, emotions, views , express them as yourself in first person. When you both speak for each other and share feedback, observations let that please start with “I think he/she does / says …. “
The wife started to make notes as the husband spoke “ My job does not interest me anymore..for some reason there is a deadlock..I mean like a block”
“What has been interesting for you on the job?” Hs smiled “The work environment, my role its a challenging job - high responsibility, great use of the mind - constantly looking for solutions”
“Where do you see interesting opportunities in your job for yourself?”
His face reflected his dilemma “ My job is great…my remuneration isn’t..I have been taking challenging assignments at work, proving myself constantly on the job..flip side is that the excruciating long hours at work are cutting me off from home..no growth professionally and less time at home..I am so lost and lonely”
“You mentioned earlier how you find looking for solutions interesting”
With a pensive expression he said “When I do work like this, I know my growth is stagnated…only opportunities are in challenging assignments…conversations with my seniors about my professional growth are futile…they keep saying we will see..past 3 years I have been in at the same level with minuscule financial enhancement.”
His wife interjected “ So what are you saying here..please be specific..we are going round in circles as usual” she said exasperatedly.
Addressing the wife I asked “While your husband reflects on his current state, can you share what are you looking for yourself from this session today?”
She looked at her hands and spoke softly “All these years I have second guessed him..his communication is generic, which bothers me…makes me anxious as I am not sure about what he wants”
What has worked in your marriage through these years?
Smiling tearfully, she said “Our respect and love for each other…in the toughest of days, we somehow get through.”
“What got you through?”
Husband “I think her practical approach - she finds do-able, sensible solutions..she is doing well at work too...am so proud of her”
Wife “I think while second guessing, I cut the frills and stayed focussed on the solution needed.”
Husband “ Didn’t realise she was second guessing..my respect for her is more now” he smiled looking at her.
Wife “This is where it stops..you see? So once I have the solution, things settle and we are back on the same level of second guessing communication..it leaves me bereft of any personal growth ..at work too, I am good though I know I can be better, which is not happening like I want it to”
Husband “Agree…deadlock…block..I think we can rise above this”
“So what is the couple goal?” handing them my coaching tool “i-TOT (it -Takes One Thought), I said “ Individually complete this process as mentioned in the tool…this will take 10 - 15 minutes to complete…please write the first thought that comes up…trust this process, with deep regard for all that comes up and receive that unconditionally.”
I-TOT is a coaching tool that works at various levels of sub-conscious to arrive consciously at one powerful thought that is representative of the current state.
Once they were done, both looking reflective shared their thoughts on the couple goal -
Husband “ Be objective - rise above my entangled thoughts “
Wife “ Focus on my thinking first for solutions”
“Where is the emphasis in your statement?”
Laughing , the wife said “Ah…am feeling so light as I say this…stay focused on myself- “my thinking” and then converse with him…this way I think with clarity of a viable solution and then communicate with him…I think in the past the solutions were quite likely my second guessing of what he would have wanted…which perhaps were not the best solutions..now when I think by myself first, I am objective too like him..phew!..bye bye second guessing” she smiled.
Husband “I think my emphasis is on looking at things objectively…like my current job situation - I know that I am not happy…as I rise above my tangled emotions, I am able to accept that now and look objectively for a solution..I think for myself with clarity and the solution emerging is to chalk out my skills to see where I am today and where I want to be in the next 3 years.”
With my wife, my emphasis is on clear communication by rising above..” he smiled and looking at me he said “ I will chalk out my skills at work with you in my next session and identify where I want to be in the next 3 years.”
Wife “ Wow..I think he is happier saying this now..am so proud of him” she beamed “ Next session for me - plan my growth at work - my next role…I think we are both on the same career page here”
Husband “ At home too….we are now on the same page..think objectively, rise above and communicate clearly.”
“Any closing thoughts from today’s session?”
Husband “ One objective thought at a time - great learning experience..I know I am still talking too much..will consciously work on making my communication specific from now on - one thought at a time”
Wife “ Think as me first…I realise I was second guessing by default everywhere - glad it did not have any major repercussions..”
The couple signed off with reviewing each other’s action plans in the course of the week and providing each other objective feedback - one thought at a time.