Coaching Clients With “Too Many Interests” To Choose Just One

Buy No

by Margaret Lobenstine

In your
coaching practice, have you run across people who are:

  • totally gung
    ho about one idea. Yet, just when the coaching work gets
    them moving on some solid, specific first steps, they want
    to completely change direction?
  • bright,
    articulate managers who don't seem motivated by the
    vertical promotional opportunities put before them, and
    freeze-up when asked where they hope to be in five years?

  • business
    clients, successfully climbing their career ladders, who
    feel more bored, than pleased by the situation without
    knowing why?

If you've been nodding your head, you may be coaching
Renaissance Souls without realizing it. If so, here are
two very different possible outcomes:

  • Becoming well versed in the most effective ways to help
    such clients can add a very exciting group of Renaissance
    Souls to your coaching base. (And the word-of-mouth will
    be amazing!)
  • Not understanding the special issues Renaissance Souls
    , especially in areas such as time management,
    self-esteem, and life design, can cause you to quickly
    lose such clients.

Who Are Renaissance Souls?

While there are many differences among them, Renaissance
Souls are people who share the following three

  1. They prefer variety and combination over choosing any
    one thing

  2. Their process involves widening their options rather
    than narrowing their choices, and correlating the task
    they're doing with the energy place they're in as much as

  3. They have an unusual definition of success: upon
    reaching the point where they truly "get" something,
    Renaissance Souls opt for change rather than expansion.
    Even if others believe there's more to do, greater glories
    to achieve, more markets to conquer, Renaissance Souls get
    bored. "Been there, done that," could be their mantra.

What Renaissance Souls Are Not

  1. Renaissance Souls have no more need to be geniuses than
    people who follow one passion need to be child prodigies.
  2. Nor do all Renaissance Souls suffer from ADHD
    (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). That's a
    neurological disease that affects some people and not
    others across the spectrum of humankind: in fact,
    single-focus Mozart has been identified as having ADD.
  3. Job-hoppers
    are often thought to be Renaissance Souls. However,
    Renaissance Souls choose to change positions/fields
    because change feeds their spirit, while many job-hoppers
    to stay put, but aren't given that opportunity,
    due to buy-outs, changes in the economy, and other factors
    beyond their control.

How to Know If A Potential Client is a Renaissance Soul

Keep your ears open for indicative early clues:

  • "I'm a mess. I
    can't ever stick with anything. I've done so many different
    things I can't even do a resume!"
  • "Everyone else
    sees me as successful, but I can't explain it: I just want
  • "I have a
    million things going but I can't seem to finish any of them,
    which disappoints others and makes me feel so guilty!"
  • "I've enjoyed
    jumping around doing different things with my life, but I
    don't have a secure retirement package, so know it's time to
    get with it and pick a career!"

Things To Do Differently When Coaching a Renaissance Soul

Be conscious of the language you are using (e.g. avoid
using questions like "What do you find most
interesting/worthwhile/intriguing?" as a litmus test for
making decisions.) Also be aware of the assumptions you
may be making (e.g. that Renaissance Soul mission
statements will serve as a helpful guides for choosing a

Do Renaissance Soul Clients Provide Special Challenges?

Yes, to effectively coach your Renaissance Soul clients,
you need to be equipped to answer profound questions such

  • How on earth
    do I make a living if I keep pursuing different interests?
  • What about the
    fact that I never finish anything—I have all these half-done
    projects making me feel guilty
  • Can't I be
    considered an expert in anything?
  • Sometimes I
    wonder if it's just too overwhelming to be pursuing so many
    different things

A Special Plus to Remember

Many of you
may be Renaissance Souls, since coaching offers such
variety, and in

learning more about this area of coaching you may also be
inviting more kindred spirits into your practice. It's a
great gift to know the difference between
"Jack-of-all-trades, master of none" and Renaissance Souls!
It's also truly gratifying to help such clients understand
their special gift.

Margaret Lobenstine, M.A. is an internationally known

and author of THE RENAISSANCE SOUL: Life Design for
People With Too Many Passions to Pick Just One (Random
House, 2006.) Her nine-CD set, COACHING THE RENAISSANCE
SOUL: The Guide to Working With Clients Who Have "Too Many
Interests" to Pick Just One, provides hours of detailed,
practical information and is available through her website

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