Coaching Moments

"Coaching Moments" takes a
thoughtful look at how coaching
can be interwoven into our daily lives. 

‘R’ words…
by Janice Hunter

I’ve recently read a surprising number
of newsletters and blogs which have used
the phrase “the ‘R’ word”
to refer to economic recession. Now these
aren’t coy writers I’m talking
about; they’re highly respected, powerful
coaches who inspire and lead many others.
I don’t know why they use the phrase,
but it got me thinking about what recession
means to the coaching world and also set
me off on a journey exploring ‘R’

Real estate, reaction, response,
re-positioning and relief…

I live in a tourist area where many local
newly-weds can’t afford to buy homes
because of inflated house prices. In other
parts of the country, families are faced
with the prospect of downsizing or negative
equity because of the post-boom drop in
property prices. I’ve seen how distressing
this can be, so it’s not a topic I’m
being dismissive of or disrespectful about.
I’d like to share a story with you
about one of the best coaches I’ve
ever known.

He started to feel the waves of worry over
the US sub-prime mortgage situation last
year; his wife works in real estate and
they have a young family. His initial reaction
was to increase his networking and marketing
until the pace became almost hysterical
and frenetic. Then, after an aha phase,
he responded from his heart by putting the
theory of ‘letting go’ into
practice. He focused on the abundance he
already had—his family, friends, training,
experience, wisdom and qualifications—and acknowledged that they weren’t
going to evaporate if he didn’t fill
his coaching practice immediately. Instead,
he started applying for other jobs to supplement
his coaching income, even though he already
had more clients than most coaches I know.
The job offers came flowing in. He accepted
one that allowed him to work from home and
the relief was almost tangible, like a breeze
of fresh air blowing through his life, bringing
with it financial security and a continuation
of the family dynamics and routine he’d
worked so hard to build. And then—no surprise
to those of us who believe in the law of
attraction—the clients came pouring in
too. Eleven new clients in two weeks.

Redundancy, re-evaluation, readiness,
relocation and resourcefulness…

My husband works in the Scottish branch
of an international company and we’ve
been affected by the global crisis too.
Every October for the last three years,
his bosses have announced that hundreds
of people in the company are to be made
redundant. The list of those about to lose
their jobs isn’t released until December.
It’s become harder for me every year
to celebrate Christmas in the carefree way
we used to. It’s become increasingly
painful for my husband to lose colleagues
at a time when workmates all over the world
are celebrating the holiday season with
office parties and frivolity. But as we’ve
narrowly ‘escaped’ for three
years in a row, we’ve been given a
great gift—the chance to re-evaluate what’s
most important to us in a deeply authentic

We have to ask ourselves what we’d
really like to do with our skills and talents
and which risks we’re ready and willing
to take, seeing as our children are thriving
at school. If we were to move anywhere in
the world for work, where would we go? What
would we do? Why would we choose to stay
here in Scotland? My dad is 84 but has another
daughter and grandsons here. Heart-searching
talks, provocative conversations. Despite
my heart-wrenching wanderlust, we always
end up feeling that we’re here in
Scotland because we want to be. We’re
always left knowing what we’re willing
to fight to keep.

Not moving house also makes us more resourceful
with what we have. Downsizing our consumption,
expenditure and stuff is a pleasure for
us, a solution, not a form of imposed deprivation.
It makes us feel prepared for anything,
like we’d be ready to move if we had
to. It makes us feel ‘clean and clear’
while we choose to stay. Most of what we
own is useful, beautiful or treasured.

Relishing, ritual and religion

I’ve also coped with looming redundancy
and the threat of ‘forced’ relocation
by strengthening my love of ritual. It can
be a powerful glue in every relationship,
religion and society. My daughter laughingly
told her Religious and Moral Education teacher
at school that her mum steals the best bits
of every religion she comes across!

We love creating our own rituals too. On
Mother’s Day, I never expect presents,
flowers or chocolates. My kids volunteer
to be ‘servants’ for a day and
keep the home running while I stay in my
bedroom and read a book from cover to cover—a rare and cherished treat. They make
me cards and create ‘cheques’
promising to pay me in love, respect, tidied
rooms and fewer tweenage tantrums! I laminate
those and use them as bookmarks.

We also make homemade cards, sweets, presents
and crackers at Christmas and have created
fun-filled, friend and family rituals throughout
December. It gives us all so much more to
look forward to than shop-bought gifts.

It was my mum who instilled in me a love
of details and ritual, and although we didn’t
have much money when I was growing up, we
grew up rich because of her.

I’m sharing this with you now because
if you’re anxious about your future
or your finances, this is the time to start
being open to creative ideas to reduce your
consumption and expenditure. You’ve
time to design cards, make personalised
bookmarks, write books of gratitude and
‘love memories’ for your loved
ones, compile photo albums of treasured
memories, and create works of art from digital
photos. You’ve time to plan home baked
gifts and to research unusual charities
to donate to instead of sending gifts…You
can give away heirlooms now and register
the recipient’s pleasure rather than
wait to die to do it. You can have clothes
swap evenings with friends, bake and take
to the homeless, give away the contents
of your attic or garage to folk who need

I’m having a meltdown at the moment,
trying to decide how to redesign my kitchen
to get a bigger table in. As I hear of the
tragedy unfolding in Burma, it puts my dilemma
into proportion. By not buying meat, wine
or treats for a just a week, I can send
a Burma emergency relief fund enough for
mosquito nets, water purification tablets
or plastic sheeting for shelter. Doing without
pizza or a bottle of Chilean red isn’t
going to kill me.

Remembering, regret and reaching

My mum died a few weeks before Mother’s
Day, while I was expecting my son. She’d
gone into hospital to have an aneurism removed
and never spoke again. Complications meant
she had to be ventilated through her windpipe,
even though she was fully conscious. She
spent her last weeks on a gurney in intensive
care, awake but hooked up to dialysis and
a ventilator, defying all the odds. The
day before she died, she was restless, hardly
lucid and spent the whole day trying to
point to her left wrist with her wrinkled,
right hand. Everyone speculated; was she
experiencing pain down her arms? Was she
wondering where her watch had gone? She
mouthed the words “I love you son”
to my husband before she drifted off and
we were asked to leave. That night, she
developed an infection and didn’t
regain consciousness. My dad was asked for
permission to switch off the machines. The
next day, I watched her slowly slip away.
When the LED displays finally all reached
zero, I looked up to the ceiling and said
“I’m sorry.” So much I
hadn’t said when she was alive. So
many memories I’ve relished since.

I reckon she was pointing to where her
watch had been, telling us it was time,
telling us not to waste it.

Don’t let regret be one of your ‘R’
words. As folk who are involved in the coaching
world, the recession is a chance for us
to reach out, to inspire, to share our skills
and our wisdom and to make a difference.
It’s not all about marketing and money.

A few of my favourite ‘R’ words…
why don’t you make one of your own
or get your clients to make one as an attitudinal
antidote to ‘R’ word anxiety!

  • reading,
  • rose scented laundry,
  • relishing truth,
  • rugs on real wood floors,
  • reaching out and really enjoying people,
  • rainbows (my mum sends them),
  • rock pools,
  • rusty-red painted wood,
  • rose flavoured Turkish delight sweets,
  • retsina and red wine,
  • rustling olive groves,
  • rustic tables (laid with blue and checked
    tablecloths, bread, olives and salads)

Hunter is a writer and IAC certified coach who lives in
Scotland with her husband and two children. She specialises
in homelife coaching (helping people create authentic,
spirit-filled homes and lives) and also enjoys supporting
other coaches through her writing and collaboration.

Janice has
compiled all of her Coaching Moments pieces from the last
two years into a free 46 page ebook, Coaching Moments: a
Collection of Articles about Coaching in Everyday Life

which can be downloaded

or from her


Janice at

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