Coaching with all the IAC Masteries

by Martha Pasternack

picture of a maze 

Imagine you have just been hired to coach a new client. They are ready to bust out of the feeling of being stuck. They are nervous and excited. They are chomping at the bit, as the saying goes.

“I got this one. I’m here and I want to go there. I want a vision, goals, and a strategic plan. I’ve got persistence. I am impatient. I have the willingness and the stamina to put 1 foot in front of the other. But I am scared. I just want you to help me.”

You catch yourself feeling excited too. There is nothing like a motivated client. You find yourself remembering that the shortest distance between 2 points is a straight line. High School Geometry, Mrs. Smith’s class.

I don’t know if this is true for you, but when I coach using the foundation of the IAC Masteries, my experience has been more like walking a labyrinth from outside to inside and back out again, rather than walking a straight line from point A to point B. In fact, there is rarely a straight coaching line in sight.

It’s true that in either case one foot is put in front of the other, but if our client is looking ahead or looking back, they will be missing out on the enchantment of the present moment. Each of the the IAC Masteries coach us as we coach others because “Coaching is a transformative process for personal and professional awareness and growth.” We walk the labyrinth with our clients. We get to grow and transform alongside them.

According to the dictionary a labyrinth is a complicated irregular network of passages or paths in which it is difficult to find one’s way. Let’s take poetic license and change the word difficult to challenging. It doesn’t say it is impossible, impractical or unreasonable. It doesn’t say it is a waste of time.

The labyrinth is often found in or near sacred sites. Walking the labyrinth is meant to be a meditative process. When we include the IAC Masteries in our coaching we create a sacred space for clients to explore.

The first few steps on the pathway are simple and one can actually see where one wants to go. However, soon enough the path leads elsewhere. Surprise! Confusion! Resistance! Delight! You name it, it has probably appeared.

Sometimes we pass the pathway we were on just a minute ago.
But we’re not really where we just were. It can certainly feel and look that way, but it’s something different. Just when we think we are going to get to the center of the labyrinth, off we go in another direction. This can be where the challenging part shows up, especially for linear thinkers. Coaches and clients alike.

As our client continues to walk the labyrinth, you know as a coach, they really are getting closer to the center. Our client really is getting clearer and closer to the desired destination.

When your client walks the labyrinth of self-growth, self-discovery, and self-exploration, with you as their coach, they will inevitably confront the fear, self-doubt, and the unfamiliarity that so often is part of growth. Now of course your new client can get in a hurry and step over onto the next part of the path. But then they will miss out on the magic of not knowing and ultimate self-discovery. You now use your coaching skills to help them remain focused.

It’s pretty much a sure thing that if they keep going along the pathway, they will reach the center destination. Once they are in the center they get to rest, reflect, and find renewed energy and visions of dreams, goals, and desires.

And then they turn on her their and begins the journey out of the labyrinth. They will gain even more insight and knowledge. They may recognize where they have been on the pathway and be affirmed. They may see it all as new. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that they have new skills and tools to use. They are renewed, revitalized, refreshed and ready to continue on getting herself from point A to point B. They will return to the beginning and, as the poet T.S Eliot said, “know it for the first time.”

Have you had the pleasure of walking a labyrinth?
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”

T.S Eliot

Martha Pasternack Martha Pasternack, MMC
My passion for witnessing the beauty and mystery of life, healthy healing and the promotion of Peace on Earth are integral to my daily life. I have been life coaching since 2004 as a Fearless Living Coach after working 30 years as a health care professional.

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