IAC Mastery #1 Establishing and Maintaining a Relationship of Trust
August 2, 2013
by Martha Pasternack
It is June and the wildfires are raging all around me. My family and I are safe right now, but I wouldn’t be authentic if I told you that I was not afraid. I am afraid and I have no control over what is happening in our high mountain forests. I am humbled by the grandeur of nature. I am having a little bit of a wrestling match with trusting that we will stay safe right now.
Not only that, but my husband is days away from flying with me to Cleveland, Ohio because he is scheduled for open-heart surgery. And, yes, that scares me too. I am authentically afraid. I am humbled by the mystery of life.
It may come as no surprise that authenticity and trust are what I want to talk about this month in the VOICE. Here is the background.
I made a prayer, if that is what you would call it:
“I want to attract influential, educated, professional women who are ready to step into their personal power with beauty, dignity and grace in service to a peaceful and kinder world. Women who have a firm grasp on their purpose. Women who want the support of a life coach to take their next step.”
This sounded simple, clear and straightforward to me at the time. In other words, I set an intention.
Well gang, guess what happened.
A woman hired me to be her coach. Yay! She is educated, powerful and influential. Yay!
She is a woman immersed in corporate America. She is dynamic, assertive, driven towards excellence. She is performance-focused and is proud to be committed to climbing the corporate ladder. She is devoted to taking immediate assertive action on any goal she sets.
As I began working with her, I noticed some things. Sometimes she seemed simply and blatantly over-the-top assertive. (I try not to say aggressive, but sometimes it felt like aggression.)
She is a woman who pushed hard against me and my personality, which appears to be the opposite of hers. I struggled to believe that my coaching style and her communication style were compatible.
During our initial conversation I noticed my heart picking up speed. I caught myself dreading our next session. I considered a candid conversation that would terminate our relationship before it got really bad. I considered mediation, getting pregnant and suffering morning sickness all day (I am 60), going silent, catching a cold and loosing my voice for 3 months (just kidding).
After considering all these clever and creative ways of backing out of the relationship -which is an option in coaching-I said “Nope, I am going for it here. I am going to surrender to this answer to my prayer.”
I landed on: “I am going to MATCH her powerful energy with my own powerful energy. We have two very different expressions of personal power. I am going to relax. I am going to be vulnerable and honest with her."
And that is exactly what I did. Together we clarified her intention for coaching. We clarified mine. We talked about our differences and designed a plan to potentiate our differences rather than be hindered by them.
We smoked out the fears and insecurities that were holding her back from her clarity (and there were many.) She is very hard on herself and has relentless expectations.
Today our coaching relationship is based on trust and authenticity. It is mutually satisfying. Coaching takes place at the interface of each of us. She remains powerful, focused and a let’s-get-this-done kind of gal. I remain firmly planted and grounded in gentleness and my belief in her innate wisdom. She is delightful, non-defensive and allows herself to be powerful in her vulnerability, as do I.
Do we ever lose our connection? Of course we do. Now we know how to circle back around and get it back.
Are we any more alike? Not even close. In fact, I think we are even less alike since each of us stopped trying so hard to “make it work.”
Do we hold a common vision in which her goals, dreams and desires are free to reside? Absolutely.
I look forward to our sessions now. We are like two very distinct pieces of wood and we dovetail beautifully to create a relationship. We are powerfully in alignment with her/our coaching intention and full of integrity with each other.
It is magical. She has thanked me for my wise and masterful coaching! I feel immense gratitude for the ease in which she has integrated her humanity within her work.
I learned so much about IAC Mastery #1 with this woman, and about being authentic and trusting of who individuals can become in a life coaching relationship. She is free to be assertive her heart’s content. I am now empowered to be free to coach in the midst of personal circumstances, like fire and fear, without having to lose my footing, without losing my voice, or getting pregnant at age 60. Yay!
Martha Pasternack MCC (IAC) www.CircleofLifeCoach.com 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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