Coach instead of teach!
Are you a self help-author or a yoga instructor trying to expand your business with classes doing talks and writing assignments about for example gratitude and forgiveness?
While common traits of humaness always will be important to discuss with others, I find it vitally important to remind both the so called teachers, and their retreat goers, to get off the wannabe therapist track and leave that to professionals. Let me explain why:
When we talk about experiences that are sensitive to us, the talking itself stirs up both emotions and the issues not resolved, which can bring forth more to deal with, than what it was before brought up. A yoga teacher or self-help author, are seldom psychologists and therefore have no knowledge how to contain, mirror, process and release the soulful pain or hurt ego of another person. Likewise, much healing require time to be understood and be integrated into the present, wherefore weekend retreats rather can tear up wounds, than heal, even when planned with a good intention. Most of all, many seem too focused to learn about the events creating the trauma and its aftermath instead of how to move forward, something not possible while we are in the midst of the grieving process, or simply trying to cope with the effects of loosing a home and/or a job for example. Sharing our experiences can be a supportive gesture when infused with compassion and will to not assume knowing the best. But the sharing itself doesn't enable any movement forward, it rather cements the experience, while sometimes with a cathartic effect producing true acceptance.
Coaching though, is the essential tool to solve it all! Coaching is not teaching. It is not standing in front of an audience telling what to do and how, and it certainly isn't making up the coach to be the expert of any issue that is being discussed. A coach is rather the fascilitator of solutions, a way of leading the other person, or small group, to take factual action steps in an individually adapted way to make a change, solve a problem, reach a goal, or simply widen the perspective for creativity to blossom, through a conversation! A coaching conversation starts with an equally mutual standing of respect with no dependence of survival of either party so there can not be any power games. Its focus is to jointly assist the coachee (client) to find his/her own best answers and conclusions to act upon. This is made through a type of conversation, based on an open, genuinly interested attitude with full presence and deep listening without any judgment. It is typically held for 45 minutes at a time in a neutral place with a set agenda decided in advance and called a professional dialogue. To be able to coach someone, you must be able to put your own interests aside a little, or at least be fully aware of your own purpose here. The coach then summarize what he or she heard and mirror that back to the coachee. It enables learning and a self-discovery that hopefully can lead to self-mastery. It is best tried!
An instructor, or teacher, on the other hand is a person that is showing you how to do a certain thing, such as do yoga moves or a dance choreography, which of course is equally important, but not for the sake of a psychological reasoning. If you want to be coached and/or learn how to coach others, contact me for a free session to try! And when practising yoga, qigong, dance and meditation, make sure your instructor can share who his/her own teacher is/was and that you are taught how to do each motion, breathing and tempo. You do not need to talk about your life and relationships to practice yoga or dance. A coach can instead help you find the right therapist and/or help you to improve your job, time management, communication and where you live, when needed.