An Open Letter to Prospective Clients

Dear Future Client:

It’s no accident you are reading this. Somehow you found my web-site and this blog post. I am willing to guess that your life is good, for the most part. But, in some areas, it could be better (perhaps much better). And in others you are pleased with how things are going. That’s called a Comfort Zone. I have found that human beings, based on a number of factors, create a life that is good enough, not too bad and manageable. And, it’s different for everyone. But there’s more for you. Much more.

I would like to tell you a story:

A while back I thought my life was okay. I also thought I didn’t have the skills or knowledge to go to college.

The roots of this were in elementary school; in an effort to get attention, I mis-behaved. My parents and teachers struggled with what to do with me. They tested me (turns out, I was smart . . . ) and were all the more puzzled with the results: if I was so smart, why wasn’t I doing my work? After all, (they all said . . . ) “Matt is so capable, if he would just apply himself.”

Well, fast-forward to my senior year of high school and I was a dis-affected, rebellious teen-ager, just counting the minutes until I graduated and was free of school. After that, I bumbled around working basic jobs and drinking a fair amount (as I had been for a while).

Then something happened: my sister (four years my senior), got accepted to Mount Holyoke College. Mount Holyoke is an elite women’s college. I knew my sister had been going to community college, but didn’t really know what she was up to. Her acceptance was a wake-up call of sorts. I no longer had the excuse that I didn’t have what it took to go to college. My sister has squandered her middle and high school years (albeit in her own way . . . ) and yet she was going to an elite school . . . . I no longer had anywhere to hide.

As it turns out, due in large part to my sister’s amazing commitment and devotion to her family, it took her a few years to graduate from Mount Holyoke. In the mean-time, I went to community college and went on to graduate from a pretty darn excellent school in its own right: Hobart College. In an interesting and poignant synchronicity, we both graduated in 1995.

I tell this story because it is just one example where my beliefs about what was possible were incorrect, and all it took was someone to point that out for me and illustrate a better way. And, I thought I was doing okay. I thought things were fine. Well, time and time since then, in ways big and small, I have been re-learning this lesson: that what I thought was impossible, or “not-for-me,” was indeed possible, and mine for the working, and believing.

And then I found coaching.

Now I get to make helping people see greater possibilities (and make them real) my life’s work. And, for me, that’s what it is. If I had to choose something to do for free, I would choose coaching. I get to continually look at what I’m doing — and wanting — and work to make them match up. And I get to help others do the same.

There are all sorts of ways to change, and types of help to make changes. Coaching is just one of them. But it’s a new field and most people don’t really understand it. It fills a gap that has gone un-filled for far too long. On the one hand, there’s a tiny, minuscule, infinitesimal fraction of the population who are able to dedicate themselves to continual examination and improvement (and most of them actually seek out and use coaches anyway). On the other, there are folks who are stuck (but functional), for whatever reason, in the past; people who are wounded and unable to take action towards what they want — because there’s something that happened to them, that “won’t let them.” For those folks, there’s various kinds of counseling and psycho-therapy.

The great middle ground is filled with people who do take some action in their lives, but it’s not always/necessarily exactly what they would have chosen (authentically). People whose lives are more governed by inertia and occasional opportunity, than by clear, authentic planning, action and adaptation. Of course, those in the Great Middle still have fears that really don’t make sense, do sometimes feel stuck because of things from their past and don’t (usually) take the time to plan out what they really want and act accordingly. For you fine folks (of which I’m one . .. . ), there is coaching (and yes, I have a coach).

There as many ways to explain coaching as there are coaches. My long-winded explanation is that coaching is a developmental partnership (focused on the client) where the client brings their challenges and opportunities and willingness to uncover and vigorously pursue their true goals and desires to the coaching process and the coach brings the coaching method and expertise in change and development, combined with powerful questioning, unconditional belief in and support of the client, guided adaptation and accountability.

I also say that I help smart busy people achieve goals that matter.

One way to understand coaching, and the coaching process, is to think of a training or workshop, or speech or talk, or book that you read that inspired you, gave you ideas for change and got you fired up to take action and really make some positive changes in your life. Now think of how long that lasted. Probably not very long. And you know why? Not because you are lazy or incapable of change or un-worthy of good things — nonsense! It’s because change is hard (because humans are not designed to change what works — even if it’s not the best for them, or the best they could have) and you didn’t have the right kind of assistance.

This is how coaching makes a difference. Coaching is the framework in which, and through which, authentic, lasting change can happen. It’s a lot of work, to be sure. And it is sometimes a little disruptive. But, with a good coach, and a committed client, it is transformative. Evolutionary, really. Because you don’t become someone else, you because more of who you are (and less of what other people wanted you to be).

If you spent any time with me, talking about these sorts of things, you would see that I am big on authenticity. Huge on it. I firmly believe that if we understand who we truly are, and what we truly want, at this point in our lives, we can move towards true happiness, effectiveness and fulfillment. It is because we 1) try to be who others want us to be and 2) that we don’t be who we know we can, that we don’t have the lives we could — the lives we deserve. Understanding what authenticity means, and designing actions and practices that support it, is what my (life and) coaching is all about.

If you’re curious about what coaching could mean for your life, and your relationships and for how you show up for everyone in your life (including yourself!), then we should have a chat. I will help you better understand what coaching is and how it would work for you. This conversation is free of charge, please click here for more information.

And you’re not quite ready to make the changes you longed for in your life, but know someone who might be, please let them know about me. I would greatly appreciate it.

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