Why I still work with a coach/mentor/supervisor after all these years
I’ve been coaching for over thirty years. Yet every month I have a coaching session with my mentor, and every couple of years I see him for an intensive, immersive few days. And I’m asked why. If I’m such an experienced coach, with a plethora of coaching qualifications to my name, and I’m a coach supervisor, which by its own definition means that I know a lot about coaching! Why do I need to spend time with a mentor? (I could also use the word coach or coach supervisor here.)
As I write this, I’m thirty-eight thousand feet in the air, flying at five hundred and fifty miles per hour, so the captain tells me. My husband, Ash, and I are heading to a small town on the North West Pacific Coast of America to spend a few days with our mentor. So the second question is often, why do I choose to work with a mentor who lives on the other side of the world?
Let’s take the first question, shall we? There is not just one reason, in fact I could probably list a whole stack, so here’s just a few that spring to mind and in no particular order.
One: This learning about how the mind works never ceases to fascinate me. I have learned about neuroscience, psychological theories, tools and techniques that can be used to help people to change how their mind works, how to get past or get over past traumas, how emotional intelligence works, just to name a few. The more I learned the more I realised how much more there is to learn. It was like a never ending, always inflating balloon. The more I blew into the balloon of learning, the more expansive the size and depth of learning still available became known to me.
There is no end to the understanding about how the mind works
I realise now that there is no end to the understanding about how the mind works. We are searching in an infinite field. What we are talking about is the intelligence that can create a universe. The intelligence of life that has the capacity and ability to create a universe, works through us and through our mind. I know that I will only ever scratch the surface of that understanding, but before I leave this life I would like to see as much as I can about how it works. So even though I have spent over thirty years learning, my thirst for learning is as fresh now as it was the day I was born.
Two: It’s only through my own deep understanding of how the mind works that I can help others to find their own understanding. People’s lives get transformed through my work, but it’s not what I teach them, it’s what they realise for themselves. I can only help others to realise it to the level at which I understand it for myself. If I don’t keep on deepening my understanding, if I stay at a certain level of consciousness, I limit the potential for both myself and for my clients. I want to help people in a way that transforms their lives and I have to do this first by having my own life transformed. Otherwise it’s just the blind leading the blind.
I always want to be a better coach
Three: I want to always do a better job of helping my clients. I want to consistently be a better coach tomorrow than I am today. I want to constantly deepen and enhance the level of impact I have on the people I work with. In the work with my mentor, I review and reflect on my work with people, in order to learn and grow from the experience. Being human, I have my own thinking, my own thought processes, my own learned habits that have the potential to get in the way and influence my work with people. My beliefs, my assumptions, my limitations, all have the potential to limit the quality of my work. I want to ensure that I am not allowing my limited awareness to impact and get in the way of helping my clients. So this reflection on my work is in service to the people I work with, to ensure that they always get the very best of me. Spending time with my mentor I am able to notice the patterns and have a better chance of transcending those that are not helpful.
So to the second question, why do I work with a mentor who lives on the other side of the world?
A different understanding
A few years ago, I came across a very different understanding about how life, and therefore the mind, works. One that blew my mind and changed me forever. It’s not scientific nor is it filled with models and theories. It’s an understanding that has been around forever. The Greek philosophers pointed to it. Religions point to it. Modern day gurus point to it. People like Eckhart Tolle, the Dalai Lama, and a guy called Sydney Banks. They all talk about an inner wisdom, a deeper intelligence of life, an innate and healthy guide within us that modern day man has been conditioned into turning a blind eye to.
This old, but profound understanding is creeping yet racing its way back into the world. Only a small proportion of the population has the depth of understanding and the clarity of vision to see and help others to see how it works. To find people who have a deep understanding about life is a rarity and a blessing. So when you find someone like that, you travel half way around the world to spend time with them.
Luckily modern technology allows for me to have regular conversations with him by Zoom. We talk on a monthly basis. But how ever good technology is, there is nothing better than spending a few days in his company, taking a deep dive into the nature of life, the nature of human existence and the nature of the mind.
Every moment I spend in this intensive, immersive experience, it’s like I find a deeper well within me. I find that quiet stillness that can only be found deep in the ocean, or miles and miles into space. I feel like I have taken the fast elevator down into a deeper space that I kind of know exists, in my intellectual mind, but I get a chance to experience.
Each time that experience touches me in a profound and transformational way. Each time I feel like a butterfly emerging from a new chrysalis. Each time I emerge with a purer understanding of how my mind works in conjunction with nature and the intelligence of life. This allows me to live my life with more grace and ease and in turn allows me to help my clients to achieve the same for themselves.
That’s why I’m sitting on this plane, travelling halfway around the world to spend time with my now good friend and longtime mentor Dicken Bettinger.
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