As a coach, you support and motivate your clients to go from where they are now to where they want to be.
You’re their cheerleader and their confidante as they journey toward their dream life.
It might feel like your main job is to share an effective toolkit of strategies and techniques your clients can use to overcome various obstacles and challenges they may encounter.
Yes, this is true. But it’s only half true.
A good life coach shares effective methods her clients can use to handle challenges.
But a great life coach understands the biggest challenge her clients will face is not found outside themselves.
The biggest challenge is hidden within.
I’m talking about unexpressed, unprocessed emotions.
Under the Carpet
I’ve found that many life coaches – even some of the best in the field – tend to focus on helping clients on the mental level.
When it comes to difficult emotions, clients are coached to get over those emotions and moving on to the next thing as quickly as possible.
These coaches have their client’s best interests at heart, of course, but simply trying to help a client get past a painful emotion is one of the most unhelpful things you can do as a life coach.
It’s a serious mistake that can hold your clients back from getting to a place of authentic inner peace and joy.
Think about it this way…
Imagine you’re sweeping your living room floor.
But instead of sweeping the dirt and dust into a dustpan and emptying that into the trash, you sweep everything under the living room carpet instead.
The dirt and dust is no longer visible but it’s still there.
Keep doing this and sooner or later it’s all going to pile up, spill out and make a huge mess!
It’s the same with emotions.
Many of us have been socialized to suppress and repress our painful emotions and keep them bottled up inside, even in the face of traumatic life events and experiences such as death or a difficult breakup.
As the months and years go by, these emotions continue to “pile up” and eventually they’ll overflow and come up in a huge, uncontrolled outburst - usually at the most inappropriate time.
So, if you truly want to help your clients experience lasting success and happiness – and I know you do – you must give them a safe space to feel into their emotions.
No matter how difficult those emotions may be.
Ride The Wave
So how do you do that? How can you help your clients experience their painful emotions and come out feeling relieved and strengthened by the experience?
It begins with close observation and focus.
Watch if your clients interrupt themselves when they start to get emotional during a session. Do they change the subject? Do you notice them judging themselves or apologizing for their emotions?
I’ve had clients talk to me about tragic events in their lives. They tear up and then they say, “I’m sorry Christine. I don’t know why I’m crying. It’s silly.”
When this or something similar happens, or when you observe an emotional charge when a client is speaking to you, let them know that it’s okay to dive deeper. Let them know it’s okay to feel sad or angry or frustrated – whatever the case may be.
When they open up to their emotions, your job is to give them the love and support they need. Let them ride the wave of their emotions while you hold a compassionate space for them to express themselves without fear of judgment.
The Greatest Gift
There are very few places in our lives where it’s okay for us to express difficult emotions, freely.
So, when you hold a safe space for your clients to process their emotions all the way to the end, you are setting them free.
You are allowing those authentic, painful emotions to come up, and flow through.
When the process is over your clients will experience deep release and relief. They will come back to center and into a place of calm confidence.
This is when authentic self-belief and true inner strength can arise. It is a place of personal power.
Holding a loving, compassionate space for your clients to safely express their difficult emotions is one of the most powerful, transformational life coaching techniques there is.
And it is also one of the greatest gifts you can ever give to your client.