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Posts Tagged ‘conflict’

I’ve been a quiet potato for a long time. April was really busy—work stuff, vacation, work stuff, life. I still had lots of thoughts in my head I wanted to get on paper—it just never happened as quickly as I wanted it to. Once May started I recommitted to setting aside more time to put cyber pen to cyber paper.

Clearly that didn’t happen.

May and June were really, REALLY tough coaching months. And since the stuff I work on with Coach Jim typically motivates much of my writing, I turned into a quiet potato.

If you’ve read much of my blog at all you’ll know that I almost ALWAYS write about how hard this coaching stuff is for me. How challenged I am. How rewarding it is while at the same time being one of the most difficult things I’ve done. And through all of that I keep writing about it. ‘Cause writing helps. 🙂

May and June were different. It was tough in a different way.

I didn’t recognize the difference at first. Jim has been coaching me though some self-esteem stuff. And that’s a gi-normous area of struggle for me. So when I first began noticing differences I assumed it was related to the subject matter. As time marched on I began to question that assumption. Just what was going on?

In a “typical” conversation with Jim I’ll laugh, cry (or at least get a little bleary-eyed), roll my eyes at something, and occasionally think “what planet is this guy from?!” I’m used to all of those reactions and understand most of them are some form of defense that I want to move beyond. So I try to see them, acknowledge them (silently), and move on. I found the conversations in May and June were different.

I found myself not looking forward to the calls at all. Maybe that could have been an early clue—previously no matter how difficult the subject matter I’d always looked forward to the calls. I found myself fighting frustrations before the conversations even started. I felt as though I wanted to resist everything Jim said. I wanted to “correct” everything he said. I found myself with really strong desires to swear profusely during the conversations. And not just the “light” words. Typically a “hell” or “d@mn” is as far as I go. In May and June I found myself frequently wanting to drop f bombs.

Whoa! Where the heck were those coming from?

Finally (better late than never!) I realized there was something else going on. Something bigger than the topic at hand was bothering me. So I sat down and thought about it. And looked back through my notes.

Aha! There was something bothering me! Jim had done something a little different in one of our conversations. He’d used a technique that gave him the exact result he was looking for at the time, but really stuck in my craw. (Does anyone use that expression anymore? LOL!) And I hadn’t realized how much it was bothering me.

Hmmmmmm….obviously I needed to clear the air. So I sent Jim an e-mail saying something like, “Hey next time we talk I want to spend some time talking about X. It’s getting in the way of our conversations and I’d like to address it.”
Being the excellent coach that he is, Jim readily agreed. “Sure Spudsie. We’ll make it the first thing on our agenda.”

Cool.

I had some fears and concerns going into this conversation with Jim. I had no idea how he’d react or respond. I had no idea if I’d be able to express myself in a way that made sense to Jim. I didn’t know if I would be able to explain where my frustration was coming from. Or why it was bothering me so much. But even with these fears and concerns I noticed I didn’t have any of that active nervous energy I frequently get before going into new situations. Cool! I impressed myself!

What I had assumed would take only a portion (15 to 20 minutes maybe?) of our time ended up taking longer than we were scheduled to talk. (Apologies for running over the allotted Mrs. Coach Jim!!!) And I ended up feeling more frustrated thinking back on our conversation than I did before we talked.

Uh oh. That’s never good.

My “greatest” fear (or as I told Mr. Spuds my most “rational” fear lol) was not being able to explain myself. Not being able to articulate what I was feeling in a way that would make sense to Jim. I had talked about it with Mr. Spuds and he understood what I meant and why I was upset. So I thought explaining it to Jim would be doable—not easy, but at least possible. ‘Cause Mr. Spuds often looks at me as tho I’m speaking a foreign language when I talk about coaching stuff. If he understood me, Jim would surely understand me. Right?

Yeah…….ummmm……maybe not.

At the end of the call I felt I hadn’t been able to explain myself at all. (Bang head here.) How the heck did that happen???? Grrrrrr…… Jim made a suggestion of something else to try—another way of trying to put the pieces together. I agreed to try. That was Monday evening.

All day Tuesday I would think about it if I had a minute or two free. I’d roll it over in my mind and see what resonated. See how I felt. See what thoughts and feelings came pouring out of me. And I got wave after wave after wave after wave of frustration. And not much else.

Well….that’s not entirely true. I also got a headache.

I tried everything I could to get rid of the headache. Used all of the tools in my toolbelt. Breathe deeply. Tons and tons of water. Correct posture. Correct foods. Nothing worked. And I got hit with the worst migraine I’ve had in a year Tuesday night around 11 PM. I gotta tell ya…..I can’t think of many things worse than being curled up on the bathroom floor, crying uncontrollably—even though you know crying makes the head pain even worse—and having wave after wave of feeling like a failure hit you. Migraines are awful. Especially when they are completely stress induced.

Mr. Spuds helped me through it. He handed me Kleenex and listened. And even offered, “Do you want me to talk to Jim? “ Awwwww…how sweet. 🙂 He finally bundled me into bed and I managed to pass out more than fall asleep. Either way—I managed to get a few hours of rest.

On Wednesday I e-mailed Jim. “I’m a mess. This isn’t working. Let me try to say this one more time.”

A-ha! Evidently whatever words I used in the “I’m a mess” e-mail made sense. Yay! 🙂 Jim called me and said, “I think I understand. Is this what you are saying…..”

High fives all around! Yep—that’s it!

Truth be told, that follow-up conversation is pretty fuzzy in my memory. I was still in huge amounts of migraine pain. What I do remember is thinking, “Yes! You’ve got it!” And working to set some new ground-rules or expectations on both sides. Phew! That was more like what I had expected our Monday conversation to be like.

And now I’m back to looking forward to coaching conversations. I’m looking forward to crying, laughing, rolling my eyes, and somehow through it all making progress with someone who I know is on my side, someone who has my best interest in mind. Yay!! The good stuff!!!

So why write this since it all turned out so well? Good question.
Jim absolutely ROCKS as a coach!! (He also totally rocks as a Summer Reading List putter-togatherer…but that’s an entirely different blog post. ;-)) Working with him is one of the best things I’ve ever done—hands down. He constantly amazes me with his suggestions, with his patience, with his listening skills, with his creativity in working with me. The mind boggles! I hope some of that comes through in my blog stuff.

All of those things are knowns. They are givens. I don’t question them at all.

Maybe that’s why it was so difficult for me to recognize that something he had done wasn’t working for me. I’d never considered that I might know me better than Jim knows me. Well…duh! Stopping to think about it that makes perfect sense. I’m the one living in my skin, in my head, in my heart, in my spirit. Who else besides me is going to know when something doesn’t work??

I wanted to write about this as a reminder to myself that I have the right and the responsibility to speak up when I’m upset. When something has hurt me. When something isn’t working. Just like I did this time. No game playing. No pouting. No waiting to see if someone else notices I’m not the same. Just like I did this time—speak up as soon as I can articulate what’s bugging me. Kudos to me for doing that this time. And kudos to me for becoming aware of what to look out for in the future.

I also wanted to write about this for anyone who wonders what it’s like working with a coach. Conflict (on some level) is inevitable. (Migraines are optional. ;-)) If you have the right coach (and it’s abundantly clear I have the right coach for me!) working through the conflict may take several tries, but in the end it’s totally worth it.

Totally.

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