“Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it. And then he feels that perhaps there isn’t. Anyhow, here he is at the bottom, and ready to be introduced to you. Winnie-the-Pooh.” (A.A. Milne).
And there, in a nutshell, is the essence of everything coaching is about. I could pretty much finish right there, but that wouldn’t be much of my own work, would it, so let’s take the story a little further.
There you are, like Edward Bear, working hard at your everyday ‘normal’ life. There are so many variations as to what an everyday ‘normal’ life might look like that I won’t even begin to suggest what yours might be; but you are very familiar with it. You wake up to it each day, and go to bed every night having added another 24 hour period to the pattern.
Whatever your day to day reality, however blessed or blighted, predictable or chaotic you feel yours may be, most people get a Pooh-like sense, at some point, that there really is another way to get where you need to go, “if only [we] could stop bumping for a moment and think of it.”
That’s what time with a coach gives you: the opportunity to stop ‘bumping’ for a moment and work out whether there might be another way to keep going forward. Indeed, whether there might be a different staircase you would prefer to be travelling on. In being still and quiet, it is remarkable what thoughts and insights can begin to peep out from the dustiest corners of our minds – ambitions that we thought were long suppressed, dreams we thought we had long grown out of, and startlingly often, some real, leftfield moment of personal genius that makes us go “But of course! That’s what I need to do next!”
Next time you feel life has you by the leg and is dragging you bumping headfirst in a downward direction, the most positive thing you can immediately do is recognise what’s happening to you. Notice that your mode of travel is less than perfect and is making you uncomfortable. Realise that someone or something other than your own propulsion is pulling you along. From that point, you have given yourself the power to start exploring the alternatives and begin travelling in a more purposeful way, in a direction of your choosing.
For a Bear of Very Little Brain, Winnie-the-Pooh is pretty smart.