What is it about threes? We love threes; counting in threes, listing in threes, buying in threes.
It feels only logical then to provide something in a three – coaching, therapy and support.
But why, and how do they work together?
For me, it starts with acknowledging that we’re not just one problem. Perhaps I should couch that in the positive – we’re not just one part of ourselves. We’re made up of many facets, and have many different layers, and part to those layers, that come into play in everyday life. With so many parts and layers, and so many everyday situations, it isn’t always easy to find out exactly what’s going on for us when we want to understand ourselves.
When things are going great, we don’t feel the need to notice or do anything with all these parts of our selves. We tend to question less, explore with fewer worries and want to leave things in the status quo.
When our lives are not so wonderful, things are a little harder, and we’ve got that niggle or full-blown challenge on our hands, we tend to go through two phases. The first part is the coping phase. This is the part where we just want to get through, survive it, deal with it, get on with it. We might want to crumble but many times we have to get back up and just get going. We may not question it so much at this point; we’re too busy getting on with it to think about it deeply and there’s too much happening to process it anyway.
I’m not specifying here what this challenge might be, because, despite how much I talk about everyone being different, here’s the irony of it – we do go through similar processes in difficult times. Everyone’s challenge is different, even if it looks the same on paper, yet when things aren’t going well we can still see patterns in how we behave.
It is not usually until after the first phase is over that things get tricky (as if they weren’t tricky enough in phase 1). We may have the luxury (ha!) of time, allowing us to think more about what just happened, the whys and hows and to acknowledge just how big it was for us. It’s at this time, more often than not, that we want to find out more about those parts, facets and layers of ourselves.
Again, because we’re all so different, there are many ways that we do this.
One person’s way of doing this might be to look at how they can make changes in future so they have some control, without thinking further about the past.
Another person might choose to look back, to discover how they process and experienced things in their past and how it makes them who they are today.
A third may want to understand how their past and future intertwine and how to use that knowledge to move forward differently.
Personally, I love looking forward and back for the depth it provides. At times, however, I may just want to focus forward, without going deeply into the past to understand why I behave in certain ways. Other times, I want to understand the reasons for reactions or behaviours and only looking back can enlighten me.
Looking forward with coaching and back with therapy is the ideal solution; being able to flip between them as needed and knowing it provides a 360 degree appraisal of life.
So, that covers (crudely) covers coaching and therapy. What about the support part?
I’ve found working in this 360 degree way – holistically, if you will – to be really key with how I want to be supported myself (because all good coaches and therapists will see their own practitioners to develop themselves too) and how I develop my own professional work.
Support to me means two things:
1. how I support myself
2. what support I provide and get from others
Understanding this helps me to organise what resources I have within me, what resources I can pull in from other people and who I need around me to develop resources with. Without that support network and understanding how it impacts us, coaching and therapy alone isn’t as powerful.
Providing three things is a misnomer actually. Any good practitioner provides way more in even one session – that rapport, that silence, that great question, that understanding, that ability to reflect. It’s just easier to group them when talking about them in this context – for which here there are three.
What I love about this approach is how it allows for exploration of the many facets and layers of ourselves. We don’t leave parts of ourselves behind when we’re going through challenges and change – we take them with us, we hold on to them, they become amplified and we can’t ignore them even if we wanted to.
So hear hear to having 99 problems, layers, processes and facets to ourselves – maybe we just wouldn’t be us without them.
What do you think? Do you think your many layers and facets enrich or detract from you? And do you like having different types of support for them? Leave a comment below and let’s start a conversation.
You can also get in touch to contribute your story to the blog about your own challenging times and what gets you through.