Invenio: Coaching and Mentoring May 2016 IIC&M - Page 37



If I were to begin my adventure with personal development once again, I would definitely refrain from taking so many seminars, which I paid for without considering how they would benefit me, and I would instead spend that money on individual work with a specialist—either a coach or therapist. I am writing about refraining from seminars to show that, very often, you don’t have to have more money to attend individual sessions, you just need to manage the money you are already spending more efficiently. I’ve met a lot of people who have burned a lot of cash on different workshops (mostly because it’s trendy to “develop yourself”) and for years they haven’t even thought about trying individual work with a coach or therapist. When I suggest doing so, they react with suprise—“Good idea! Why haven’t I thought about that?”—and after trying this, they often regret not doing it sooner.

There is also a group of people who are trying to solve all their problems on their own, no matter what. Taking care of your problems on your own is generally a good idea. I myself solve about 90 to 95 percent of the problems in my relationships, business, or life on my own—and I am talking about strictly psychological (or spiritual) problems, not repairing a broken washing machine. Nevertheless, the effect of too strong an attachment to self-help is that people struggle with problems that could be quickly and painlessly solved with the help of a competent person.

It’s worth noting that in traditional psychology, psychotherapy, and many schools of coaching, what takes place in the self-development world is unacceptable. Problems were always solved with the specialists (who had prepared for their profession for many years) through face-to-face meetings and it was unthinkable that a person could perform emotionally profound exercises after reading a short description in a book or after watching a 15-minute video on YouTube.

At the same time, I fully understand that people who (accurately or not) consider themselves “normal” stay away from therapeutic offices that

advertise using such words as “depression,” “addictions,” or “mental disorders.”

To summarize, I am absolutely happy that self-development work has left the psychotherapeutic offices and is now available (often free or very cheaply) to everyone, who now also don’t have to consider themselves “patients with disorders.” On the other hand, I have to admit that the “classical” approach to this matter made sense: working with your problems on your own is not a piece of cake and many people experience a lot more problems by trying to do so, or get stuck at a certain point and cannot go further (often also coming to the conclusion that “self-development doesn’t work”).

Here are 18 reasons why individual sessions with a specialist will often be more effective than self-help or attending a seminar (particularly Large Group Awareness Trainings).

1. Making a symbolic declaration

Very often, just the act of setting up a meeting with a coach or therapist is very meaningful. By doing so, people send themselves a message that solving a certain problem is important for them. Oftentimes in everyday life, people think that it would be good to sort out certain issues, but these thoughts have no real repercussions. Making the decision to attend individual sessions with a specialist is the turning point (obviously not for everyone; for example, people with addiction problems have a tendency to put all the responsibility onto the therapist and put no effort into the changework themselves). In some cases, a big part of the work is done just by this act of making the decision—an individual admits he has a problem, identifies the problem, and confronts it. I know several cases of people who started to cry just after stepping into the therapist’s office, before the official changework had even begun (because committing to the sessions signified real change in itself).

2. The engagement effect

Individual sessions require you to pay a specialist’s fees. The process also takes time. Moreover

by Tomek Kwiecinski