Invenio: Coaching and Mentoring May 2016 IIC&M - Page 38


Moreover, as you talk about your problem, you engage another person with it. This all increases the motivation to put effort into the changework—it would be silly to waste all that energy, time, and money. It is hard to imagine a situation, which happens a lot in the case of self-help work, where a person decides after 10 minutes to finish the session and do something else. The effect of engagement also makes people more willing to keep their declarations and do their “homework” more carefully.

3. Stronger concentration

Humans evolved to be much more focused during conversations than during lonely contemplation. Many people experience this in the context of business projects—while working alone, one’s vulnerability to distractions is higher than while discussing the project with team mates. Writers use a similar practice; they tell others about their idea and modify the weaker parts of their story as they discuss it. The same mechanism works for changework—when you work alone it is easy to get distracted, whereas conversation with a specialist keeps you focused.

4. Knowledge

As simple as that. The specialist most likely has much deeper and broader knowledge on the subject than you do, as well as the necessary skills and experience. Even if you are such a specialist yourself, generally another person will have some knowledge you don’t have. And even if you can acquire this knowledge on your own, working with a skilled specialist saves you a lot of time.

5. Pointing out what you cannot see

Specialists can help you uncover aspects of your problem that you are unaware of. They can show you the underlying beliefs that seem so obvious to you that you don’t even notice them (for example, a belief that a man always has to be able to get an erection). They can point out the emotions that you display when you talk about a specific issue (maybe you always raise your voice while talking about your father). They can point out that your body language is not congruent with what you are saying (for example, perhaps you always hang your head when you claim that cash flow problems in your company are temporary and will be solved). Specialists can put together seemingly unconnected details into one larger picture, and can point out the dysfunctions of the system you live in that you don’t notice (for example, dysfunctional behaviors in your family that you consider normal because you’ve gotten used to them).

6. Hitting the right spot

Observing from an outside perspective, the specialist can immediately find out what exactly you need the most. He or she can determine which questions you should ask yourself, from what perspective you should look to find the solution, what exercises would work best for you, what skills you lack, and how you can acquire them in a safe way. In other words, the specialist will see a hole in your understanding of reality and will know what practices can help to remedy this.

7. Support from someone outside the process

When someone recalls a traumatic event, or finds a set of beliefs from which he or she can’t see a way out, or just gets lost in the whole therapeutic process, the support from a person leading the session is priceless. This is especially true because, for a trained specialist, the trap a client is stuck in may be easy to identify and resolve.

Some processes are overwhelming cognitively or emotionally (especially in transpersonal changework, during which the client is in an altered state of consciousness). Trying to distance yourself from the state you’re in, in order to manage the therapeutic process, may fail (and this may end tragically, potentially even in suicide) or may make going back to the previous state and continuing the work more difficult.

While working on the very basic pillars of personality, many times so-called resets happen. Resets are moments of lost concentration and total confusion caused by overwhelming internal processes. To get out of one of these, the specialist needs to patiently repeat (perhaps several times) the part of the session that caused it. Dealing with this defense mechanism on your own can be frustrating and demotivating, because you may keep forgetting what you were thinking about.

8. Sharing responsibility

The responsibility of solving your problems may make you feel overwhelmed and prevent you from taking any further steps. Sharing the responsibility with a specialist and knowing that you are not alone with your problems can be a huge relief. It can immediately change your attitude toward the issues you are dealing with.

However, this can also be a trap, because some people have a tendency to run away from responsibility so they may try to put 100 percent of it onto the specialist. They may get lazy and not put enough effort into the work, expecting that the coach or therapist will solve their problems for them.