Invenio: Coaching and Mentoring May 2016 IIC&M - Page 39


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.

9. Concentrating precisely on your needs and moving from theory to application

In contrast to seminars—and especially self-help events for hundreds of people—individual work focuses precisely on your needs. This has many positive consequences. First of all, it saves you time: even the best seminar won’t address your problems for 100 percent of its duration. Second, individual work involves more than listening to an explanation of the theory and nodding when it’s obvious or being suprised when it’s new. Let me use a business example to demonstrate: When listening to a lecture about marketing, almost everyone thinks that they know all the basic principles, such as finding the target group, communicating benefits, and building a positive public image. However, when it comes to applying these principles in practice, many people don’t know how to do it, or just omit doing it altogether. This is because logical understanding is something completely different from applying knowledge in real life.

10. Drawing attention to the difficulties in implementing new behaviors

When working on some problems, different forms of resistance to change may appear. Sometimes you will forget to complete the next step, or run in circles with the same thought processes, or prevent further change through certain defense mechanisms. In everyday life, when there is always something going on and something to do, it is difficult to vividly see these veiled forms of resistance to change. However, when a specialist works on only one specific problem, he or she will pay more attention to understanding how you handle your problems. For example, the specialist might notice that any time you approach a difficult subject, you find a new problem to solve and switch your focus to this. The specialist will also provide a rational point of view when you explain your difficulties with solving problems (whether these are just excuses or real obstacles).

11. Gaining insights from talking about problems out loud

When individuals try to solve their problems, most often they just think about them. Sometimes they don’t even verbalize this process, but think using images instead of words. As a result, they don’t notice a lot of important aspects of the problem that they might otherwise notice immediately. For example, someone might not realize that she expects her partner to guess what she needs from him; or that she plans her whole sex life and is not spontaneus; or that she doesn’t think about her marketing strategy when she wonders why her product is not selling well.

That’s why, when people talk about their problems out loud, they can be suprised at what they say. Expressing oneself may lead to an understanding of the essence of the problem or even finding a solution for it. Many clients have solved their problems just by talking to a specialist who was actively listening without interrupting them or giving advice.

12. Possibility of working on the relationship between the client and the specialist

According to some schools of psychotherapy, this is the single most important part of a therapeutic process. While working with a specialist, whether you like it or not, you have a relationship with him. For some people, this may be their first time talking to someone who is not judging them, imposing his own opinions, or interrupting to talk about his own life. Instead, the specialist reacts with acceptance, supports in difficult moments, and asks questions that lead to the solution (and gives credit for that to the client, not to himself).

During changework sessions you can observe your relationship patterns, receive and immediately implement feedback, or notice so-called transference (a phenomenon in which someone unconsciously associates the therapist with an important figure from her past and reacts to the therapist the same way she would react to, for example, her mother or father). Moreover, you can vividly see various pathological patterns of your behavior, such as constantly blaming yourself, bragging, or displaying obedience or avoidance. A changework session is a great (and safe) place to talk about these things.

As another example, during one of these sessions, a man who has problems interacting with women and who also sees his sexual impulses as something dirty and shameful, can openly express his fantasies with the therapist. She won’t insult him, but will rather react with acceptance and compassion. This one moment may be more important, impactful, and healing than the rest of the therapy sessions.

13. Drawing attention to your strengths

When you are absorbed in your problems, you can forget about your strengths. Your skills, positive circumstances, and past situations in which you’ve solved your problems may fade away in a vastness of chaotic thoughts and feelings. In such cases, the specialist may draw your attention to the resources you’ve got in order to find the solution.