Lesson 3: Meeting the Leader

October 5, 2017

Bev Iber

Lesson 2: Rebuilding the Walls (Ezra)

September 28, 2017

Janise Matyas Smith

What if we go together?- By Janet Stolp

My poem is an attempt to put into words, not only the posture and character of a good coach, but also to bring out the emotion that is often evoked during a session. It occurred to me that this emotion is often the glue that makes integrative health coaching so powerful. It is my belief that coaching is as much an art as it is a science.

I wrote the poem very quickly while serving as a nurse volunteer with Reality Ministry.  As I watched their caregivers offer their presence with kindness and love while allowing for autonomy and independence, they embodied our role as coaches. It is all about partnering with our clients.  For me, the poem is the result of allowing my inner creative voice to speak. This seems to come easier for me.

The metaphor of going through a tunnel is drawn from my experience during a past cycling adventure with friends on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. The tunnel curves at one point so no light is present, making one feel precarious and insecure. The drips from the ceiling echoed through the darkness and the temperature was chilly. We all slowed and then stopped. We silently stood still at one point, then moved carefully, listening and feeling our way through the darkness. Even while with others, I felt very alone.

As I now read the poem through a coach’s lens it is my hope that the coaching relationship will come through showing a mindful presencing partnership, as well as the characteristics of curiosity, observation, noticing, and deep respect. And hopefully it also exposes some aspects of the process such as vision and values as well.

What if we go together?

It is dark. cold.
Through sobs and tears you tell me there is no… way… out.
I cannot see your face, but your desperation washes over me: slowing my own breath.
May I sit beside you?
What is this dank place that echoes hollow,… and moist?
How long… have you been here… alone,… in the dark?
May I hold your hand?

Just our breath…. in….out…
Drips from the ceiling.
What are you thinking? Feeling?
Where is it you want to go?
What does it look like? Feel like?
I hear you speak… of bright sunlight,
warm breezes,
and rest.

Your voice has changed… clarity,… calm.
I see your legs uncross.
How would it feel if we walked together?
How should we begin?
Would it help to wrap arms…
and rise…..catch our breath….
take a step…
take our time?

Is that a breeze? Do you notice it too?
Ahhhh …a very small light.
Our feet in rhythm….steady,…together.
A new smell… a new scent.
Smiling… laughter,…
What are you noticing?
Hope.

Written by Janet Stolp, BSN, RN
Duke Certified Integrative Health Coach, LLC

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