Be. Choose. Cause.

Home Blog filed under Coach Development, Newsletter blog

Do Your Patterns Serve Your Clients?

All good coaches watch for the patterns that want to emerge and take control of the here and now.

Have you ever noticed a pattern in your life - or in your coaching practice - that shows up again and again? Maybe it is a pattern that is not serving you or your client.

In this blog, Christine Delprete, ACC relays her experience with a particular habit she noticed that wasn't serving her clients. She reflects on the ways she keeps present with her clients so she can focus on coaching and stay out of problem-solving.

Sometimes the simplest experiences transport us to the most beautiful places. For me, it is sitting in a friend’s kitchen as they carefully chop and simmer onions and celery in butter. When that happens, I’m transported! I simultaneously inhabit two kitchens: one that is in the here-and-now, and one that exists only in distant memory. In memory, I recall celebration and belonging. Beautiful echoes.

We all have triggers that evoke echoes - it’s part of being alive. It’s how we make sense of this world and how we learn to respond.

The interesting thing about echoes is that the original causes no longer exist. It’s sort of definitional, really. But when echoes are reverberating through our psyche, the past might as well be in the next room. Past can feel absolutely present.

Patterns are like this, don’t you think? They are a lot like echoes. Have you ever noticed a pattern in your life - or in your coaching practice - that shows up again and again? Maybe it is a pattern that is not serving you or your client. As coaches, we are an introspective bunch, so I imagine you have found one or two. I’ve seen one particular pattern in my own practice - maybe some of you can relate. Mine sounds like this: “I know what needs to happen next!”

Oh how seductive the pull! “I know what you need to do!” I like to think of this pattern as one of my own personal demons. Over time, I’ve become familiar with it. Gotten downright acquainted with it. Had coffee with it. I’ve watched it emerge again and again. And I admit that I’ve been swept away as it clutched me in its jaws, shaking me about like a dog abuses an old, well-used toy.

All good coaches watch for the patterns (born of triggers) that want to emerge and take control of the here and now. We develop what a meditation teacher of mine called “vigilant guard.” You know this part of your psyche: the part that guards the perimeter of the castle. It walks around and around and around, watching for the pattern to emerge. Yes? Well, I’ve watched for this pattern in myself: “I know what your problem is!!” It’s compelling. “I know .. I know .. I know!”

But I’ve learned through my own inner work and from watching the glorious and unexpected ways in which my clients' journeys unfold that this pattern does not serve my clients. Not at all. So my vigilant guard circles the castle walls, and when it finds that climbing demon, my guard confronts it and says: “Not today!”

Wouldn’t it be lovely if that were the end of the demon? But we all know that this is not the end: it is just the beginning. The familiar demon will keep climbing those walls in ever more creative and subtle ways. But there is something in persistence: upon intervening again and again, the demon is eventually reduced to an echo. An echo that we will see arise, from time to time, in our life and in our practice. The beauty of our commitment to vigilantly guarding the walls is that we have now developed enough experience and maturity to see the echo for what it is. And seeing it for what it is, we get to face it down and say, “Not today.”

With that, we return to the present moment. We are practically nailed to the present moment. And with curiosity and compassion we continue to attend to the beautiful human being who sits before us. From that perspective, we engage on their terms inside of a space that is as free as possible of our echos. It is a beautiful practice. An ongoing practice. A very human practice. And from an echo-free space, our client has their best potential to discover their own truths and to find their highest path.

Christine DelPrete, ACC

★ I'm a skilled Agile and Product Management Coach with over 20 years of experience effectively bridging technology, operations, and product concerns in the technology industry.

★ I have extensive experience in all aspects of strategic planning and execution including agile portfolio planning and management, operational efficiencies, and team leadership.

★ I enjoy building valuable relationships and work well with people at all levels of an organization including management, team members, and clients.

Read more about Christine »