Burnout is all too often an experience that coaches are familiar with. Combine the heady mix of entrepreneurship, business learning curve and doing transformational work with clients and you’ve often got a recipe for overwhelm stew.
Oftentimes we think it’s the business side of things that get us. For many coaches (myself included) the skills, lessons and systems involved in setting up and running a successful biz are new and the learning curve steep.
The coaching itself? Well that’s the joy.
Except when it isn’t.
It’s not unusual to get burnt out on coaching itself. We can be so focused on getting the results for our clients that we don’t realize when our own emotional strings are being gently tugged.
For many it looks a bit like this:
You’ve had a busy few weeks. You coaching biz is going great – clients are loving your work and you feel like you’re doing some real transformational stuff. You’ve got your systems worked out (in a fashion), and you’re making money. BUT you’re feeling worn down and exhausted. You can’t quite put your finger on why – you just know that you’re not bouncing back as quickly as you used to.
This is where checking in with your own stuff is important.
Think of it like this:
You’re client is digging a hole. Excavating the ground, breaking up boulders, and laying strong new foundations. While they’re the ones doing the entire heavy digging, lugging and lifting, you’re walking alongside them. When they sink that shovel into the earth, dust and debris are thrown up. You may not be doing the actual shovelling but some of that dust is naturally going to get on you due simply to proximity.
You’ll have some client sessions where afterwards there’s no mistaking the dust – you can feel it in your hair and lungs. Perhaps something the client said reminded you of a similar incident you’d been through yourself, or behaviour has triggered you and you know that you need to do something about it. It’s part of the self-awareness that comes from being a coach. But even with those sessions that go like a charm, over time that dust can leave it’s coating on you.
How to turn it around
The best way to clean off this dust is to have your own periodic supervision or coaching sessions. You can do this with someone who works specifically with coaches or you can use your peers and colleagues. It doesn’t really matter which way you choose to do is, so long as you keep on doing the work yourself so that you can remain centered, grounded and self-aware.
One of the analogies I often use about coaching is that it’s like that part at the hair salon where the stylist holds the mirror up so that you can see the back of your own head. Coaching shows us our blind spots and raises our awareness to our own stuff. It’s great when a client has that ‘I’d never thought of it that way before!’ moment isn’t it? Well, we need that as coaches too.
Having regular coaching and supervision yourself ensures that you’re not carrying round unwanted mental baggage that will weigh you down and hold you back from being really, truly present with your clients.
It helps to clean of the mental dust that accumulates, highlights your own triggers and hot spots and leaves you clear, focused and free to do your very best work.
Jo Casey is a trainer, coach and the creator of The Work Happy Podcast. She works with aspiring and emerging coaches to help them find more joy, confidence and impact in their work. She’s written for MindBodyGreen, Tiny Buddha, Brazen Life, Dumb Little Man and Finer Minds. You can find her at www.jocasey.com and sign up for signature programme The Map Of You where you’ll discover the meeting point between your unique strengths, passions and talents, and how you really make a difference in the world. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+