Promoting Human Connection
This month in coach training we are learning about enrolling clients and asking for feedback. That is the curriculum. But what we are really up to this month is learning to find the deeper levels that create human connection.
Not that this month is different from any other in that sense. Coaching is premised upon relationship. Working with people on their hopes and dreams requires a very solid relationship. Relationship is connection.
We are here in this world to connect. It is the greatest need of human beings. Just google “the need for human connection,” and you will find a plethora of articles on the psychological need to feel connected.
For a great TED talk on this point, see The power of vulnerability | Brené Brown – Bing video
Brene Brown, among others, will tell you that vulnerability is the key to human connection. So somewhere around month 4 of our training program, we start to really watch for vulnerability; we start to challenge our coaches to watch themselves, to find where they are keeping themselves safe. Where is that “edge?” Where is the wall to your zone of comfort located? What is that action you want to take that makes you feel so exposed that you will not take it? What is the question you will not ask? What is the thing you see, but will not name? Where do you sacrifice your connection for an illusion of safety?
Because here is the ironic part. Connection creates a sense of safety in this world. And true connection comes from vulnerability.
This is a scary month for me. Because I start to ask the question more – “where are you being vulnerable, and where can you be more?” And that scares me. I fear people getting mad at me, people pushing back. I know that I also get to show more of my own vulnerability. Because I know as a coach, we get to tell people the hard truth, be present with them in an impactful way and build trust. Trust is not built by acting like you have your shit together. It is built by being real.
I think human connection is built in part like this. As your coach, I tell you the scary thing I see. Or I ask you the challenging question. And because I expose myself and set down ego about all of it, because I am vulnerably putting myself out there to challenge you, then you might feel safe to look honestly at yourself in your own vulnerability. And we join deeper in our vulnerability.
Because vulnerability is risky. There are no guarantees that you will not be misunderstood. And you might feel hurt. Vulnerability requires a level of courage. And maybe some support. This is why I think being a coach (or a client for that matter) is not for the faint of heart.
We work as coaches to be real, honest, fallible, to say when we feel scared, or hurt, to say when we have made a mistake. We work to show our authentic and imperfect selves, so that the people we coach can feel safe to do the same. Because the place where their answers lie, the place where they can find out how to get what they truly want is deeper than the surface. It is deeper than the easy answer, the safe answer. It lies down in the messy middle. And we will go there with you.