Calling Out the Power ~ Coaching for Transformation

Dedicated to my friend K. who has embarked into a journey through Gaia and himself, and to me, who have accepted the challenge to do the same…

The key to other people’s hearts is finding the key to yours. Got to give to receive, got to open up yourself to get inside somebody else” ~ Jesse Jackson

In the first years of my coaching/counselling experience, I was very directive. I thought I was inspiring people, but instead, I was providing so much information to them that I wouldn’t listen long or deep enough to their real needs, not allowing them to show their own power, the only that is: the power over their own decisions and responses to life (with all its limiting factors and challenges, but also its extraordinary resources and opportunities).

From the image below, I was sitting for too long in the “cozy” corner, the one where we create a safe and supportive and people can relax, share and start to heal, dream, see the possibilities…

Adapted from Coaching for transformation - Pathways to ignite Personal & Social Change
Adapted from Coaching for transformation – Pathways to ignite Personal & Social Change

Being in the cozy corner is safe and comfortable. Too safe and comfortable to create real transformation. This is as true in one-on-one coaching as it is when working with communities, stakeholders, partners in any personal or business relationship.

Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”
~ Mary Oliver

“Edgy coaching is not always about demanding clients step into confidence; it could be about helping them step into any unexpressed authentic parts of themselves. For instance, calling out the power can be a wakeup call to embrace the grieving process, explore deep-seated fear or express regret.” (Book, “Coaching for Transformation”)

Moving towards the up extreme (“edgy”) takes some skill and patience but most of all, observation and courage: only when the relationship is well stablished can we risk to “break it” by calling out the power of the person or community: we need to love this person in front of us, this community, so much, that we want them to be the ones to decide their next step, to be transformed.

The magic of this transformation is that includes us: because only when we allow ourselves to be brave, bold, intense, real, is when we truly open the door for them to be the same.

And the transformation happens at both ends…

“There is in every organism, at whatever level, an underlying flow of movement toward constructive fulfilment of its inherent possibilities” ~ Carl Rogers

As many of the followers of this blog know, I post a lot about many topics. The main one is climate change and personal/household and community resilience (and the challenges we face at spiritual, cognitive, emotional and even physical level to digest and adapt to these “news”).

Both in my practice as a coach/counsellor and in my everyday interaction with others I find that the state of the world (environment, politics, economics, social) is mirrored in each human being, sometimes so distorted that is difficult to recognize it. But it is there: in our dysfunctional relationships, our cravings, frustrations, numbness, depressions, anxieties and addictions.

Because we are cells of the bigger Gaia body, we are not something “else”, we are human animals who also happen to have consciousness, whatever that is…

Tell me, what is it you plan to do 
with your one wild and precious life
~ Mary Oliver

Like with a terminal disease, the potential for NTE resurrects our internal monsters and makes us to “rush to live our lives to the fullest”…like we were immortal before knowing and suddenly NTE made us aware of our status as mortal beings.

In my last post here, I wondered whether or not to share too much information about the fate of our and other species in light of climate change. I also wondered whether to express my own pain and fear would drift people away from me or worse: from their own internal and/or communal resources to address their own feelings towards it.

I choose to start inhabiting the upper right corner (the edge) while going back-and-forth to the cozy corner so I can heal and allow them to regain strength.

Those working with climate change communications, community resilience and one-on-one coaching may want to explore this corner more often as their communications tend to dwell too long on the upper right (“pushy”, such as calling people “deniers”, judging and confronting those who seem to live in a different reality), sometimes in the lower right (“flat” , by being extremely passive and in silence, accepting defeat) and others, in the cozy corner (sugar coating reality and protecting others from reality for too long) .

Only when we trust people (and ourselves) that they will have the resources and strength to become fully aware of both the challenges and the opportunities, is when transformation may have a chance.

Because life is all we have, and that is a wonderful thing in itself…

 “to live in this world
you must be able
to do three things
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go

~ Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Vol. 1

Image from

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