In the Middle of Turmoil

My coaching client sighs. “I think I need to take a break from coaching. I’m so stressed at work and at home, I feel like I’m swimming in a riptide. Once I’m back safely on shore, I can have more ground under my feet and continue.”

I never force anyone to continue coaching, but when I hear this, I am hearing a need for coaching, not a break from it. I feel like saying, “There is no shore; your whole life is a river.” (I realize I shifted the metaphor from ocean to river.)

rapids_mountain_river__images_desktop_wallpaper-widePart of the need to “feel ground under your feet” is the word we use to describe someone stable and balanced: grounded.

We associate balance with control. With knowing what will happen next. But that’s largely an illusion driven by hope. We are always in the middle of something–a project, a crisis, a celebration, a decision, a career, an identity. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t plan, but it does mean that plans change, shift and become impossible without much warning.

Life is a river, and we are always floating, swimming, paddling. There is not a time when everything is suddenly perfect and the world stops so we can enjoy floating blissfully.

whirlpool-1-300x224Grabbing enjoyment when you recognize it is a skill that coaching teaches you. So is adapting to a fast-paced life and dealing with change without falling apart.

Coaching works in the middle of turmoil–because it mixes support with accountability, and courage with action. Coaching works best when the client is open to life and change, but it can help people adjust when the world is not stable under their feet. If it’s stable now, don’t expect it to stay that way. You won’t be surprised when change shoots under your feet.

-Quinn McDonald has had her share of change.


6 thoughts on “In the Middle of Turmoil

  1. I have followed this blog for years,it’s more art journal based normally so not of great interest to you but I thought this was rather apt and a nice way of looking at things…perhaps you can nick it for your part of your coaching!!! Simple way of explaining things! Anyway,delete if no like ,use if appropriate!!! Lotsa love J x What’s the offer on me table darlin!! What a week!

    Sent from my iPad

  2. Sometimes you just have to go with the current for a while to see where your choices are going to take you. Sometimes you have to fight the turbulance that others are creating, and if they’re drowning maybe you can get them to safety . . . but you can’t save everyone by yourself, they have to swim too or at least not fight you. I guess you could say that was my day-job . . . giving swimming lessons.

    Right now I feel like I’m drifting into the shallows so I can rest up a little, make a few plans, dream a little (or a lot), before I leap in to that unpredictable current once again.

  3. I was just thinking and speaking with a friend about change the other day. I have had my share of change in the past year, 3 big moves and three jobs. I hope that is done for the time being. I was saying to my friend that the one thing humans fear the most(well, except for death) is change and yet it is the only constant in our lives. I embrace change, but am hoping for smaller, incremental changes in the upcoming future. Have a great day!

  4. My life has been tumultuous for much of the time and it’s been particularly interesting in the past four years. Throughout the past 4 years one of my guideposts and cheerleaders as I navigate treacherous seas has been my therapist who also functions as a coach in many ways. She keeps me going when things are very bad and she cheers me on when things improve. I believe that coaching matters most when things are very bad – otherwise one often falls into the abyss and forgets everything they’ve learned. I thank my therapist, Stacie, for being there even when I’m at my most uncooperative and not giving up on me. And Quinn, thanks for this post

  5. Interesting post. I had been seeing a therapist for several years while going through a downturn in my life–divorce, job loss, foreclosure–all of them happened at the same time. I eventually lost my insurance, and I couldn’t afford the therapy anymore, even on a sliding scale. If you’re a survivor like me and you don’t give up hope and work hard, life’s downturns do eventually shift, and when I found myself employed, picking up the pieces of my life, and insured again, I went back to the therapist. It was about a year to fifteen months later. Things were much better, stress levels were lower; life was taking an upturn. So why go see a therapist THEN? I see my therapist as a life coach, and I wanted to go back to see her for the very reasons you mentioned in your post. Even though things are better for me now, MUCH better, I want to be able to stay strong for when the next bend in the river occurs. I want to be able to prioritize what’s important and what’s not. I want to be able to reset goals. I want to heal and stay positive. When you hit a major sustained downturn in life, it’s traumatic and it can take years to bounce back from it. There is never NOT a good time for the wisdom, support and compassion of a life coach. I consider my sessions to be “wellness” visits. They’re less frequent than when I was in crisis. These sessions are very precious to me because it truly is ME time!

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