Archive for September, 2010

TRIGGERED!!!!!!!! Or how to use that thing to your betterment. . .

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010


So in my last blog, I talked about a session which I facilitated at school a couple of weeks ago. It was interesting because all three members of that trio walked away very triggered by the overall experience. For me, it was one of the few times I had ever been called out as not being empathetic and therefore, ineffectual.

While I didn’t make the client “Wrong,” I was upset because my perception was that the client wasn’t taking responsibility for their part in the session. Which of course is what I was then doing. What do they mean that I was ineffectual? Of course I couldn’t be effectual. They wouldn’t let me! If they had done it my way. . .

Or so the conversation went in my head!

Now, me being me, I quickly realized that I could easily get caught up in this and go no where with it. Righteous indignation is great and can be a lot of fun. But let’s face it, doesn’t get you far if you are trying to learn how to handle situations which will come up in the future. So I went and found one of the faculty members who helped me get some insight.

I discovered that I was very invested in my ability to help my clients shift and see that *I* was working and that there was measurable progress every session. And I was triggered because of my perception that my client wasn’t allowing me to DO MY JOB!!!!!

Um, victim much?

The truth is, the client and I had different expectations of what my job was. This isn’t a good or bad thing, simply a difference in style. My style is more active then theirs and thus most likely incompatible. In the real world, chances are that the client would find a different Coach. And that would be fine because it would allow me to find clients who were interested in my style of Coaching.

But the other side of this was that I was able to take that information and look at it and my filters and attitudes about progress – mine and my clients – and discover what it was reflecting inside of me. Where was I placing limitations on things? Where was I not jumping into things with both feet? Did I have any superiority issues? What about places where I was judging other peoples effectiveness while not allowing them to be totally effective? And many other projections.

So the question I have for you is one which I am sure is not new. What is any upset you are experiencing reflecting back to you? What has it triggered inside you? What material do you have the opportunity to sit back and recognize, acknowledge and then let go of? And how would that feel if you did this?

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Shuman

Be careful what you ask for (you will get it!)

Saturday, September 18th, 2010


It has been almost 2 months since my last post. In that time we have had a family wedding, an illness, I have defended my thesis and graduated. It has been an incredible journey all the way with many opportunities for growth.

One of the things which came up during this time was about asking. Asking for what we want. And being clear about our expectations and does what we are asking for get us what it is we really want.

Let me give you an example. While I was off in the desert at Practicum, I facilitated a trio. For those who have never done trio work, this is a great training tool. You have a client, a facilitator and a neutral observer. In most cases, at the end of the session, the client and neutral observer give feedback to the facilitator. When I sat down in the facilitators chair, the client looked at me and explained to me how they worked. It included facilitating themselves and please don’t talk unless I saw something egregious. The client then immediately moved into Gestalting with herself while I was still in the chair, so technically, the client was projecting at me, which is generally considered a no-no if you are doing Gestalt*. I quickly got out of the chair, and listened to her interaction. Now, I am honest. For a moment, I thought to myself, if the client isn’t going to take advantage of having me there, I may as well go out, have drinks, go dancing, meet the future Mr. Shuman, get married, have a couple of more kids and then come back, because the client was going to be exactly where they are when they started.

I quickly decided that that was unworthy of me, and re centered myself in the session. At one point the client stopped and let me know that they was stuck. I made some suggestions which the client was able to work with, but overall, neither of us were terribly happy with the progress which was made. Their comment was, I was technically very good at what I did, but there was no connection.

Um, it’s kinda hard to be connected with someone when they have told you to not talk or be involved with the process?

So the question I have is this: what did the client really want? What they asked for was basically non direct involvement from the facilitator. When they got that, there was a complaint. Not saying that they may not have gotten it from someone else, but because of the restriction they had placed on me, the facilitator, it proved very difficult to interact and give relevant feedback. In other words, the client got what they were asking for, but not what they wanted.

But this lead me to think about how many times do we do this to ourselves? We put restrictions on ourselves and then suddenly realize that we are running duo agendas or agendas which are, by design, incompatible. Or have the potential of being so. An this can also be about the letter of the law, not the spirit. We deliver what we are being asked for, but we don’t go out of our way to do anything more. Because stopping just ‘there’ is all that is necessary. This goes for both the client and the facilitator in the above case.

From a Coaching stand point, this is about taking responsibility. The client made a definite choice about how to proceed. Anywhere along the way, they could have said, I am feeling unsupported here. Can we talk about this. As the Facilitator, I could have stopped the session and made several suggestions which may have prompted a more satisfying outcome for both of us. Instead, I made the choice to allow the session to run it’s course.

But how to avoid having this happen? Or at least mitigate this kind of conflict of agenda? One is setting a clear intention for the session along with having a clear, larger agenda. Then be willing to be courageous and transparent during the session. If you, the client, are not feeling it, not feeling supported, stop and talk to the facilitator about it. In a non – victim way. Perhaps this is a good time to simply have a conversation as opposed to doing deep processing. No one says that every session has to be emotional and stressful. In fact, if they are, and you, the client are not feeling as though you are moving forward, why are you going to therapy or Coaching? Why are you putting yourself and your facilitator though this?

I can tell you as a Coach, it is exhausting when you have a client who won’t let go of their resistances. Who sets boundaries which prohibit interaction and proactive conversations. In the real world, I can suggest that clients such as these go somewhere else or look at their motivation to change. Their willingness to let go of old patterns and ideals which are no longer serving then. And if they are unwilling to do so, then create ways to live with those patterns, etc. which will help them to have a more fulfilling life until they are willing to let go.

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Shuman