Understanding the distinct emphasis #coaching

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It’s Monday morning and I have set myself up comfortably in my study ready to start a day of homeworking. My desk is tidy and humming with the sound of my computer starting up. I have a nice hot cup of tea cooling down on my desk, just like I would have a nice cup of fresh coffee from the Barista on my desk when I am working in the Brussels office. Successful homeworking is a question of creating the right habits.

“Good morning Doc Oz,” I smile as my Wizard cat drifts over to me on his pink cloud. “Did you have a nice weekend with baking, pottery and English conversation?”

“No,” the Wizard grunts. “How are you?”

“I performed Reiki on Wim,” I beam proudly at him. “First time. It was such a magical experience. For me at least. Lots of energy swirling, and different colours. Wim just liked feeling so close. The second day he said he saw a wheel with three spokes and it was turning round.”

My eyes are alight with twinkles as I recount my first steps in practicing Reiki on others. I let out a deep sigh of satisfaction, and look at him rather concerned: “Oh dear, why wasn’t it a nice weekend?”

“Your first experience was very good,” the Wizard encourages me in a sincere tone. “Most people don’t achieve that ever.”

“Really?” I let out in amazement. “In any case it was truly special. What do you think the wheel means?”

“We had no electricity. Or at least it was sporadic,” the Wizard’s eyes darken as he explains his bad mood. “The neighbour is using something that keeps tripping the power. So I am trying to sort out a kitchen and that is taking a long time. Lots of bla bla just like in Belgium.”

“Maybe a short circuit,” I think back remembering my own electricity problems over the previous winter. “Why don’t you go and talk to your neighbour? Sort it out. I would think it romantic with no electricity. Candles and cuddles.”

“Really,” the Wizard is now livid with sarcasm. “Now why didn’t I think of that?”

“You did of course,” I suss him calmly. “You are really in a bad mood, aren’t you?”

“Yes,” the Wizard blows off steam through his ears, which looks funny, as if part of his cloud is traveling up along his spine and then out of his ears like a steam train. “Irritated. Frustrated.”

“I understand,” I know the feeling. “Anything I can do?”

“No heating, no hot water, no money coming in and just being used to further others needs while mine just get put on hold,” the Wizard continues his unusual rant. “Fun fun fun.”

“Oh that does sound bad,” I hate it when the Wizard is in one of those moods and I wish I knew the magical words to make everything alright.

“Starting to think this is a mistake,” the Wizard’s voice is nearing to shouting.

“If you could choose one thing today which would help you, what would it be?” I am going to have to find a solution and quick. “What is a mistake?”

“A commitment,” the Wizard grunts again in answer to what would make him feel better.

“A commitment from who?” I coax him further.

“Coming here,” the Wizard answers to whichever question suits him best.

“You love Debbie,” I remind the Wizard of the finer things in life.

“Any of the players I am trying to deal with,” the Wizard goes on about his commitment.

“South America and Cuba are known for shitty infrastructure,” I tell him thinking back to my honeymoon there. “Well name a few and which commitment you would like them to make.”

“Yes indeed,” the Wizard sighs and he looks really pissed off. At least, if you can imagine a Wizard cat to look like that. “Are you suggesting I name a commitment I want out loud?”

“Yes give it a try,” and I give him a broad smile.

“Fiona how long have you known me?” the Wizard’s eyes are a scary colour of dark now.

“Six years,” I answer as I do my best to keep my tone happy and light.

“And for six years you might have had a tiny inkling of what I know perhaps?” the Wizard thunders at me, shooting little beams of lightening out of his eyes. “Or do you just assume I must be a complete idiot? Retarded at best?”

“I think you are brilliant,” I cheer at him determined not to let his foul mood drag me down to that level. “One of the most intelligent people I know of.”

“I hope you don’t do this to your clients,” the Wizard hisses at me. “But give them the benefit of the doubt and suggest things that are so obvious that even a small child can figure out.”

The Wizard has started to sulk now. And realizing he has made a grammatical mistake, he is quick to correct himself. “Not suggest.”

“Oooh,” I let out. The bad mood is now turning on me. Wrong place, wrong time.

“God my English is getting so bad,” the Wizard sighs.

“Thing is…” I wonder where on earth to start picking up the pieces. “When you give advice it is really simple stuff but structured in a way I hadn’t thought about it.”

“The idea is to make people think,” the Wizard reminds me of what he always says.

“You will never ask for advice let alone take it from somebody else,” I tell him reproachfully. “I don’t think many people have that ability really.”

“No honey I ask when the opportunity presents itself,” the Wizard is doing his best to be sweet again. “But simple is good but it needs to be in a way that helps me think. What you should suggest I’d find another way to communicate your needs.”

“Yes do that,” I smile at him. Why didn’t I think of that before? “You’re not nice when you get frustrated. Glad I’m not there.”

“In other words listen to what is being said and respond to what seems to be emphasized not the obvious,” the Wizard lectures me patiently. “You have just helped me more then you know. I thank you in all sincerity.”

“Oooh now that’s great advice but not easy,” I sit back and let it all sink in for a moment. “You have to hear the emphasis…” And I just laugh: “Think I’m kind of useless really.”

“Yes. So the obvious is put aside and your second response you give,” the Wizard tells me. And he’s right. Never act on your first response. Voice it, but don’t do it. Think again. The

Wizard continues to sooth his outburst from earlier on: “Not useless. You need practice. Just absorb my outburst and look underneath. Try a different approach or ask a question.”

Something else must have gotten his attention because his ears suddenly twitch and with a distracted look he blows me a kiss: “Ok I have to go.”

“Okay,” I blow kisses after him too. “See you.”

For many helping professionals who are coaching others there are often many questions. Learning to listen and to hear the hidden message being emphasized yet hidden in a waterfall of words, can often make the work seem vague and ambiguous.

The clue is in understanding that you are not limited. You have infinite possibilities.

* Disclaimer : Any resemblance between the fictional characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle by chance more than by choice.

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