I love my clients, they never fail to make me think.
It’s my job as their coach to work with them to find a different perspective that will resonate for them, help them get unstuck from their current position.
Recently however it was one of my clients that made me stop and have an “ah ha” moment!
This particular client is very focused on his communication skills and is a keen observer of human behavior. As an immigrant he finds the social norms of our North American society fascinating and recently had the opportunity to observe two friends who got together as a couple.
He noticed that his female friend was trying to change or fix her new boyfriend and it didn’t appear to be going to well. His observation was, “if women stopped trying so hard to change their men and instead put that energy and effort into working on themselves think about who they could become!”
I found his observation quite perceptive as he shared with me that he did not understand why she was suddenly doing this, “That had not been happening when they were just friends,” he said.
Before you get all upset about his comment ladies let me reassure you that I knew as his coach this had come from a place of curiosity for him, not judgement.
We chatted about this for some time. I shared with him my female perspective from both of my own long term relationships, women I have coached and from the numerous readings I have read in doing my own learning on the subject.
I agreed with him, it is certainly something that we as North American women tend to do. We get ourselves a boyfriend or a partner and shortly after we want to change something about him. We work diligently to ensure he improves so that we will be happier in the relationship.
Ask a few single men you know or one’s who have been in longer relationships, see what they say if you ask, “Was your partner ever trying to change you? “
Alison Armstrong, author of The Queen’s Code, speaks about how women often see the men in their lives as simply hairier versions of themselves. “I realized that as a woman, when I looked at a man, I didn’t see a man. I saw a hairy woman. I interacted with him like he was a hairy, more muscular, uncouth woman. I expected him to know what every woman would know and do what every woman would do. I expected him to be motivated by the things I was motivated by”
This has me ask the question, are we trying to change our male partner to be more like us, more like a woman?
Think about it ladies. The hours of nagging and complaining that we do because he doesn’t do what we want him to do or what we expect him to do. Perhaps it wasn’t a good fit to begin with if your values weren’t similar. If I value a clean organized house and you don’t, how long will it take before I am walking around pissed off because you can’t keep things as clean as I want them and you’re upset because I’m always pissed off?
If I am a saver and it’s important to me to not be in debt, how long before the relationship goes sour because my partner is a spender and never takes a look at his credit card bills or worries about debt?
His concept I felt, had merit. And as a coach it appealed to me. How could we change our lives if we began to change ourselves versus trying to change others? In essence isn’t this actually what draws people to work with a coach?
So what does it mean to do your work? Well in coaching we dig into several areas to discover why any of your relationships aren't working for you.(family, partner, work, neighbor) Such as:
- do you have a problem with trusting others?
- how are you at vulnerability and asking for what you need or want, or should the other person just know?
- do you always have to have control of a situation or can you let someone else handle it their way?
So..... are you ready to work on yourself first?
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