coaching as spring cleaning

Spring Cleaning

16th November 2018

Author: Nick Bolton

It often gets messy before it gets better!

You might soon start noticing a common theme in my thoughts, and it’s essentially that they largely aim to debunk myths (or at least ideas that I see as myths) that have kept coaching stuck at a certain level of effectiveness and perception. Thankfully, I’m not alone in this, and the last few years have seen a surge in the recognition of complexity in coaching.

And so, on that note, I want to mention messiness!

Coaching has traditionally been perceived as a future-oriented, goal-centric, decluttering and simplifying process. And there’s a lot to be said for this as a way of cutting through the mess people often sink into.

But think about it. Do you remember the last time you had a spring clean? You start off with an OK-ish home and your intention is to make it as sparkling and as fresh as the day it sprang, newly formed, from the earth, shining and gleaming!

Except, what happens? As the day goes by, your home gets messier and messier!

Cupboards are emptied, spilling long-unseen junk all over your floor. Clothes are thrown into a pile, ready for the charity shop, and old furniture might be broken into jagged pieces of wood, and ragged cloth. Rarely used crockery is dumped in the sink to be washed, and the place that was once liveable now resembles nothing more than Steptoe’s yard.

And yet, you know there’s a journey ahead to a better state, to a tidier, cleaner home you’ll be proud of.

Slowly but surely, the mess starts to almost dissolve before your eyes, and a beautiful home emerges from your hard work.

But it’s not just tidier and cleaner. It’s different. The very foundations of the tidiness have changed, and although maybe some months later the accretion of living will eventually demand another spring clean, right now it’s different. The very structure of the tidiness has changed.

And so it is with coaching.

The cupboards of the mind may be emptied out onto the coaching floor, the dust of long-held thoughts being blown into the air in the process, momentarily clouding the seemingly clean space you started with. The dishes of unmet values might be dumped into the sink of exploration, and habits broken down, leaving jagged results and a ragged self-image.

Yet slowly, slowly……

Author Details

Nick Bolton

Nick is the founder and CEO of the Animas and International Centre for Coaching Supervision. Along with his love of coaching and supervision, he is a a passionate learner with a fascination for philosophy, psychology and sociology.

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