I know that people are often unsure as to the benefits of one on one coaching, so I thought I would write a brief blog article on the subject.
I support and guide the client in discovery around what the client wants to achieve.
First, I want to explain what a one on one coaching session is like. I do mine over the phone or on Skype or Zoom. A session can be done just by audio, or with audio and video. It is whatever the client prefers. The sessions are 60 mins long and the client is the one who decides what the session will be about and I support and guide the client in discovery around what the client wants to achieve. Then at the end of each session the client and I will agree upon a plan of action for the client that will take place before the next session. I help the client hold themselves accountable to that plan. I am also available between sessions to answer a reasonable amount of emails. That is a general overview as to what a Mindful Equestrian coaching session is like.
With my support, the client then creates a road map for the change that they want to make.
This is what coaching can achieve in the long term. As a coach, I help clients find tools so they can become more aware of their mental blocks, underlying beliefs and strengths and weaknesses. I support my clients in finding clarity around what they want to change and where they want to go. I explain that research has shown that the brain is plastic and it can be rewired to change old perspectives, beliefs and habits with time, hard work and planning. With my support, the client then creates a road map for the change that they want to make. I encourage them to get unstuck and take action on their plan. As their coach, I support them through the ups and downs of their journey, holding them accountable when they get discouraged and encouraging them to keep moving forward, even if roadblocks are in the way.
Coaching helps to get clients unstuck, gain confidence and create a solid plan of action.
It is the combination of finding awareness, clarity and getting unstuck that really helps a client develop better metal focus and confidence in their riding. Often, without coaching support, people will do one of two things. They will either blast forward without a plan and waste time, money and energy going in the wrong direction or at the wrong pace, or they will stay stuck in inaction, due to some underlying fear or lack of confidence. Coaching helps to get clients unstuck, gain confidence and create a solid plan of action. Through the whole process the client is the one in charge of their discovery, plan and course of action. They are in the driver’s seat. I am there to help them with support, guidance and encouragement.
Get one of my 3 one on one coaching packages at a 15% discount!!!
The 2019 riding season is here and I want to offer you the opportunity get one of my 3 one on one coaching packages at a 15% discount!!! This offer lasts until April 15th. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 315-427-9498 to get your free 30 minute discovery call! Learn more here. https://mindfulequestrian.com/coaching-packages/
Change is not easy to do.
Recently I decided to make a reasonably big change with my business and redo my website. I will not only be getting a new design and updated content, but I will be adding some new offerings and updating old ones. Yesterday, as I was thinking about creating this new blog post and thinking about the topic, the idea of making change came to me. Change is not easy to do.
Sometimes recognizing a need for change can really require deep personal work.
Often the biggest block to making a change is in recognizing the need for change. For me it was deciding that, though my website was updated only a couple of years ago, it is in need of a revision to keep up with the changes with my business and the changes in marketing. That was not too hard to do. But sometimes recognizing a need for change can really require deep and honest personal work. That can be the case with a need for changes in all areas of life including in riding. Maybe there is a deep fear of something, a need to always be perfect, a stream of negative self-talk or maybe an unwillingness to take responsibility for success. Whatever it may be, you first need to acknowledge what is blocking progress and then make a plan to create some change in your life.
It often seems easier to just stay the same and stay in that proverbial “comfort zone.”
Then the hard work continues. Because as much as we may want to move forward and do things differently, it often seems easier to just stay the same and stay in that proverbial “comfort zone.” That has been something I have been dealing with since I decided to change my website. It is going to take me time and money to get this done. I could just as easily leave it alone and keep doing as I have been doing. Life in the short term would seem so much nicer. But without that investment of time and money now, I will not make the progress I would like and keep growing my business. That could be okay too. It is a choice I made to make this change and it could as easily be a choice not to.
What do you choose and how is what you are doing now serving you?
I often ask clients who ride with me the following questions when they struggle to make a change and become resistant to doing so. “It is your choice make the change. What do you choose and how is what you are doing now serving you?” That puts the responsibility in their hands and makes them really think about where they are and if they want to make a change. Usually they decide they do and they begin to take action. That is when a plan is made with strategies to help them move forward and benchmarks created along the way. As their coach, I help them with the accountability part and I support them when there are bumps in the road. It is hard work to create a change in your life, your riding or your business/career. But it is well worth the effort. As I write this I am reminding myself that all of this work on my website will be well worth the effort as well. So, I am off to continue my hard work on that. I hope to be able to share it with you soon! What do you want to change and what is your plan? I would love to hear all about it!!
One exercise I use with my students is around relaxing and feeling the horse while riding. I will have them do shortening, lengthening and transitions. The riders are encouraged to concentrate on sitting deep and communicating with their seats first before going to their hands. As they do this they also focus on staying elastic throughout the ride. In order to do this riders have to fight their muscle memory so they can change their old habits. Riders will often say to me something like, I feel it, but I can’t make my body do it. That is probably the toughest thing about riding and definitely the toughest thing about life. We finally get this awareness about something we need to change. We know it is right and it is what we need to do, but we keep slipping back into old habits. That is okay. It takes time to change something we have done as a regular habit. It took time to create the bad habit, so it will definitely take time to change it.
We often get angry with ourselves for slipping back into old patterns Caught up in worrying about this, we can lose sight of our new sense of awareness and that we have found the new good habit. There is no self-reward for that great accomplishment. Instead we beat ourselves up for not being able to fully sustain this new habit and way of riding. If we let go of this anger and frustration, and instead focus on positive growth, we will eventually, with much practice, slip less and less back into those old ways while developing new, good habits. It takes dedication and perseverance to do so. It is not a quick fix. This is true in riding and any part of our lives. Becoming mindful and aware are the first and most important steps that need to happen before a change can occur. Then it is a matter of practice. One thing we always have to remember though is to forgive ourselves for making mistakes so that we don’t stay stuck in them. We are human after all.
Today was the first day back to school after break. So, after a busy morning I was out at the barn teaching lessons. I decided to have easy flat lessons with a focus on letting go and being relaxed so the horse can relax. Everyone wanted to keep a tight control of the horses as it was cold and windy and they had had a long break. One rider is always concerned about her horse spooking at one end of the ring so she cut the end off and holding a tight feel. I made her sit deep and back and put her hands forward and leave him alone. When she did that he stopped spooking. But she fought so hard giving up that control. When she continually did that she got the same nervous horse and bad results. When she left him alone he relaxed, moved beautifully and everything just flowed. Another life lesson I feel. We often want to keep a tight grip on things in life and stay rigid in our thoughts and expectations and we get the same negative results again and again. When we relax and let life flow and go with that flow we can enjoy the beautiful movement and opportunities that come our way.
This post is a sharing of my “power tool” paper I have to do for the coaching program I am taking. A power tool is a way to help a client change their perspective. This is mine. I have used the word “grit” for years and am now pleased to see it is a quality that is being researched. Enjoy!
Finding Your Grit
Think of a time when life dealt you a blow and you felt that the path to your passion and success was fully blocked. You could see no way around the roadblock and the attainment of your goal seemed impossible. What did you do? Did you stay stuck in your misery, did you give up on your goal and passion or dig down deep and find your “grit” in order to pave a new path to your desired goal and the ultimate success of living your life’s passion and purpose?
It is easy to have a passion for something. We all do at some level. But it is the people with grit who keep following their passion no matter what life throws at them. Timothy Shriver in his book “Fully Alive: Discovering What Matters Most” wrote a whole chapter on the subject of having grit. Much of the chapter is about the Special Olympic athletes he works with and how much grit they have. He writes, “If we are going to pursue our dreams, if we are going to muster the grit and optimism necessary to bring those dreams to life, we need to silence the voices in our heads, and around us that tell us not to try.”(Shriver 2014: 196) He also writes about the research being done trying to understand grit by Angela Lee Duckworth at The University of Pennsylvania. She has found that, “Grit influences success more than IQ or any other personality factor. The research defines “grit” as having two parts-one is perseverance and the other is passion for long term goals.” (Shriver 2014: 195)
Duckworth states in a September 2013 Educational Leadership interview that, “Grit is not just having resilience in the face of failure, but also having deep commitments that you remain loyal to over many years.”(Duckworth 2013: 14-20) Duckworth state in her TED Talk that though she knows grit is an important factor in success, she is not sure how we can develop grit. “To me the most shocking thing about grit is how little we know, how little science knows about building it. Every day, parents and teachers ask me, ‘How do I build grit in kids? What do I do to teach kids a solid work ethic? How do I keep them motivated for the long run?’ The honest answer is I don’t know.” (Duckworth 2103: TED) Duckworth continues with this, “So far, the best idea I’ve heard about building grit in kids is something called ‘growth mindset.’ This is an idea developed at Stanford University by Carol Dwek, and it is the belief that the ability to learn is not fixed, that it can change with your effort. Dr, Dwek has shown that when kids read and learn about the brain and how it changes and grows in response to challenge, they are much more likely to persevere when they fail, because they don’t believe their failure is a permanent condition.” (Duckworth 2103: TED)
Someone who has found their grit does not give up when life’s challenges get in the way. They may have moments of feeling helpless and down. But they have the tools to shift their perspective and find ways to surmount the obstacles in their path. They use their challenges as life lessons and self-growth opportunities. They also understand that the rewards to their efforts are usually not instantaneous and that it takes long term determination to achieve whatever it is they want.
So how does someone find their grit and make it grow? Research aside, everyone has overcome a hurdle of some size in their lives, so everyone must have a bit of grit even if it is in hiding. As Glinda in “The Wizard of Oz” said to Dorothy, “You don’t need to be helped any longer. You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas”. The Scarecrow asks, “Why didn’t you tell her before?” Glinda replies, “Because she wouldn’t have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.” So finding your grit requires you to look inward and not outward for the solutions to your problems in life. Self-reflection is important in order to find that part of your SELF that is strong and capable of forging forward and remaining positive.
Remember the rough times you have experienced and how you felt. What did you do to work through your troubles and how long you did stay stuck in your troubles before you found a new path? What did you learn from your experience and what was it in you that helped you move forward? Even if you stayed mired in your troubles, with your feet stuck to the ground for a very long time, you did eventually move forward? What did you do to make that happen? Whatever you did came from your grit. Maybe it wasn’t a big move forward, but it was a move forward.
Finding a quiet place to meditate can help you remember when you found the strength to make it through tough times. Sometimes we forget how truly strong and resourceful we have been in the past. Quiet reflection is a way to gain clarity of insight and to retrieve those forgotten tools we have used in the past. If meditation is not for you finding anyplace quiet and just being with your breath can do. Or a walk in nature may help you to help find that inner strength. You can also put your thoughts down in writing to help you make more real past successes and understand how you achieved them. You soon will discover that you do have some “grit.”
Focus on that spark of strength and grit. Then grow it. Use the “growth mindset” developed by Carol Dwek and take the spark of “grit” that you discovered and make it a flame next time you face a seemingly unsurmountable obstacle in your path. Learn from each experience, good or bad and keep growing that grit on your pathway to success.
Don’t be discouraged if you feel stuck again in your life. That happens to everyone, grit or not. Having grit does not prevent you from getting stuck, failing or feeling unsure about what is next. Having grit allows you the strength to move forward no matter how hard the fall. You will certainly have to go back to the times of reflection to help you yet again. In fact, making a practice of meditating, quiet reflection, writing or some other form self-discovery will help you be at peace in the toughest of times so that you can better see the path ahead.
If a client struggles with moving forward when faced with obstacles on the path to their life purpose and ultimate success the coach can help them recognize and build on their strengths. As the client discovers these strengths they will realize they do have the grit to get through tough times, learn from their mistakes and lessons and grow from every experience they have.
Some powerful questions the coach can ask would be:
1. Remember a time in your life that you faced some struggles. What did you do to move forward?
2. How long did it take you to move forward and when you did what was the motivator to help you do so?
3. What did it feel like when you were stuck and how did it serve you to be stuck?
4. What were the tools and strengths you used to move forward?
5. What did it feel like when you moved past your obstacles and found success and how did that feeling serve you?
6. What lessons did you learn from your struggle and subsequent successes?
7. What self-growth occurred during this time?
8. How can you build on those tools and strengths and lessons to persevere whenever you are blocked in your path in life?
This is just a suggestion as a path to helping a client find their “grit.” Really there is no “recipe” in coaching as each client is unique and they are in control of where a session goes. Start the questions and let the client lead the way. Any questions asked may well be answered over several sessions as the client will need time to reflect on each one and have their time for self-discovery. The coach can help the client find the practice of self-reflection that best suits the client. It may be journaling, meditating, quiet walks in nature or any form of quiet time that suits the client best. Asking the client how they have best done self-reflection in the past may help them develop a good practice and help them to find their grit. The coach will support the client through process continually directing them to discover their strength and grit. They will learn to build on their newly discovered strength and take lessons from every experience they have to help them live a purposeful, successful life.
What practice do you have to support your self-reflection? Use that practice to discover your answers to the powerful questions listed above and to discover your “grit.”
Duckwort, Angela Lee. “The Key to Success? Grit.” TED. April 2013. Lecture. http://www.ted.com/talks/angela_lee_duckworth_the_key_to_success_grit?language=en
— “The Significance of Grit: A Conversation with Angela Lee Duckworth.” Interview by Deborah Perkins-Gough. Educational Leadership 71.1. (2013): 14-20. Web. 31 Dec. 2014.
Shriver, Timothy. Fully Alive; Discovering What Matters Most. New York: Sarah Crichton Books, 2014. Print.
The Wizard of Oz Dir. Victor Fleming and King Vidor. MGM 1939