It sounds odd, right? Why would pain have any connection to coaching?
There are a number of definitions for the word pain. For our purpose, let us consider the Old French verb pener, which means “to strive for or endeavor.”
At its most basic purpose, pain is an indicator—a messenger, if you will—from the body to the brain. It’s uncomfortable. It hurts. So we tend to shy away from it. We want to ignore it, downplay it, medicate against it, and in every way try to block the message.
But consider what would happen if we embraced pain. If we listened to what pain was trying to tell us. What if we heard a message that shouted, “Strive! Endeavor!”
I recently met with a client who was about to embark on a huge project. As we discussed the outcomes and the mechanics of delivery, she became increasingly quiet. When I asked her what was going on for her, she said, “I’m in pain. My neck hurts and I’m really uncomfortable.”
Then I asked, “What message do you think your body is trying to send?” and she had a realization. The upcoming work would require new skills, lots of effort, and longer hours—perhaps, in the short term, involving evenings and weekends. Once we pinned down what was making her so uncomfortable, we were able to focus on how to address these issues. She put a plan in place to ensure she had backup and support, especially in the areas where she felt she wasn’t strong. We also looked for ways to alleviate at least some of the long hours such as dividing up some work, offloading other work, and moving back deadlines that were less critical.
By exploring the underpinning reasons for the pain, she was able to shift into a place of excitement. She was ready to strive. She became excited about the project and ready to endeavor, stretch, and grow.
Pain is a message. It is your body clamoring to be heard. When you listen, you can discover so much more than if you ignore it. What are your pain points? What is your body trying to tell you?
About the Author
Patricia Overland is a Coaching Solutions Partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Coaching Services team. Since 2000, Blanchard’s 130 coaches have worked with over 14,500 individuals in more than 250 companies throughout the world. Learn more at Blanchard Coaching Services. And check out Coaching Tuesday every week at Blanchard LeaderChat for ideas, research, and inspirations from the world of executive coaching.