Stoking Interpersonal Synergy
Life coaching works for lots of reasons. Certainly, focusing on setting goals, staying true to them, being accountable for them and providing feedback to others during the process of pursuing them are all parts of it. There are many other elements of it, too—like, becoming a better listener, leading despite adversity and having clear vision for the resources needed to attain a goal.
One of the most important components of life coaching, however, can’t be described in terms of a deliverable like those listed above. And that component is the immeasurable power that comes from the synergy between two people (the coach and client) focusing together on the goals of just one of them (the client). In every successful coaching relationship, the energy, vision and results that come from the two individuals involved isn’t 1 + 1. It’s more like 1 x 10. Like nuclear fusion. No kidding.
Why is there exponential energy released via a coaching relationship? I think the reason is that other forces are deployed when someone truly understands the life story and the goals of another. These include the confidence and reassurance related to the client being part of a team and, therefore, having confidence that his or her ideas have been vetted by a trusted ally. They include the certain knowledge that the results of the client’s actions won’t be his or hers alone to interpret and respond to. They also include the momentum toward goals that is unleashed by batting ideas back and forth, looking for the very best of them.
It’s probably not a bad thing that neither the client nor the coach wants to disappoint the other by not “showing up”—intellectually, emotionally or creatively. Life coaching encourages each person bringing his or her “A game” to discussions, meetings, emails, texts and—well—to life plans.
Trying to quantify “synergy” as a deliverable of life coaching is difficult. But people know it when they experience it. Having an ally, like feeling the wind at one’s back, isn’t mistaken for anything else.
Here’s a decent analogy: If you wanted to run your best marathon, would you welcome someone at your side motivating you, identifying whole new reservoirs of energy inside you and checking in on your performance? Who wouldn’t? And, yes, describing why it worked might well remain a wonderful mystery.
Dr. Keith Ablow