April 25, 2005

Why your friends eventually get tired of hearing your story

I'll be direct, okay?

My goal here is not to show lack of respect for any friendship or natural support network you have.

These are important but often not enough.

Why is that? Because a friend is not a professional coach or a therapist.

In fact a friend has often many worries and other priorities in his own life.

When you face a challenge, it is normal for a friend to offer support for a while. He will take you out or invite you for dinner, listen to your story and try to help as well as possible.

The truth is that your friend is not a break up expert.

He imporovises answers to the challenges you face hoping that his words will have an empowering impact on you.

They hope that this will be enough.

I have many friends and many of them did break up in the past.

When one of my friends breaks up, I say:

"Do you want me to help you as a friend or as a coach"

If he says he wants help as a friend, I get actually very frustrated. I get frustrated because I see a massive difference between professional coaching and helping someone as a friend.

As a friend, I get frustrated because I have only a fraction of the tools I have as a coach.

As a friend, I can't be that direct, I can' use tools, strategies, models, tactics and a whole range of approaches available within the coaching space.

As a friend, I sit down, listen and ask a few questions. In most cases, months or sometimes even years later, my friend's story is often still the same. I meet this guy who broke up 2 or 3 years ago and he will say things which show me straight away that he did not recover his power. In fact, he still talks as if he was in the middle of his break up.

As a professional coach, it is a different story.

Why? Because you hire me for my expertise.

You don't hire me to reinforce your pain and tell you, that you are right.

You hire me because you want to shift from where you are to where you know you could be.

I have this experince because I "travelled" the break up recovery path with many men like you.

I had of course my own share of life experiences as well, but these experiences alone are only a small fraction of my expertise.

I know the pitfalls, the areas where you can get stacked or need a significant power boost.

I become an agent of your evolution and help you with that.

I won't take the steps for you but I do walk the path with you, side by side.

This is the type of support I am committed to offer every single time you sign in for coaching.

I coach because I care.

I still practice this as a professional because for coaching to work we both need to invest ourselves in it.

This is what a friend can't do after a while. A friend will simply run out of ideas and energy.

He can offer you moral support in the earcly stages but after that, his social life is geared on fun, lightness and excitement. Your break up can only be the center of attention for so long. After a while, everyone wants to move on, specially if they don't see a change.

Here is another trap: negative attention.

When you are in a break up situation, this is what you get. Sometimes, it is real compassion.

Many times, it is only pitty.

Pitty is not very useful in helping you get your power back.

In fact it does exactly the opposite.

It reinforces your position as a victim.

The truth is that many people do feed themselves from altruistic attitudes.

The moment you start feeling great they almost look disapointed because they actually get something out of seeing you low.

I know that I am very direct here but this is the truth. It is not the case for everyone of course but the "negative attention" model is the core of many people's lives.

In fact, deep inside they don't want you to solve this challenge because seeing you in trouble reinforces the idea that they are actually doing great.

I know. We, coaches tend sometimes to fall in that category as well: "look how good we are...", "Look how happy I am...", etc. (I am working on that one! Remind me if I ever put you down in any way, okay? :-))

It is good however to move beyond the victim role as soon as possible.

You want to be a winner. You are no victim.

I won't give you pitty or negative attention. What I want to give you are strategies, tactics, power and tools to win this challenge.

This is the difference between being a coach and being a friend.

So, what hat do you want me to wear? (hope you got the message and say the coach's one :-))


Take care and get in touch