I am often asked why coaching? And why coaching to overcome pain? So in this blog, I’ll tell you why coaching has become the main way in which I help people to ease their suffering and overcome their pain, blending the latest understanding of pain with strengths-based coaching. I haven’t looked back since.
I knew that I wanted to get the best out of each individual, encouraging them to reach their potential, to make a real difference. Just helping people understand pain and providing exercises was not yielding results that deep down I knew could be achieved. There was something missing; something vital.
Why coaching? ~ getting the best from individuals
For many years I coached youngsters to play cricket. It occurred to me that what I most enjoyed was seeing how the individual’s approach to the game impacted upon his or her performance. This is the same when we want to overcome a challenge in life. Understanding our existing approach enables us to see what is working and what is limiting us. When it comes to pain, this same understanding is the key.
Usually someone comes to see me for help because they are desperate or inspired. Often it begins as the former and we seek to shift to the latter as they learn how their pain story has emerged and persisted before realising that there is much they can decide to do. Notice the word ‘decide’, which is so potent and arguably one of our greatest powers.
As much as we need to gain a good grasp on this, we also need to know why the person has not got better when we are designed to do so in the name of survival. We are survival machines are arguably spending too much time in such a state, or a state of protect.
Why has this person NOT got better?
In a sense we all need a great coach in our lives. Coaches and coaching come in many different forms. As parents we are coaches, as co-workers we are coaches, as friends we are coaches, and of course as a sports coach you are a coach. It matters not the arena, just the fact that you want to encourage another person to perform in their best way whilst shedding limiting factors, and moving onward as they grow and develop. These are one of a handful of basic human needs without which we suffer.
Coaching is results driven but is not only about focusing on the prize. To focus on the prize or just the result is to try to control the uncontrollable. The result does not yet exist except in mind. Too much attention here means the necessary step right now can be missed. Accepting where you are right now is a must. To want to be somewhere else is another major cause of human suffering.
The purpose of a coaching programme is for the client or patient or coachee to achieve their picture of success. However, along the way there are the little wins together with the bumps in the road. Wins and bumps are both are learning opportunities that allow growth and a reorientation towards the picture that offers a direction and a motivating force.
A pause for thought: can you think of someone who has coached you and made a difference to your approach to life? This will be a concrete example of why coaching has worked for you.
One way to think about coaching is that it gives the person the know-how. They have a toolbox of exercises, strategies and practices, but they must know how to use them with effect in their own world, not just in the clinic. I say to my patients, My wife could buy me the best drill in the world and ask me to hang some pictures, but I still make massive holes in the wall because I lack drill know-how. Self-coaching, as we coach others to become their own coaches because they are with themselves all, well most, of the time. I say this only in partial jest because how often are we not there as our minds drift off? To be present is one of the key skills that we practice in the Pain Coach Programme.
A Pain Coach ~ a few key characteristics: highly motivated to take action to ease the suffering of others, self-compassion, compassion, a huge desire for learning, a deep listener, appreciate kaizen and the beginner’s mind, and enjoy rock music (optional).
Self-coaching each moment is about being in touch with reality, being present, being compassionate (especially to self) and encouraging myself to take (positive) actions towards my picture of success. I ask: what are my needs right now and how can I best meet them in a kind and healthy manner? This is quite a skill when many are self-critical and we live in an age that promotes self above others and the planet. On this, I see increasing numbers of people who suffer pain problems that began as a mismatch of values (more of that at a later date).
The Pain Coach: coaching others to self-coach to overcome pain
To coach others is a privilege as well as a way of being. For the many, many people suffering pain they need to know both that they can make changes when they decide to do so, and that there are people (us, the clinicians!) who exist to encourage them and support such changes. They are not changing who they are, just their approach to pain by understanding what we really know about pain and using practices and exercises to gain momentum in a chosen direction using their know-how and self-coaching.
This is why coaching for me is best job in the world! We coach ourselves and we coach others to coach themselves. We witness growth, the building of wellness, the realisation of sustained happiness and joy and get to share in it all!
Interested in Pain Coaching to make a difference and get the best of you and your patients? Workshops by request, please call us on 07518 445493 or see here for current dates: Chicago, London, Preston