Learning
Corrina Gordon-Barnes

The uncomfortable truth about personal development work

Learning Corrina Gordon-Barnes

When a client undergoes personal development work, they can find it hard if the people in their lives are not also doing work on their own personal growth. Corrina Gordon-Barnes walks us through a technique to refocus the client on their own empowerment and progress.

Corrina Gordon-Barnes is a Teacher, Coach and Facilitator.

Often when you are working with a client and they are making major changes in their lives, and feeling really proud of these changes, and finally they are living into their vision, and dealing with their sabateurs, and so on, but there is an unintended consequence.

They can come to you and say, “I’m finding it harder to get on with the people around me. I’m feeling like they’re not honouring my values. They’re not doing personal development work. They’re not changing. They’re not growing. They’re not valuing the same things I am. I’m feeling distant from them, disconnected from them, and I’m wanting to feel more connected.”

When we are doing personal development, we want to go and be director. We want to play everyone else’s roles and get them moving and growing and learning.

The first thing to know, as a coach, is that this is a really normal situation. It’s really normal that a client will come to you and say something like this. You can help your client see that this is normal.

Then you can help them step into their full power. This work is not about other people changing. This is about taking full self-responsibility. Whether someone else changes, or engages, is their business. That’s up to them.

Let’s say they come to you and say, “I really want my partner to stop watching so much television and go for more walks, and I want them to get coaching themselves.”

Some powerful questions you can ask your client are:

“Whose live are you living when you want this?”

“If this were a play, whose role are you trying to live here?”

“Whose script are you trying to hold onto?”

When we are doing personal development, we want to go and be director. We want to play everyone else’s roles and get them moving and growing and learning. That is being out of our role.

It’s like when you are at a nativity play and Mary is bossing the shepherds about and moving them into new positions. It is what children do, really beautifully, because they want to be in control. You can help your clients to see: “whose role are you in here? Are you trying to be the director, or are you just living your role?”

Here’s another really powerful thing you help clients to do. Any time they notice they want something else to be doing something – that’s for them to do.

Your role as coach is to keep your client’s eyes coming back to themselves, using anything they judge other people for as fuel for their own self-empowerment.

If the client says, “I want my partner to watch less television,” you as the coach help them to see “that’s your advice for yourself – to watch less television.” Maybe your client replies, “I don’t watch much television.” Ask them what their equivalent is.

For me, I often think my wife is watching too much television. I looked at it as advice for myself, and I don’t watch television but I’m watching personal development videos on YouTube on my laptop and reading lots of books. It’s the same thing. I’m passively watching someone else.

You can help your client to see that whatever they are judging someone else for, or whatever they want someone else to do, they can take that as advice for themselves. They can be empowered by that.

Then they are fully in their own role, fully in their own life, and they come to not care what everyone around them is doing, as they are fully occupied with living their own life.

Your role as coach is to keep your client’s eyes coming back to themselves, using anything they judge other people for as fuel for their own self-empowerment. Whatever you think they should be doing, that’s for you to do!

This piece has minor edits for clarity.

Corrina Gordon-Barnes is a Teacher, Coach and Facilitator.