I fell prey to BAD COACHING this week.

The worst kind (in my opinion) which is coaching without permission.

I won’t go into the details of what happened but…

This coach wasn’t interested in exploring how things look to me; rather, he focused on telling me what he thought I needed to see.

In all fairness, he asked me a few times for permission to share his experience, prefacing it with, “This might sound more harsh that it’s meant. You can tell me to stop at any point.”

I could have said no, and I didn’t.

I took it as an opportunity to continue my exploration of DEEP LISTENING, to listen to someone who was challenging to hear, and see what happens.

It was difficult, let me tell you!

I went in and out of presence and listening. 

It felt like he was intruding into my space. The heat of anger rose within me. 

Rather than express it, I kept opening, attempting to really listen to HIM, not his words, but his being.

I didn’t do a very good job of it.

About 30 minutes into this mostly one-way conversation, I finally said something.

“My experience right now is a feeling of agenda. You’re challenging me without being invited, and my resistance is coming up. I’d like to open, but I need space, not pushing, to do it.”

Surprisingly, he received my words and thanked me for them. 

From that point, I felt the connection I’d been looking for. 

I saw this man, his ego, the agenda of his message, the good intentions, the misunderstanding, his loneliness, his own desire to be seen.

Now, I’m not going to interact with this guy again, but I am grateful for the experience.

Here’s what I noticed:

I thought that “deep listening” meant receiving EVERYTHING from someone, setting aside my own judgements and assumptions, and opening to them.

What I’m seeing now is that deep listening only happens with another when I’m also listening to myself.

Throughout the first half of my conversation, I was NOT listening to my body saying this was not okay for me.

Of course, I couldn’t connect and listen to him! 

Not until I was connecting and receiving myself.

The moment I did, I connected to the beauty of him, despite our disagreement. Only then could I really be with him.

I thought love meant receiving someone without question, opening myself to their words and really hearing them; but real love, like real listening, requires honoring and listening to my own experience.

Love doesn’t always look like a hug and a listening ear. 

Love knows when to say no and walk away.

Embarrassing as it feels to acknowledge that it’s taking me so long to get this, I’m sharing it anyway, in case it might be useful to someone else. 

What do you think?

Yours in creative play,

Steph