Awareness is the first step to change.
For me and my coaching clients, awareness and an opportunity to reflect on what we've noticed creates an opportunity to bring change and a willingness to challenge the edge of our skills and capabilities. This challenge for change results in experimentation and growth in what we imagine is possible. These open-mined possibilities allow us to create initially unanticipated and then well-developed changes that bring positive impact in all aspects our lives.
When do I experience awareness that motivates my change?
When I’m asked to:
- Measure experiences,
- Notice how different behaviors create outcomes I prefer or not,
- Connect what might have been disparate sensations/experiences.
For example my Masters Swim coach, Barbara, creates awareness through breathing exercises, stroke counting and cadence metronomes. An hour’s workout might encourage us to experiment with different breathing patterns, increasing and/or decreasing our normal stroke count per lap, and/or varying our cadence with the use of a metronome hidden in our swim cap. Barbara gives us a process for creating awareness and then asks to notice what we experience. What keeps us aerobic? Under what conditions do we become anaerobic? What cadence is easy? A challenge? Why? Because of the depth of experimentation and awareness through noticing in a non-judgmental environment, I’ve created a flexibility with what kind of experience I create for myself in the pool. It’s fun and translates to other sports and my life in general.
I also work with two talented pilates instructors. They see beneath their client’s skin, and provide cuing for balanced body awareness. Because of some old injuries, I have patterns of adaptation to structural imbalances. By providing exercises that give me the opportunity to recognize my tension patterns, they support my awareness of movement patterns outside of the studio. So, I’m able to extend the lessons to everything I do that challenges my posture, tensegrity, breathing, and balance, e.g. cycling, swimming, skiing, running, gardening, preparing food, working at my sitting and standing desks, and even how I sleep. Being aware means that I recognize imbalance before it becomes tension.
As a business and life coach, I support my client’s awareness about the change they are seeking by asking open, resonant, salient questions, by sharing cues, and/or by modeling behavior that they are seeking to incorporate in their lives.
The next step in the cycle of change is to reflect on and verbalize what we've noticed about our experiences. Personally, I always get a deeper and more actionable result when I reflect with one of my coaching colleagues or through journal writing.
Lastly, it's time to make behavioral modifications, and this is the the challenge to change! As a coach, I support my clients to use the experiential learning cycle throughout their life as a meaningful model for change.
What awareness would motivate you towards change?
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