Can we stop pretending now…?
So, it’s been kind of quiet on my blog lately. That’s because I’ve been looking after some health stuff that’s been going on.
As well as hearing loss I also have several chronic health conditions – endometriosis and chronic pain being just two of them. Sometimes they all seem to gang up on me and attack me all at once. And this summer has been one of those times!
I’ve had to pull out of some events where I was speaking or exhibiting. I hated that because I really don’t like letting people down. But I just couldn’t be certain that I’d be physically able to get there.
I also reduced my coaching and stopped taking on new clients. Which, looking back was unnecessary. You see, I had fallen into the same trap as many of my clients.
What’s the ideal?
I had in my head an idealised picture of how a coach should look and behave. And it certainly wasn’t like death warmed up, which is how I’ve been feeling. I mean, who wants to be coached by someone who is in so much pain they have to take their video coaching calls propped up in bed, or is dressed in their comfy clothes because tight clothes hurt too much? You’d want your coach to be smartly-dressed and sitting in an office, right?
It turns out that clients value a coach for their empathy, their compassion and their motivational skills rather than whether they’re wearing a suit or sitting at a desk to take a video call. And if I have to provide coaching propped up against pillows so I can provide the best coaching possible, then that’s fine.
What’s the alternative?
My idealised mental image of what a coach should be unnecessarily paralysed me from being able to do my job.
And I know that our hearing loss can have the same impact.
Hands up how many of us have thought “I can’t do that” at work, due to our hearing loss. I know I did, back when I first lost my hearing. Because I couldn’t do something in the conventional way I figured I couldn’t do it at all:
I can’t manage a country-wide team because I can’t cope with conference calls
I can’t do networking because I can’t hear in noisy environments
I can’t speak at that conference because I won’t be able to catch questions I’m asked.
Sound familiar? It’s simply not true.
So, let’s ask ourselves “what’s the alternative?”. How can we do things differently but still do our jobs effectively?
Here are some ways:
I CAN manage a country-wide team if I use remote live captioning, or video conferencing
I CAN network if I meet people 1-2-1 in quiet environments
I CAN speak at that conference if I ask someone to lipspeak the questions to me or the delegates use a microphone.
You see what I did there? How might that approach work for you?
And yes, I CAN coach people to manage their hearing loss sitting on the sofa, just as well as if I was sitting at a desk.
So my coaching doors are back open! If you’re interested in finding out more about how I can help you work well with hearing loss, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org