Ever go to the circus and see the jugglers or clowns doing multiple tricks at once? He’s juggling 4-5 balls while riding a unicycle and probably balancing something on this head. Impressive, right? Sometimes life seems that way, except we may not feel as competent as that juggler.
We all desire balance in life, a feeling of contentment that makes the daily routine feel in alignment. It makes us feel like we can do this and everything is just enough. No one aspect in life should be more than we can handle or our balance is thrown off. This is what balance coaching strives for, that feeling of being able to take each day in stride, action after action.
What is Balance Coaching?
Balance coaching is not about everything being the same amount, but everything being where it should be. It’s about making sure the machine is well oiled, in action, moving correctly, and that all the parts are maintained. Since every person is different, each coachee or coaching partner’s balance will look different. Coaches work to find out their coaching partner’s balance by asking and assessing in conversation.
Some people hunger for action; action needs to hold more of their lives than inaction. Others want more family time and less work. Their balance looks different than a person who is independent and always moving. Each of us puts a different weight on various parts of our lives. It’s finding that weight, that balance for each area, that makes balance coaching work.
The Daily Juggle
If we want balance in our lives, we can’t just make it a future goal. It starts now. It’s the daily juggle that brings balance to our lives, not some distant goal. Of course, goals are great and we strive for them too! But it’s the here and now that we start with when finding balance.
Many times, a coaching partner feels stuck, in a pattern or within a limitation they can’t shake. Coaches help create new perspectives to let their coaching partner see past those limitations, creating the ability to do this for other situations as well. This new perspective may help coaching partners set things in motion. They can see past the struggle and break free, creating new possibilities. Things look better and balance is brought back to the moment.
Perception is Reality
The way we see the world is the way we think the world is. Yes, that sounds redundant, but it’s true. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘perception is reality.’ Imagine a person so convinced that their boss is out to sabotage their every project. That person is set up for failure and will blame everything on the boss. Imagine a person so bright and cheerful, someone who sees the world through rosy glasses. This person will always find a bright spot in the bleakest of moments. Each believes their views to be true and each lives according to those perceptions.
A coach’s job is to help coaching partners find a perception that works for them according to their balance needs. We do this often through metaphors. When a coaching partner is stuck in a rut, we find a perception that works to help them climb their own way out. Perhaps this person loves canoeing. The coach asks the coaching partner to describe how the situation feels, then asks for a new way of looking at it. The coaching partner uses a metaphor of being in a canoe without a paddle. The coach asks how else could the canoe move. This leads the coaching partner to think up new solutions. Using the power of balance coaching, the coaching partner is led to new views that align with their desired balance.
Choose Your Views
We can choose to look at life bleakly or we can choose to look at life joyfully. Most people are somewhere in the middle but it’s not just a linear path. We have a choice of how to see each situation in our lives. It’s when we get stuck on one view that we need to remember there are other perspectives. If a juggler only thinks of how difficult it is to move one ball around over and over again, he will eventually drop them all. Instead, he finds balance, flow, and let’s the action happen around him easily.
Coaches help their coaching partners find the views that align with their personal balance. Using this, the coaching partner is likely to find the perspective needed to drive them forward. This enhances motivation and ‘feels right’ to the coaching partner, allowing more choices which leads to more solutions. The decision to see things differently, a way that works best for you, is a powerful decision. Sticking with that decision gives it even more power.
The juggler can’t just toss the balls up and walk away. There’s no entertainment in that. A busy parent isn’t expected to just up and leave the kids. A manager isn’t expected to walk out on a job especially with success right around the corner. The most successful people commit. Coaches empower coaching partners by guiding them into solutions they themselves create, then holding them accountable. This is perhaps the most driving part of success: commitment.
Once the coaching partner has found the perspective he or she needs for a balanced view on the situation, a commitment must be made. When the views and solutions are created by the coaching partner, commitment feels more natural. Always, the coach asks the coaching partner if he or she will commit to this task. The coach will follow up on this, which drives the coaching partner to complete the items even more. A person naturally wants to live up to one’s words and ideas.
Balance in Action
Coaches and coaching partners do so much together, but the real action happens outside the sessions. The coaching partners put into action the plans and commitments they created, knowing their coach will check in on them. If the coaching partner comes off balance again, the process will repeat. This continues until the coaching partner has found their balance more comfortably. Balance is a daily action. With each moment, new actions happen and new information is taken in. When one has good balance, this is all taken in stride and the juggle is natural, seamless, and enjoyable.