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Coach in a Jam 1

Posted by Impronta on September 11, 2012

Coaching is great, it is inspiring, and it doesn't always go according to plan!

Some years ago, soon after I had trained in hypnosis,  I was keen to try the technique with a client who wanted to visualise a positive future in her working life. I had written a script based on a ‘future self’ visualisation from Co-Active Coaching by Laura Whitworth et al, using language and triggers geared to my client’s experience. I am ashamed to admit I thought it was pretty damn cool.

Sinead had the last slot of the day, after work.  All went well as she lay back in an armchair in my studio, facing slightly away from me.  I put on a tape with the sounds of the seaside. We started with deep breathing, relaxing of individual muscles, letting go of ‘stuff’ on her mind. I let go of my stuff too. All good. I asked her to raise and lower her hand when she was ready for me to begin. She did.

I have been told I have a ‘great voice for radio’, so I started off with my script, modulating my voice to fit the mood. Soon, Sinead’s eyelids were flickering, a sign that she was in a trance. I went on…

I was about two-thirds of the way through the visualisation, at a point when Sinead was supposed to ask her future self for some advice on what actions she should take to get to this place in her future. I paused for her to hear the advice and let it sink in.

But what was that? That low grumbling sound, like a tube train passing underneath the building? But there was no underground line nearby. I crossed over to the window. No, there were no gardeners moseying around with a lawnmower or wrestling with one of those useless leaf blowers. I crept up and leant round the chair. My client had not been listening to my great voice for radio or my cool visualisation, nor was she any longer in a hypnotic trance.  She was deeply asleep and snoring.

I felt (mostly) that it was a compliment that she could fall asleep in my presence.  What to do though? Wake her up? Didn’t seem fair. She worked so hard. Let her sleep?  But she was paying for my time. Moreover, my next client would be arriving quite soon.

I went to the kitchen and made a cup of tea, humming and crashing around a bit with cups, teaspoons and the fridge door. I peeked back into the studio.  The snoring was now a regular buzzing and Sinead had turned on to her side, her head cushioned on her hand. Dusk had fallen. OK, so she was here for the night. I resisted the urge to tuck a teddy bear under her arm. Instead, I hunched down beside her, touched her wrist and called her name very softly.

With one bound she was out of the chair, and I was pitched sideways on to the floor in comic slow motion.   ‘Oh hell’, she said, ‘is it my turn to make the tea, darling?’

Names have been changed to protect snorers everywhere.

Edwina Biucchi, edwina.biucchi@impronta.co.uk