I was recently asked if I would coach a friend. The answer to that is, "Yes...but, only if they're willing to lose the friendship." The response across the table was one of shock that was mixed with a bit of disbelief and, "That seems extreme."
It is...but, here's why: even with your deep friendships you're not getting to where you want to go - because that's not their job, it's yours. If I switch roles and become your coach you've given me the permission slip to say what I wouldn't have otherwise said at happy hour. Being honest as your coach means I have nothing to lose, you're actually paying for the clarity. But as a friend, I might have everything to lose should I offend you. It's about managing expectations. The tightrope of tenderness isn't violated in the coaching relationship but it is challenged. Without tension how are you going to walk across to the other side? Our friends have good intentions but they are going through their process and will only toe the line with you in as much as they are willing to be toed (which by the way may or may not be a real word).
This isn't about having an accountability partner (as some friends are) this is about you inviting someone to assist your (let me emphasize YOUR) process. There is a difference.
Another friend asked, "So, do you have a coach?" And I responded (after laughing) I have a coach, a therapist, an acupuncturist, a chiropractor and reflexologist. In other words, it's takes a village." A recent Instagram post said, "Yes, I'm high maintenance but that's okay because I maintain myself." Ha! So good. So true. So expensive.
This phase in my life has been met with challenges I never anticipated but it has also given me a tribe of women and men that are my lifeline - I reach out for energy and support but don't put the responsibility of my personal growth on them. In fact, only one friend has an all-access pass. Meaning, if she attended any of the above appointments - nothing would come as a surprise. My friendships, like partnerships are equal give and take, ebb and flow, taking and giving. They aren't experts, they are support systems (incredible ones - because they too are doing their own work).
Asking someone to assist your process is brave - scary - awesome - enlightening - WORK. As a coach, I don't take that invitation lightly. It causes me to pause and say, "Are you willing to lose the friendship, because I am willing to if it means getting you over to the other side."
Are you following me?
Give your friends, spouses, children, employers and dog a break. Start to invite the right ones into your good, bad, ugly and interesting process. In other words, "Leave it to the professionals!" and return to your relationships with renewed strength and energy.
Maybe Rumi said it better...