“I believe in being fully present,” Morrie said. “That means you are with the person you’re with…”
—Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie
I have a friend who is going through some emotionally challenging times. I’m not a life coach and don’t pretend to be; however, what can I do to help them when they reach out to me?
Thank you for the wonderful request and question. It is the doorway to a very important discussion that I believe desperately needs some “ring time.” For it seems that in our new world of multi-tasking we are losing sight of the greatest gifts we can give to each other, support, an ear to listen, and our undivided attention.
It is in my opinion that these are the essential tools of any life coach. It is the path to improving almost any job you do that involves interacting with people in any capacity. It is the greatest gift you can give your friends as well as your family. It is the path to connect to the solution of any problem.
It is the skill and the task of “being fully present.”
I drove by a park a couple of weeks back and saw a young father standing near the monkey bars of a playground. His two children were performing and desperately trying to get the father’s attention, while he stared at his smart phone. It was an “aha” moment for me because it seemed to represent a new symptom of a social disease. We are becoming a society that tries to be everywhere and ends up nowhere.
We need to learn the skill of being totally “with the person we are with.”
It is scientifically proven that parents can influence the chemistry of their children through how they behave and speak. “Neuro-Parenting” is a way of parenting that stimulates a child’s healthy neurochemicals. When moms and dads use neuro-parenting tools, this will reduce stress and increase the chemistry that helps children learn easily, behave positively, and enjoy life.
Here is what the child care experts suggest: put everything else aside, stop multitasking, make eye contact with your child, touch your child, and let them feel how important they are to you. Let them know how much you love them. Listen, ask questions, empathize, and engage meaningfully and totally, with your head, heart, and soul.
And so the short answer to your question is this: when you are asked to give emotional support to a friend in need, become “fully present” for them.
Listen to them like you were neuro-parenting. In coaching, they also call this “holding space;” in acting, they call it “being in the moment.” Truly listen to your friend and let them process emotions (tears, laughter, or anger) without responding. Gently support them with your body language. The best answers are already known by the person who has the problem. That is why a good life coach never gives advice; at most, they give tools, they give support, and give focus to the idea that the client can discover their own answers and follow their own advice.
In your daily affairs, practice being fully present to everyone you talk to and everyone you meet. You will begin to experience a new richness to life and become abundantly helpful to family and friends, especially when they are in need.
And as we all step into the ever present challenges in our lives, let us remember, we are all too blessed to be stressed. See you in the next publication. Until then…
Peace and Blessings,
John Schalter is a Life Coach, Practicing Attorney (36 years) and Professional Screenwriter. He is also a musician, songwriter and artist. He does private coaching, but limits his client numbers to 27. If you would like to discuss coaching further and/or get on the waiting list call him at 586-997 HELP (5357). The first consultation is always free!