mindBODYBEAUTY|September 5, 2012 8:45 am

Life Coaching: A Boy’s Struggle Into a Man’s Passion

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The process of life coaching helps clients make decisions and overcome obstacles enabling them to achieve their goals and maximize their potential.  As with other types of coaching or counseling,  for example working with addicts in a rehab situation, it is essential to let the client know that you can relate to their issues, empathize with their circumstance, and understand their concerns, feelings, and challenges.  A life coach must show evidence of knowledge and skill in the management of his or her personal life.

In addition to being a life coach, I’m also a personal trainer.  If I were thirty pounds overweight and unhealthy, my clients wouldn’t follow my example or come for training services.  So it is with life coaching.  My special interest as a life coach is working with children and parents.  To succeed with them, I must model good parenting skills with my sons and be open to sharing my own experiences, challenges, failures, and successes.

As a child, I suffered with a severe speech impediment, stuttering.  My words came out broken and chopped, and I felt people thought I was unintelligent and a freak.  My childhood, especially in school, was miserable.  The handicap made it impossible to express myself or to raise my hand to answer questions.  I avoided the issue by hiding in the bathroom or faking illness.  Children preyed on my deficiencies, laughing at my struggle and adding to my burden.

Thoughts of suicide presented a potential solution to my problems, but I lacked the guts to follow through.  I also lacked the courage to discuss my distress with my parents or my few friends.  I felt my macho dad and my mother wouldn’t understand and my friends would disassociate themselves from me.  Tears stream down my face as I write these words, partly because I am remembering, but also I am empathizing with other children with challenges.  Perhaps they need help in dealing with bullies or need to find a way to tell their parents they are gay.  These are real children with real issues.

In addition to a few close friends, I always managed to have a girlfriend.  I developed a decent sense of humor to deflect and combat the daily ridicule.  In retrospect, I realize some of the problem was my perception, but it all felt real to me.  I fought back, directing Don Rickles type humor at my tormentors.  I lost most of the battles, but the few I won kept me in the game.  My disability is the biggest hindrance in my life, affecting my relationships, education, and career choices.  But, there are positives as well.

I developed a good sense of empathy, sympathy, and sensitivity towards the quiet suffering of other children.  Those qualities not only affected my relationships with others, but provided a focal point when teaching my boys not to laugh or bully and to help another child.  My sense of humor helps me in difficult situations and makes it easier to create friendships and relationships.  I learned to control my stutter and to focus more on the positive things that make me an amazing person.  It still alters some of my decisions, but doesn’t beat me, and I’m a better person because of it.

I grew through my past to get to my present and build to my future.  It is why I’m a good dad, and why I can recognize and connect to a child suffering in silence, relating in a way that can make a breakthrough and improve their life . . . through coaching.

To contact Dave Sherman his email is gpslifecoaching@hotmail.com

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