Ep 71 – Are You A Highly Sensitive Coach?

I bet that by now you are longing for a haircut, dying for a latte or something like that and just really missing hugging your friends and family. We’re still in weird time on pandemic Earth right now.

Last week I didn’t post an episode. It’s the first time in 18 months of podcasting that I’ve skipped airing an episode except for Christmas Day.

And the last two weeks when I sat down to focus on my podcast I’ve been blank. Sure, I’ve felt a bit blank before when I sit down to create. I’ll take a walk and come back with a burst of creativity.

But this blankness has gone on for weeks. My pre-recorded, pre-published episodes have caught up with me.

Finally I realized that I’m deep in grief. At times of grief, business as usual doesn’t feel right. And there’s no bandwidth for generative thought.

I spoke to a past client of mine. (I’ve been reaching out to lots of people I haven’t been in touch with lately.) She encouraged me to share on the podcast what’s going on. Thanks, Kate. That was brilliant advice.

A Heavy Energetic Load

I’m an empath, which means I sense the mental or emotional states of others.

Usually, I sense other people’s energetic states and it’s a slow trickle — totally manageable. In fact, it’s useful to have this skill as a coach, as a human being. And I’ve learned tools to protect myself and release energy that isn’t mine.

But during this pandemic, sadness, grief, fear and anxiety have come rolling in tsunami waves. I wake up feeling as if I’m under water. It’s taking much more self care to rise above it. And daily self-care is a normal priority for me.

It’s amazing to realize that perhaps for the first time in human history, the whole world is feeling sadness, grief, fear and anxiety all at the same time. That’s a heavy load.

So why am I telling you this? I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. Sensitivity is a super power. Especially when used for self healing and doing good.

And that’s what this episode is about … being highly sensitive as a coach.

Not Fragile But Uniquely Capable

If you don’t identify as highly sensitive, consider listening to this short episode anyway because a significant percentage of human beings are highly sensitive and you might learn something new.

In 1997 Dr. Elaine Aron, wrote The Highly Sensitive Person. That was the year that I graduated from coach training. I remember reading it and feeling a deep sense of relief to finally be seen and heard in a different way.

Labeled as fragile much of my life, now I was able to reframe that as strong and uniquely capable.

Intensity Increases Sensitivity

For me, sensitivity is my nature. I was born with it.

I have early memories of being in my crib with the door shut to my room and being able to track each of my family members energetically, no matter where they were. And if they were in distress, I’d feel it in my body and dissociate from my body to go to them.

I was an unusual kid. And my parents really had no idea how to deal with me.

Holidays were particularly difficult because of the heightened energy – anticipation, elation, frustration, disappointment, and exhaustion. The camera would come out and I’d be crying while everyone else was smiling or faking a smile.

I became camera shy, associating trauma with cameras so there are few photos of me growing up.

The Field of Coaching Attracts Highly Sensitive People

According to Dr. Aron, approximately 20% of the population is highly sensitive. I suspect that number has climbed as population swells, as we move faster, eat less nutritious food, swim in a non-stop field of EMFs elevated by Wi-Fi.

I have a theory going that many highly sensitive people are drawn to coaching. I seem to attract clients – all coaches — who are highly sensitive. We recognize and understand each other.

What about you? Have you ever felt you were sensitive?

It comes in many forms. Some people are emotionally sensitive. Some are physically sensitive. Some are energetically sensitive which affects the emotional and physical body. And there are sub-categories within each of those.

Sensitivity is an Asset for Coaches

Did you know that being highly sensitive can be an asset in coaching?

Here are some of the ways I’ve found it to be valuable:

  • I can read a room in a small group even online in a training or mastermind.
  • I can sense subtle cues that help me choose a direction for coaching and mentoring.
  • Certain words and phrases clients say float into the air with emphasis.
  • What isn’t said is as clear to me as what is said.
  • My intuition is a reliable guidance system.
  • I can sense when I’ve given away my power and quickly correct that.
  • I can sense when my client’s have given away their power and gently notice it.

My guess is that hearing this you’ll realize you have some or all of these abilities as well. And by raising awareness you can fine-tune them.

But here’s a caveat, being sensitive doesn’t mean you’re infallible.

I’m not always right. Sometimes I sense something and think it’s one thing when it’s something else. So it’s important not to assume. If I detect something and I think it’s important, asking an open-ended question is always the best way to check in.

So that’s it for now. I’m switching to doing mini-episodes for the next few weeks and I may also replay favorites. One thing about podcasting is that there’s always gold in past episodes that many people miss if they don’t go back to binge listen.

Stay well, stay sane and keep doing whatever you can to let your target audience know your services exist.

In the Next Episode: Are You Stuck in the New Coach Swirl and Spin?