Contracting with 2018
Updated: Apr 22, 2018
We are approaching to a new year and as almost became a post-modern custom we take this time to reflect on last year and make commitments for the coming year. Personally reflecting on my accomplishments, misses, failed attempts or things I failed to attempt I realized how much our new year resolutions are similar to the contracting process we do as coaches, mentors and supervisors. Only, this time the contracting is by ourselves and with ourselves.
At the start of my coaching practice I had challenges in balancing my aspiration to demonstrate compassion to my clients, i.e. to help and being patient towards them in achieving results, i.e. to enable. Contracting, together with code of ethics, was a platform where I found the answer in achieving this balance. Clarifying your mind and hearth as a coach from the external influences, your previous experiences, your successes as well as failures is the key in enabling the right space both for the coach and more so for the coachee to reflect, challenge, and be challenged for a mutual learning to emerge. Needles to stay this is easier said than done! The interferences mentioned are unexpected, sometimes unknown and can come from anywhere and almost in a multi-dimensional manner. This creates a challenge to establish a contract purely based on the true purpose of the coach aligned with his/her values in isolation from others’ pressures, our fears and worries. As echoes of other relations exist; it is not wise to ignore the possibility that there are contracts within contracts. Growing the discipline of ensuring that there is a good enough contract at the start and then revisiting it continuously to check if it is evolving and how it is evolving may help us to peel these layers of contracts. Understanding and respecting the need if it is changed; weather we are deviated because we feared to go out of our comfort zones or that we in fact found new meanings in changing our targets. This demands the coach to confident, compassionate and competent enough to be agile, resilient and resourceful during the process to create the right space for the coachee to have the courage to revisit his/her purpose and commitment in achieving it. Such a space requires a strong rapport built as the relationship grows. Or as Lapwort and Sills (1993) puts, it requires a “bounded instability” where both support and challenge co-exist to allow ultimate purpose to emerge.
As I observe people make plans and promises for 2018 and as I reflect on mine, it downed on me that making new year lists which are mostly repeated from previous years and not achieving them mostly can be a contracting issue. First question I ask to myself is that; “Are these items in our lists connected to our true purpose and values? Followed by; “Are we paying to attention to what’s is happening or what has to happen? Are our lists connected to who we are and who we want to become or who we think we should be? And lastly; Do we have our own place for that bounded instability to dare to articulate our true purpose leading into our new year’s wish list? Are we freeing ourselves to make choices out of love but not out of fear?”
I wish a year that dares and encourages us to be the better versions of ourselves more of the time.