Coaching: Support Beyond Friendship. Conversation With a Past Client

by | Oct 6, 2020 | Interviews With Past Clients | 0 comments

I’m here with my past client, Lauren. And I’m so excited because not only did we work together in the coaching environment, but also, long before I started my coaching practice, she attended one of my yoga workshops for teens. So we go way back. 

Dealing With Friend Drama

Erica (life coach):
That yoga class was back when you were in middle school, right, Lauren? And then we started working together at the end of your sophomore year of high school in June 2017, right before summer. At that time, your goals were to feel better about yourself. And you really wanted to learn how to appreciate yourself more, which I think is so wise. 

I was looking back in my notes and I came across this goal that you shared in our first meeting. It really was wisdom beyond your years to recognize the value in self-appreciation. And then you also wanted to work on procrastination, because it was starting to get in the way of your academics, and you wanted to learn some strategies to minimize that. 

Would you be willing to share a little bit about what was going on for you when we reconnected in the coaching environment? What do you remember about those first meetings and the challenges that brought you to me?

Lauren (former client):
At the end of my sophomore year, I was kind of looking back at my year, and I saw my grades weren’t exactly where I wanted them to be. I saw a lot of that came from procrastination or focusing or different assignments, or readings in English classes that I just never bothered to do. You know, little things like that. Going into the dreaded junior year, it was a lot of pressure on me to do better academically, so I could get into college. I wasn’t taking as many AP courses, as a lot of my friends were. And I think that was kind of hurting my self-esteem a little bit. I was comparing myself to these people taking all these AP classes. I think I left high school completing one AP course total. 

I also had a bunch of friend drama going on. I had friends at two different high schools, and things weren’t going great. Or there were problems between those friends who I’d known for much longer and newer friends that I met more recently. And all of that coming together, I just wasn’t happy. I was feeling so bad about myself. And I didn’t want to talk to my friends about any of it, because they were turning on each other. And there was no one that I felt like I could really, really talk to.

Who To Talk To If Not Friends?

That’s so common. You know, I appreciate you sharing that. Because I think a lot of times parents might think: “My teen doesn’t really want to talk to me, because teenagers just don’t want to talk to their parents. But they have a lot of good friends and they’re going to talk to their friends.” But you raise such an important point about an obstacle that so many teen girls face.  Sometimes it’s not comfortable or safe to open up to your friends about some of the stuff that you’re struggling with. Sometimes it’s a fear that they’re not going to keep your secrets and confidence. I think there’s so much awareness in you recognizing that you do need to talk to somebody, but your friends aren’t going to be the best support. 

One of my closest friends at that time was also struggling a bit with her own problems. It was the first time in five or six years of our friendship that she was having problems with some of my other friends. The one person that I knew I could always talk to was suddenly off the limit. I didn’t want to burden her even more with my problems. And I didn’t want to talk to her about the friend drama because she was getting so involved in it all of a sudden. It was nice to take a step back and look at that and reflect. And I felt that talking to you through that whole process made my friendship with her so much stronger.

You’re a really good friend for recognizing that you would be adding to her stress if you shared some of your own situations and challenges with her. 

I remember in the beginning of our coaching sessions that you were pretty open and ready to start with a coach? Do you remember when your mom told you? Or did you ask her? How did that all unfold for you?

I started trying to help myself at first. I was writing letters to my best friend that I didn’t send, just to express things that were on my mind. And then I had a breakdown with my mom one evening. I told her that I need to talk to someone. This isn’t enough. This isn’t helping. She started looking into different things to help me. And that’s when she came across your Facebook page. She asked me: “Do you remember Erica with whom you did Girl Scout yoga? She’s a life coach for teen girls.” I was a little hesitant going into it. But after talking with you, I knew you were just someone that I could be so comfortable with. I knew I would be able to talk to you. 

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Trust And Synchronicity

I felt the same as soon as you stepped into my office. I actually remember our first coaching session. We just instantly connected and dove right in within the first 15 minutes. We have synchronicity, I think.

As we progressed, we met pretty regularly. We worked together for about two years. And for the first six or nine months, we were meeting pretty much every week. And then we switched to every other week and then to once a month. The things that we focused on evolved and I do remember shifting from personal development and academics to a lot of friends stuff. And also the stress that junior year puts on your plate with testing and college preparation. Can you share a little bit about what your evolution was with coaching and how things changed or impacted you as we continued through junior and senior year?

I noticed that a lot of people around me were taking the stress of junior year pretty differently. I don’t know how other people cope with their stress. Lucky for me, I started talking with you before junior year.

During that time, I started to see a lot of my friends fall into some pretty unfortunate habits with drug use and relationships too. And that was something that I was not doing.

Being able to talk to someone helped me figure out where I stand and how I wanted to handle those things in my life, and who I wanted to be friends with. I felt once I figured that out and who I wanted in my life, I had a better sense of who I was.

Moving Toward Passion

I hear what you’re saying. I recall recognizing that you always have this really strong sense of self. And we did some self-awareness building but it was almost like peeling a saran wrap off because it was so present for you already. You didn’t really need a whole lot of coaching. And that self-discovery piece was pretty easy. And you also had such a strong sense of determination and strength to make the choices that really aligned with your values, your interests, and the goals that you had for yourself. I have so much admiration for you because of those things.

I remember, once you were through the test scores, and you were in the college decision-making process, we started to do a lot more practical stuff in your coaching sessions. I remember we circled back to self-awareness because you were writing your college essays. So we were doing a little bit of reflection on the growth that you had. And then you were also interested in getting a job that was aligned with your interest in working with children. I’d love for you to share a little bit about how coaching supported you through the college process and your job search?

In the first few sessions I had with you, I said that I might want to work with children. And that was something that I had never really considered. Because I was surrounded by teachers my whole life, and I guess I was just blind to that being something I could ever do myself.

And one of the first things you said to me was: “I know how to help you with that. I have connections, and I’m going to send an email right now.” And I think you wrote down right then that you were going to send an email to the owner of the preschool that I’m working at now. 

This is my third summer there. And now that I’m 19, and I have a few college credits in my sleeve, I can work with the kids. I have up to 12 kids on my own. So that’s great. And it was so great just working there and being able to experience that setting. Early childhood education isn’t necessarily what I’m going to do in the future. But being able to start somewhere and realize that I want to work with older kids really helped. I still love getting this experience now and talking to my co-workers about their experiences and meeting so many different people in the field was just a great experience. And it’s a great place. I love it so much.

I’m so glad! It is such an honor to hear you talk with such enthusiasm about the same place where I started my teaching career — Del Mar Hills Nursery School! I’m so pleased that I was able to support you in that, and I know you’ve been such an asset to that school. You were determined to get this experience working with kids, and you gave it 100%. So, you’re the official teacher, because you’ve got the 12 units, right?

I don’t know if my title has been changed. But I consider myself a teacher.

Gaining Clarity For The Future

Now you’re starting your second year at Purdue studying education following your dream and your passion. Can you share a little about what your life is like right now?

I went to school and tried to get involved with a lot of different things. Just threw a bunch of things at the wall so it can stick. Right now I’m raising money for children and Children’s Hospital in Indiana. Because it hits close to home. I was at a children’s hospital in California for a while. So I’m really passionate about helping children’s hospitals. And I love my school so much. There are just so many different things I have gotten involved in. I honestly believe that all that college essay prep that we did together and my experience at Del Mar Hills Nursery school got me to the place where I am. And I was so thankful to have all that help. 

The Most Impactful Aspect Of Coaching Experience

I know you put a lot of effort into it. And I’m so happy that we stayed in touch. You’ve shared already so many ways in which coaching has impacted your life. Is there anything that stands out for you?

I think it was just having someone to talk to when things went wrong with the people in your life who you always thought you could turn to. I know, people make mistakes, and there’s always drama. You can’t go through life without it. But knowing that there is always a good place to go and have someone to talk to and not feel judged is really important. 

A Word For Those Seeking Support

I think sometimes people can underestimate how valuable it is to have someone who can listen and offer some practices that help you gain clarity or a sense of direction. And what I appreciate so much about you, Lauren is that, as I said, you came in with already so much self-awareness and determination. But you were also always so open to the different tools and perspectives that I would share. And so you really made the most of the process. 

Is there anything else you would like to say? What advice would you give a younger high school student who is thinking about life coaching?

I would just say, to give it a try. I don’t think I had an idea of how much I would be sharing with you or what kind of things I would need to be talking about. But knowing that the support is there is great peace of mind. I know, if something happens I can go and talk to Erica about this. I don’t need to work this out on my own. I have someone to support me.

You can always do that. Even as we’re moving into your second year at Purdue. Thank you for sharing your story with me and with my audience. I appreciate you doing that. And I’m so glad that we still are connected.

Yeah, me too! Thank you for your support, Erica!

Watch The Full Interview With Lauren


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