Naturally on Valentine’s Day we tend to reflect on love, how it enters into our lives, sometimes departs and how we seek it out in its many forms.
Coaching is an expression of love. During my coach training, one of the instructors said, “Don’t be surprised if you fall in love with your clients.” What she meant was that the coaching relationship is a place to share vulnerability, challenges, and possibilities – and get close. In this experience, love and deep respect can grow. As a leadership coach, I bear witness, and maybe most importantly, share compassion and love. And here’s the real point I want to make. It is mutual. When a client expresses gratitude after a great conversation, I thank them as well. Sometimes, this response is met with curiosity. One client said, “Why are you thanking me…?” seeing the coaching relationship as a one-way street – coach to client. I explain that coaching is a two-way street; we are learning together. I learn so much about what it means to be human, from my clients. It is a great source of joy and love and keeps me in my purpose, living my values to support people in their development.
For me love is also about witnessing the mastery of others. When I see a presenter command an audience’s attention with their energy and passion, a musician on stage, eyes closed, playing his heart out, or an artist showing her work to colleagues and peers, it fills me with awe and my heart fills up with gratitude. Creativity is generosity and it is love.
Love is also remembrance. While the loss of my mom two years ago is still very fresh, it is my dad’s death that has been on my mind lately and I have been revisiting some writing I did shortly after his passing, editing and refining my words. Taking time to remember has deepened my experience. It has allowed me to see the many shades of love and devotion, and accept the range of love’s emotions.
Love is community. In the last year, I joined with fellow coaches, authors, and nonprofit leaders in a spiritual leadership journey. Finding a safe group to explore the meaning of spirituality and love has been one of the most surprising love events in my life and has opened new windows of awareness and ways of being that I likely would not have been able to access without these loving friends.
And what is Valentine’s Day without romantic love, which in my world includes the long tradition of Fettucine Alfredo, prepared by my partner to honor our first dinner together many Valentine’s Days ago. The meal will also include the true food of love, chocolate!
Wishing you all love today and throughout the year.