21 Feb Clients as Soul-Colleagues
Clients as Soul-Colleagues
My professional practice is all with friends now. I don’t always know these friends before we begin working together.
But I notice now that I love each person I work with.
As my dissertation mentor the Belgian philosopher of science Isabelle Stengers put it, “gaining knowledge presupposes the creation of a link.” We cannot know without being connected.
I can only know what I love.
Senegalese poet Baba Dioum’s phrasing is very beautiful: “In the end, we conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.”
In my coaching and consulting, this used to feel like boundary-blurring. People I esteem become clients, people who start as clients morph into friends.
Without clear boundaries, this can be a problem. But clarity has made love in action an efficient, elegant practice.
It used to make me nervous (“how do I charge this person for our time together?”) but that confusion around money is gone for me now. With clarity about when we are talking as friends, and when as client and coach/consultant, figuring out when and what to charge is easy.
I noticed this clarity with relief recently when I offered support to a person who is challenged by health in this present time of her life. She has come to a workshop of mine and coached with me.
I didn’t even think about it, I just loved her without forethought. But my ease with this was different than the way I had related to her in the past, and I think she wondered about it, and asked me about it.
I found myself writing her this:
‘You’re one of my soul-colleagues. Coaching was not on my mind when I called, and it’s not unless you say it is.”
Telling the Right Story About You, My Client, My Soul-Colleague
Joan Didion wrote that “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”
I think that is so right if we tell the right stories. The right stories are the ones that give life.
Those of you who’ve worked with me understand how powerful I think the right story can be. I tell my client-friends stories of themselves I truly see.
It’s up to each of us to make stories real.
The loving story told with eyes that truly see my clients with potential in every cell to do just what they have come to me to help them do, in abundance–this opens the path.
With this love, I participate in building the Beloved Community.