My Toughest Client
The toughest client I have ever coached was my dad. My dad was 86 and had just lost the love of his life. Mymom died few weeks shy of my parents 60th anniversary – dad was devastated. Other than me he didn’t have much local family support. I spent a lot of time with him trying to coach him into taking new actions, get support for his grief and really just listening to him quite a bit. I didn’t know what possibilities lay before him, but I thought he could at least manage his loss and find a small amount of happiness. Little did I know how limited that belief was and how much more was possible!
After a year of coaching I broached the subject of dad possibly dating he said “Yeah I know I should be doing something I just feel I’m not ready.” I asked him if he ever thought there would be a good time and he shook his head no. I then made a big request of him. I asked him if he’d be willing to just do it anyway. He hadn’t had friendship and companionship in a long time and I could see he knew he needed that kick in the pants. He agreed to go on a first date and she stood him up a half an hour before they were supposed to leave (she’d lost her spouse too and realized she wasn’t ready). So again I coaxed him to try. I could tell he was yearning for that closeness, banter and friendship he had with my mother. I had a flash that maybe he should call an old family friend who I knew he’d always gotten along with. “Why don’t you call Jenine?” I asked one day. He was full of excuses, but I kept at him and finally he did. To make a long story short, their first date was fabulous and they stayed up all night talking. Fast forward to two weeks ago and they just got married surrounded by friends and family from around the world after a phenomenal two weeks of partying. Dad and Jenine are deliriously happy, madly in love and have been to Paris, Ireland and are going to Italy in a few weeks. They make new friends wherever they go and are creating a new life filled with joy.
I have learned so much watching my dad and Jenine be open to the possibilities of life and love. Whereas I didn’t see huge possibility because of age and level of grief—HE did. He has taught me that joy, happiness and contentment are possible at any time and at any stage; that anything can happen, and good things can happen very quickly. I’m now even more conscious in my coaching not to limit possibilities, and I’ve taken a message for my own growth. I’m over 50 and had this background belief that as you age life is a gradual downhill slide. That good things will happen but from here on in it’s about managing loss. That underlying limited belief bled into my coaching and I am so grateful it’s been exposed for what it is—false! I challenge you to get to know what your own limiting beliefs may be and really examine how they impact your life and coaching. Dad and Jenine are a perfect example that anything is possible with an open heart and with hope. They are hopelessly in love and their wedding was filled with a tingling energy—everyone was touched by the sense of new beginnings, new possibilities and fresh exciting new chapters, at any age.