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But First, Coffee

How to help your clients through the holidays by filling your own cup first.

It’s no secret. Stuff hits the fan around the holidays, especially emotions. Chances are you’re going to have clients coming to you with a lot of “indulgent” emotions such as: overwhelm, confusion, rage, hopelessness, self-righteousness, fear. I think it’s because, around the holidays, we gather around family and are forced to face old wounds. Inevitably, we all revert to our unpolished or more immature selves if any unhealed or unfinished interior work within ourselves is provoked, and chances are they will inevitably will be if we spend enough time around our family of origin. In addition to that, there is too much to do, too little time, and the pressure we put on ourselves to perform.

I think it’s fair to anticipate our clients’ needs in advance so we can be prepared. We’re going to want to spend time processing emotions with them. We’re going to help them release these indulgent emotions and transform unhelpful thoughts into useful ones. We are going to help them separate story from fact. We will give them permission to honor their process and offer space to hear their interior life out loud.

But in order to do this well, in order to avoid feeling their overwhelm, slipping into the pool or projecting our own stress and mess on our insights, we must first do our own work.

Erin Ingold says she never coaches unless she has first coached herself. Part of our coaching formation in Metanoia Catholic’s coach training program even encourages us to journal on our thoughts about our thoughts and our thoughts about our clients so that we can show up in a clean place and let the Holy Spirit work through us.

In addition to this helping us show up well for our clients, it also keeps us grounded. This work keeps us humble. We are just another person on the journey. We get to let our client know that they are not the only one, that they are not alone in their struggle, and sometimes, that can be incredibly healing in and of itself. We get to hold the space for them because we have held the space for ourselves. We know how important it is, and we can do for them what they may be unable to do for themselves.

We fill our cup first so we can pour ourselves out for another. We can give because we have first received.