Essential Life Skills (that we were never taught)

Rodand Brooks Newton, Joanne Lescher, and Will Wilkinson share their unique areas of personal coaching and how you can deal skillfully with the challenges of every day living.

Coaching is a big part of what goes on at Hidden Springs. Why do you feel it’s so important?

Brooks: Every day we go about trying to make our lives the way we want them to be, doing our best to handle the challenges that inevitably come up. But that takes specific skills… skills we were never taught. We picked them up through trial and error, if we learned them at all.

Mostly, we picked up our life habits haphazardly, like basic communication skills, relationship habits that may be oddly similar to how our parents related, managing personal finances (sort of), staying healthy (surrounded by mis-information), etc. But we missed out learning the primary and most important skills of how to use our minds effectively: discovering what is most important to us in life and channeling our life energy into those things, and dealing effectively with the blocks that come up. These are the real master skills in life, since all the others depend on how well we can do these.

There are movies and scores of books on the healing power of your mind and using your thoughts to change your life. Is this what you are talking about?

Rod: There’s a lot of valuable information out there that may help us understand some of the concepts from an intellectual viewpoint. What coaching does is to help us embody these concepts as habits. We are very pragmatic about this. We’re interested in what actually works for you and that’s why personal coaching is so valuable – it’s always tailored to your specific situation and needs.

Joanne, how do communication skills fit into the picture?

Joanne: Communication is something we all do every day. When I teach or coach people to improve their communication skills, many areas of their lives get better and they begin to realize how fundamental communication is to every aspect of their lives. The success of our intimate relationships, our work relationships, and our social interactions all depend on how effectively we communicate.

What’s the number one essential life skill you teach, relative to communication?

Joanne: To listen compassionately. When you get right down to it, everyone wants to laugh more and fight less. That means learning how to listen compassionately. It’s truly amazing how much skilled compassionate listening can enhance any relationship.

Brooks, how do you apply these life skills in your relationship coaching?

Brooks: When Rod and I coach couples, we start by having them envision their ideal relationship and then we coach them in dealing artfully with whatever arises to sabotage that vision. It’s a very positive, skill-building approach.

When Rod and I met, we were both freshly out of a very painful relationship. We knew we needed some help in order to create a satisfying relationship. So we systematically (and obsessively) went about learning and practicing relationship skills — seminars, books, counseling; whatever we could find. And it really paid off! We have been able to create a deeply fulfilling partnership. Not some philosophical or romantic ideal but a gutsy present moment, full body/mind/heart experience of connection.

Will, how do you apply these life skills in your coaching writing and public speaking?

Will: I use some of these same techniques for coaching writing and public speaking. Everybody writes, even if it’s just emails. Most of us have to give a wedding toast or speak at a funeral some time. Words cast spells (that’s why we call it “spelling”). The simple formula I coach is “see it, feel it, do it.” Start with a vision of what you want to say or write, feel everything that arises as you begin to articulate that vision — in a first draft if you’re writing, or the words you begin speaking. Adjust course to that compelling vision; it’s your compass. When you learn how to get out of your head and just let your authentic Self speak… it can be positively exhilarating. There’s no substitute for the real you!

Rod, on your web site, www.thechipractice.com, the home page banner says: “The next step is up.” What does that mean?

Rod: When we coach someone in life skills we help them head in a new direction: Up. We invite them to take off, rather than to keep rumbling down the runway forever, always thinking that fulfillment comes later. This is it, right now, right here! In our C.H.I. Intro we coach people to become vividly present and develop new habits of thinking, feeling and acting.

We’ve learned that the most essential life skill is to live from a vision that is fueled by our life force liberated from those emotional obstacles that arise to stop us. What keeps us from reaching our goals is a power shortage. Our power gets locked up in the very things we ignore or try to get rid of. That’s what keeps us from really taking off in life. When we channel our energy into what is most important to us – and successfully embrace the blocks in the way – that’s when the magic and miracles happen in our lives.

Will: No serious athlete would imagine she or he could succeed without a coach. All of us can benefit from coaches — life coaches — to learn the essential skills for living a fulfilling life.

An introduction to the C.H.I. practice is being offered at Hidden Springs on Thursday, May 9th, 6:30 – 9:00pm. Tuition is $25, including all materials. Space is limited and pre-registration is recommended. Call 541-488-8858. Mention this article for a $5 discount.