From Pain to Possibilities: Developing a Learner Mindset

I once had a client, whom I’ll call “Jane,” that came into coaching not being able to see the possibilities in her life because of the pain in her life. And rightfully so.

Jane had experienced a messy divorce, lost many close friends in the process, was deserted by other key family members, wasn’t making enough money to pay all her bills, and the list continues.

She completed many counseling sessions and felt functional again. She felt healed from her past. But she couldn’t muster up the strength to truly move forward. An excerpt from our initial coaching session went something like this…

Coach: What’s the most important thing you need to walk away with from this session today?

Client: I need to be able to understand how to move forward and live my life despite my loss.

Coach: Considering that’s a tall order for one coaching session, what one piece of moving forward would be helpful to walk away with today?

Client: Well, I guess if I could just know the first step in moving forward. That would be helpful.

Coach: Great! How will you know you have moved forward?

Client: I will be earning enough income to pay my bills and not have to worry so much over finances. I really need to earn more income. I used to have the support of my husband and our dual incomes made money no problem. And even through the divorce there were even times I could lean on family and friends in a pinch… even for a little grocery money. But now I have no one. I feel all alone… like I have to figure this out on my own.

Coach: If you were, in fact, to have to figure this out on your own, what’s the best advice you could give yourself?

Client: Hmmm… well, I guess I need to relearn some things. Like how to live on a single income. I need to learn how to navigate life without my usual financial supports. I need to learn new skills so I can get a better-paying job.

Coach: Learn. That word came up in just about every sentence you just spoke.

Client: Really. Okay. You’re a great listener.

Coach: And you have great insight on your current situation. Given what you know, how do you want to move forward?

  • End of excerpt

Through a series of nine coaching sessions, Jane began to explore and realize more about what relearning and learning could do for her. Within a few months of our initial session, Jane found a new job, with much higher pay.

Jane began to understand that healing from pain doesn’t always mean you’re moving forward with future goals, new possibilities. Adopting a learner mindset (that first step) helped her move from functioning to thriving!

By | 2017-01-10T20:49:51+00:00 October 20th, 2016|Categories: Articles, Life Coaching|Tags: , |0 Comments

About the Author:

Shelly Cantrell works as a life and leadership coach, consultant, freelance writer, influential speaker and photojournalist who mentors and teaches in those fields. She also partners with business owners to grow and build their teams. Shelly is passionate about loving God, others and herself well, while likewise inspiring the world. She encourages women to practice unselfish self-care for work and life balance. Whether she’s working or playing, Shelly delights in being and doing most anything outside with friends and family—especially at the ocean or in the mountains. To connect, e-mail Shelly.