Me, myself and I during COVID-19
We are facing challenging times throughout the entire globe. Some of us are only just coming to terms with how our lives have changed from one day to another. There is an opportunity here to review and think about how we may use this space to grow personally and professionally and how seeking a unique approach called 'personal consultancy', blending therapy with coaching can help with this.
Work-related difficulties during COVID-19
A lot of us are experiencing a common difficulty, especially around our jobs. Losing a job can have a spiral effect on an individual as it often plays a large part in our identity. If not well prepared, it can lead to financial difficulties, relationship breakdowns, mental health difficulties and so on. How we view losing a job will depend on various factors that make up our identity, such as our culture, sex, and ethnicity.
Did your job define large parts of how you showed up in the world? When people asked about you, did you lean towards first mentioning your line of work? Are you the sole breadwinner of the family? Are you affected by toxic masculinity and perhaps views around how a man should show up when it comes to their career and finances? Did you have any balance between work and personal life? Or perhaps, have you always wanted to do things differently career-wise and now you are left thinking about how you will make all of that happen? Have you just finished your maternity leave and were looking forward to getting back to “real life” then was told to (continue to) stay home, and save lives?
On the other hand, some of us had to adapt to new ways of working. We are left being confined in one space, where we work, eat, spend time with our families, exercise, and play. Boundaries are blurred. We are now everything in one place, switching from being a mother/father/partner/flatmate/friend to the professional on those Zoom calls. A big chunk has been taken out of our lives, and we are left with the need to be creative with our so-called distractions. We are now perhaps facing thoughts around fulfilling our potential, doing what we always wanted to do, recognising our unhappiness in our jobs and our lack of work-life balance.
In general, a lot of our distractions are gone. We are forced to think about ourselves. There is no more going to the gym or going to the bar to blow off some steam. Here we are. Change is happening whether we like it or not. Shall we fight it, or start flowing with it?
There is a common theme around these issues which are between the need to be with/recognise/understand our experiences as well as the need to be focused/come up with a plan and move things forward. Counselling and psychotherapy can address and be with some of those difficult feelings and experiences whilst coaching can help you move forward using these questions and translating them into steps and creating tangible changes. This is where personal consultancy steps in.
Personal consultancy was developed by Nash Popovic and Debra Jinks (2013). It is a framework used by a small group of practitioners in the UK that allows us to deliver support using the depth of counselling/psychotherapy to make changes internally and coaching to support you with external changes. It is an integrative framework which allows your practitioner to support you in using different tools and techniques depending on your needs, creating a new way of working each time. You may have had therapy and missed the hands-on approach towards the end or coaching where you missed the depth and therapeutic element to the work. Let us dive in and let me show you how this approach can help you to make the most of the next few months.
What does personal consultancy look like in action?
- Authentic listening: This part of our work will focus on listening, one of the most crucial parts of one-to-one practices. Your practitioner will create a safe space for you to talk and understand what you want. This is an opportunity for you to be heard by someone who is a professionally trained individual, who will therefore not judge, give you advice or be influenced by their own feelings towards you.
- Re-balancing: This stage of the process will focus on your internal conflicts, whether it be cognitive, emotional, behavioural or complex (a combination of more than one). This part of the work will focus on more the counselling elements, helping you recognise what is keeping you stuck, bringing your emotions to the surface, and working on resolving them.
- Generating: As the name suggests, through the generating stage we will focus on your goals, identify options, and develop a plan. We will jump into the coaching mode at this stage once your internal conflicts have been resolved and feel ready to move on creating those tangible changes you want.
- Supporting: This stage will focus on identifying the support you need and have. It will concentrate on helping you maintain motivation and deal with the changes that have taken place in your life. Often this element is forgotten, but a Personal Consultant recognises the importance this part of the work plays in ensuring you maintain the changes.
Committing to therapy or coaching can often be confusing as every practitioner works differently, specifically if you never experienced working with a professional. Personal consultancy gives you the opportunity to be an active participant in the process, you will know why we do what we do and where we are in the process. Change is inevitable, however, we can either go with it or fight against it. We all want to fulfil our potential and live a meaningful life. We all want to figure out who we are, personally and professionally. The world is on pause and we now have the opportunity to reflect without the noise.
Whatever you choose to do, whether you decide to go to a professional or use your existing skills to grow during this time, I hope that we can all look back in 20 years and see this time as a turning point in our lives that we all used to review whether we are creating the life we want to live.