Last year, I got angry in the grocery store. Really angry. Let me explain. It was supposed to snow here in Massachusetts tomorrow, our first snow of the season. So, I joined 35,000 other people on a Sunday morning to buy out all the food on the shelves. I was waiting in a long checkout line and “popped in” to FaceBook as I waited. What came into my feed was a post by someone, who calls himself a coach for chiropractors, stating
“Yesterday I had a very brief conversation with a chiropractor who says she wants to hire me as her business and life coach because, as she put it, “Nothing in my life is really working at all.” One of the first things she told me was, “Before we get going, I just need to let you know that if you are going to tell me that I need to change how I do a bunch of things, we aren’t going to get along very well.” It was a VERY short phone call.”
My immediate response was to empathize with this woman. There were times in my twenty years that things looked rough… and I was overwhelmed… and I felt sad for her and I sent her love. I thought maybe she just needs to not change everything at once because that can be overwhelming. Or, maybe she has a dying husband and can’t handle a ton of action items, but could use supportive accountability so she can “stay on the rails”. Perhaps she had a negative coaching experience in the past that had her needing to find a way to set some boundaries around the coaching experience.
And then I realized that this gentleman just called her out on a very public platform and as I was processing this, my colleagues proceeded to like and comment on this thread.
These were some of the replies:
● That’s hilarious!
● LOL….that was classic!
● Oh my goodness gracious!! Yes, I hear these absurd remarks as well! It baffles me every time!
● These people are known as “Ask-Holes”…
● It’s like asking an addict to tell you when it’s a good time to go to rehab.
● I busted out laughing…
And there in the grocery store, I had tears in my eyes and thought, “How are we all so mean? What do ANY of us know about this poor woman’s life?” I got so lost in this FB thread that I forgot where I was. What I’d like to write here is that I shook it off. I decided that this woman seeking help, the guy posting about it, the almost hundred people agreeing with it with likes and comments were just not part of my world and not to look too closely at this. But that is not what happened. Unfortunately, I typed in a response. I posted this:
“I don’t see this as absurd or ridiculous. Perhaps she has circumstances in her life that are overwhelming. Perhaps a family member is ill, a child has developmental delays, a parent is needing extra care. There’s obviously a concern there. Sometimes it’s a concern of not being successful at something new, of needing to pace your learning, of getting good at getting out of the comfort zone – even though by her words she’s not successful at what she’s currently comfortable doing.
Changing a bunch of things can seem scary or too hard for many people. For all we know, she could’ve worked with a coach, a teacher or personal trainer sometime in her past that pushed her to do things she wasn’t sure she really wanted to do, at a pace that was not her own and then never achieved her desired outcome. Kudos to her for having the courage to reach out, perhaps she likes how you represent your style and brand of coaching. But as said above, while you two weren’t a match, this woman does need someone who will work with her and meet her needs. I hope she finds the right coach to help her grow her practice and improve in other areas that make her feel fulfilled in her life.”
I was clacking away at my phone, oblivious to the hustle and bustle around me. Instantly, a reply came. “No, that’s not the way it was. This woman was un-coachable.” I am not a person that gets furious in the grocery store. Just to be clear. That’s not my thing. I help people out. I let others go first. I smile at everyone, to my teenage son’s mortification. But for the first time, I stood in a grocery store and I was LIVID. I have NO idea who this woman was. But I KNEW she was reading this f-ing thread and she had reached out for help and this SLOPPY POOR EXCUSE FOR A HUMAN was bullying her publicly and inviting others to do so. Even IF she blocks her ability to grow and change, it is his job as a coach to help with the blocks or find someone who can. NOT to publicly dismiss, mock and shame her and encourage others to join in. What followed was not pretty.
I went after this guy on FB. I questioned EVERYthing he said. He sent me a FB message and asked me to stop, and I brought his private message into a public thread. This guy used his power and authority to mock her, dismiss her in a 5-minute conversation, and publicly shame her by calling her un-coachable. And people were watching, and they were JOINING IN on Facebook.
I OBJECT so strongly to the culture of people (men, especially) marginalizing other people (women, mostly,) and dismissing them because they have an objection, a problem, an emotion, a need, etc. Many women in chiropractic have a different experience than their male counterparts. They have less support at home, have fewer skills in expecting and/or demanding that support, have more work at work and home because of unspoken unconscious expectations. They are exhausted and exhaustion is so much deeper than just being tired. They may get resigned more easily and guess what? Resignation has nothing to do with our true potential. It cannot define us. And any GOOD coach knows that a moment of bad thinking does NOT make you un-coachable.
Women struggle with self-doubt so much more than men. That does not make them WHINERS. It makes them VERBAL and IN TOUCH WITH MANY DIFFERENT EMOTIONS. So many women also struggle with becoming overwhelmed, and freeze in despair and hopelessness. They often have anger that has no voice or path of expression. All of this stacks up into lack of aliveness and lack of vital expression in practice.
So many of you are not going to even have a clue what I am talking about, but then this post is NOT for you. If you are looking for a bully in your life, please enroll in his coaching program. Pay money to be abused and degraded. Publicly at that! Or, perhaps find a talented nuanced coach who can mentor YOU to find YOUR dream practice, that lives inside you. Not their way. YOUR way. Let someone guide you who has good business skills, honoring presence, and is trained to coach. There are plenty of us out there. We may be quieter but look harder. Do not accept the first blow hard who tells you they are awesome. Ask questions. Be smart.
I wrote this piece for this woman and all the women like her. I focus my work as a coach on helping HER to find the tools, perspectives, and sisterhood that allow her to access her true power and genius in practice and in life. When I work with anyone in chiropractic, especially women, I want them to feel self-directed and I want them to be self-approved AF. Most of my clients, over the course of time with me, better understand the reasons we’re collectively stuck as women chiropractors, and they receive a new lens on their challenges, their desires, and their potential – along with actionable tools for all aspects of practice for themselves and their team.