Ask the Coach: How can you help people if you’re single?

Dear Coach Linda: Not to be rude, or offensive, but why would women take advice from someone who isn’t in a relationship and, even further, is on a dating site seeking one? I’m terribly vexed about this. Again, I do NOT mean to be an ass, I just find this to be very contradictory. — “Without Care”

Thanks for asking, “Without Care”. I appreciate the opportunity to talk about what I do and why I do it; I also appreciate your curiosity — and your vexation. It speaks a lot about your need for authenticity. First, just to be clear, I’m not a dating advice expert. In fact, I’m not a big believer in dispensing advice at all. I am, however, an expert in coaching the process of change and my past failures and struggles (and I experienced a LOT of them, let me tell you, before I started my journey as a coach) make me a better coach. I don’t need to “have arrived” but I do need to be an example – of courageously embracing the journey, which is what I’m doing by being on a dating web site as well as being a member of several singles meet up groups. I’m also honoring my process and my training, which is predicated on this motto: I’d rather be single, than settle. If I expect less, then I get less. My personal and coaching process is about finding and keeping the extraordinary because we all deserve it. I know I deserve it. It means, also, that I commit myself to staying available for the extraordinary, and not getting involved with someone who I know is not a good fit for me.

Be patient enough to waitSo I continue my search because I also understand the potential that long-term committed relationships hold for us, from a spiritual and psychological evolution perspective. Long-term committed relationships are a way for us to return to an inner sense of wholeness, since we act as mirrors for each other and help each other integrate the parts of ourselves that we’ve thrown into the shadows. Only through a committed, empowered, conscious relationship can we fully grow, heal and return to being whole.

Also, from a personal perspective, I’ve not yet found the extraordinary, because I’ve been through some upheaval/changes/transformations in my life over the past 5-6 years (thanks in large part to a dance with cancer, and the realization that, career-wise, I was meant for something other than being a photographer’s rep); for me–and for everyone really–to be Ready for a Long-Term Committed Relationship, my shit needs to be fairly together.  (NB: In my coaching process, I use a Relationship Readiness assessment, and my own results indicate that I need work on some areas of my life first.)

Being solo is wiserThis is not to say that I live my life like a monk — I know that right now I will only date recreationally, while honoring my emotional and physical intimacy boundaries. (NB: There is a difference between short-term dating, and a long-term commitment…which is another area that most people don’t understand …which is why relationship failure is so rampant these days.) I’m not interested in getting seriously involved with someone who is not right for me or while I’m not honestly ready for the rigors of a committed relationship. That will only lead to a negative experience. While bad relationships can be learning laboratories for those wise enough to see them as such, life is far more fulfilling if you have clarity on what’s important to you and make choices based on those values (and not out of desperation). … Plus, I’m in my 40s now. Who’s got time to squander? Not this woman.

On the flip side, I don’t believe that long-term committed relationships should be disposable. And right now, most people do. One out of every TWO marriages fail — and 90% of them end acrimoniously because the two partners did not do the proper preparation and self-discovery, to uncover their requirements, needs & wants and course-correct sabotaging patterns and beliefs, before getting married. Did you know that compatibility & financial issues are the top 2 causes of divorce? In my eyes, this disposability factor is a vicious cycle, which perpetuates itself especially when the embittered couple have children who witness how their parents treat each other.

Furthermore, my clients need my positive energy, passion, inspiration, and compassion that comes from my own struggles and journey – What matters is my connection with my clients and my ability to apply my coaching skills to support their progress, not my specific, personal situation. Coaching is not about me! It’s about my mission, purpose, and the people I’m called to help — truly acting in service of my client — it’s not about coming from ego or my own reality, situation and accomplishments.

I should also mention that I am a trained, certified relationship coach – having received my certifications from two different schools recognized by the International Coach Federation. One focused on coaching for transformation – the other focused specifically on coaching singles … I will be going for a certification in coaching couples next year. In other words, I take this very seriously.

So ~ “Without Care”, thank you for your need for genuineness – and congratulations for honoring it by getting in touch and questioning me. No doubt you are using it is as a screening tool for all your potential partners because I can see it’s important to you that people in your life be truthful.

Wishing you the best of luck!

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