The foundation work we do here at Round Table Companies is highly intimate. We ask our clients to lay bare their most personal stories for the sake of narrative, for their messages, and to ultimately connect with others and with the world around them.
Even if the coaching process is different than the traditional collaborative book writing we do here at the Table, it can sometimes be even more delicate and intimate. As a coach, we no longer hold the reins of when and how the words land on the page. The client’s initiative encourages the relationship to evolve in a more organic way. If the coach (me, in this example) is not diligent about staying tethered to the client as she floats through her process, it is easy to lose connection with that intimacy. Book writing is, for the most part, measurable and predictable. But coaching is a whole other animal, and each client’s writing schedule dictates just how much he can produce.
At present, I have a lovely client whom I am coaching through her book process. Her story is particularly close to me, as it reveals layers of matrilineal connections in a thread of women who never knew they were even related. This client (and author) is so talented and so capable of writing an amazing book that I forgot, if even momentarily, that I was her coach.
She had to do a bit of traveling—and so did I (my dad had emergency surgery out of state)—and one week after another passed without check-ins, and we lost our tether. In our weekly editorial meeting yesterday, I mentioned the anxiety I was having about losing this connection (or feeling like I had) and Katie suggested I dive deeper into the materials I had and send the client an email—tell her I was feeling a bit floaty and wanting to reestablish the connection.
As if my client and I were dialed right into the same wavelength, as soon as I reached out to her, she reached back out to me, and we connected on a call that quelled all the angst. This client has such a big heart, and once I heard her voice, her passion, the tether returned at once. We both felt it, and it felt good. Vulnerability—honestly copping to feeling disconnected—was the very thing that re-connected us, and it was such a rich, fulfilling conversation that I’d wished I’d initiated it sooner. How simple it is to be brave and honest, and how big the rewards.
In any case, she and I are back on track, having established more regular connection and agreeing to its importance. Though neither of us disconnected out of intention, we are reconnected now. Because of it, we’ll work together to create a book that helps us all connect—with each other, with the world around us, to the narrative—and then anchor us in (and out of) time . . . which is what we’re going for, after all.