SEASIDE COACHING: After the Storm By Dr. Lucille Maddalena (Guest)

Have you ever watched people simply stand and stare at the sea for hours? Mesmerized with the rolling waves, warmed by the sun and cooled by the soft breeze, the sounds and smells create a meditative environment.

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean.
But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.
- Mother Theresa of Calcutta

When you are at a transition point in your life, do you seek the familiarity of your current surroundings? How do you sort through the turmoil that accompanies change to discover your own revelations?

Smooth seas do not skillful sailors make.
- African proverb

Recalling the first coaching session conducted at the ocean, I wasn’t certain when the useful dialogue began. The one thing I insisted on was that we walk.  We didn’t have to walk on the sand or to the water’s edge: staying on the boardwalk or heading to a seaside restaurant was fine.  As we walk, we talk: our pace moves us through time as we near the ocean. 

 On the first block we peer down the path to glimpse where the ocean meets the sky and hear a gentle rhythm. The conversation is light as we discuss our surroundings and living situations, exchanging private revelations that strengthen and bond our association.  

 On the second block the waves come into view and the volume of the breakers begins to increase. There is a slight tenseness to the conversation as petty annoyances rise to the surface then dispel. Each step is deliberate, expressing our earnest intent to address issues of burden.

 By the third block, the graceful boardwalk beckons while partially blocking our view of the sand and sea.  Our pace quickens. Sentences are left unfinished with short, terse expressions of verbal release; speech patterns become fast and reactive.    

Now we are on the boardwalk overlooking the full display of sand, sea, sky. The impact of the stunning view silences us.  It is impossible to talk or even breathe for that first moment, as we step up to the majesty before us. The breeze fills our lungs: magically, all trivial complaints are gone.

Wide sea that one continuous murmur breeds along the pebbled shore of memory!
- John Keats

I feel my own stress leave as I inhale the salt air, and we comfortably assume our roles of coach and client.  We continue our path allowing the first flow of stressors to emerge.  Each item is presented, contemplated and marked for future action. 

 For my guest, it is the time to reveal the innocence, the vulnerable individual carefully preserved by layers of training, education, experience, loss and success.  We talk about those vague, soft topics that are too difficult or embarrassing to grasp in public situations:  values, ethics, passion, creativity, commitment, and dedication.  We slowly work our way to issues of seeming importance: expectations, professionalism, goals, obstacles and priorities as we seek balance.  

 The close to our conversation always comes down to choices. This is our conversation as we dine by the sea.  The task begins with all due gravity and seriousness; soon the natural flow beams with the joy of spontaneous creativity.  Decision paths, options and outcomes are laid as we resort to writing our designs and plans on napkins to preserve the treasure of unrestricted ideas.

 Our environment is still in control as we select our path home.  Some guests prefer to walk barefoot to the water’s edge unconcerned that we will return with seawater in our clothing and windblown hair.  Others choose to stand or sit on the boardwalk to look at the ocean, allowing private thoughts to pass in silence.  It is with a feeling of freedom and peace that we retrace our steps.

Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul,
if either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift,

or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.
– Kahlil Gibran

To connect with Lucille

Dr. Lucille Maddalena is an Executive Coach, Leadership Trainer, and Consultant in Organization Development.

Dr. Lucille Maddalena is an Executive Coach, Leadership Trainer, and Consultant in Organization Development.

Best known for her work supporting Senior Executives during career and business transitions, she guides the alignment of team goals with expectations by bridging interpersonal communication with practical business management. As a key part of global leadership initiatives, she has created coaching models for clients, functioning as Master Coach to identify and manage Leadership Coaches at regional sites. She has guided over 6,000 corporate executives at Fortune 100 firms to successfully advance in their careers during times of organization change.

Visit www.mtmcoach for free downloads of useful articles and publications.

She holds a Doctorate in Education with an interdisciplinary major in Human Communications and Labor Education. Working with Senior Leaders and their teams she is recognized for her commitment to build engagement and trust within all levels of the organization.