Autonomy

The ability to make one's own path in life, what some would call freedom, is a core value of the coaching relationship. Wars have been fought over the deep human need for freedom. Small internal battles are waged every day in provider's offices when patients stubbornly refuse to follow "Dr.'s orders". The coaching relationship turns the Dr. - patient relationship on its head. This can be a little scary, because when the patient's autonomy is recognized and elevated who knows what might happen. Yet, this is exactly the place where things get interesting in coaching.

The truth is, it feels good and natural to make our own choices. Just ask the parent of any toddler: the desire to choose one's destiny starts very early in life. The more choices we make for ourselves, the better we get at determining which things are worth holding onto, versus which things we might be better off without.

With a deeper sense of autonomy comes another key to lasting change: inner motivation.  This is the type of inner drive that is independent of external rewards. Coaches strive to find inner motivation in clients. But where is it hidden? Well, it often slowly comes out of the coaching conversation. Inner motivation can take shape when a person recognizes what they truly value in life, and why they value it. The recognition of what you value, comes along with a realization that perhaps your actions aren't actually in accordance with your values.

We may not act in accordance with our values all the time, but the more we recognize what it is we value and what it is we want, the more awareness we bring to each little decision...and lasting change is about a lot of little decisions made over time.