A couple of you asked whether I was still seeing my coach. I am, and the whole process is really helping me - I don't think I'd be where I am now without her help.
There are three main things that she's helping me with - working out what I really want and need and how I can achieve that, communicating better with DH and getting what I need from my relationships with other people.
The help with communicating with DH is particularly helpful, as the usual reaction of certain members of my family to hearing that I've been trying to tell DH something that's important to me is "leave the poor chap alone".
I originally booked eight sessions with the coach, and Thursday should have been the last of those eight. As it happened, I couldn't get my car out because of snow and ice on the hill we live on, so the session has been postponed to this coming Thursday - and this week, I'll try to make sure I don't park the car facing uphill.
I spoke to her on the phone and said that I knew coaching wasn't meant to be open-ended, but asked if she thought it would be a good idea to book more sessions. The cynical part of me said that for anyone you're paying for a service to advise you that you no longer need that service is a bit like a turkey voting for Christmas. The emotional, needy part of me said that I need this extra person on my side, helping me to work through the decisions I'm making and the issues they're throwing up, for a while longer, and hoped that she wouldn't say she thought I was ready to deal with all this by myself.
As it happens, as with everything else, she struck exactly the right note. She said that as far as the not being open-ended is concerned, one difference between counselling and coaching is that with counselling, you're working through a lot of stuff that has often happened years ago, and it can take a very long time to deal with all the issues that come up. Coaching deals largely with the present and is more forward-looking. You're learning tools to help you to deal with specific things in your life, and so after a certain amount of time you should be able to stop the coaching and still use the tools that you've gained from it on your own.
She also said that she still occasionally contacts her own coach when she feels that she needs a bit of help and books a single session to help her work through whatever it is she's having trouble with. She said it can be helpful to be able to talk something through with someone who knows you well but can be completely objective. It kind of reassured me to know that this is an option.
In my case, I'm still in the middle of all this - I've taken a big step towards making a major decision, but the decision won't be put into practice until after the new year. In the meantime, we've got Christmas to get through, the birth of my latest niece, and the whole child-oriented shebang of nativity plays and Christmas parties. She said I may feel that I need support through all of that, and if I do, she's happy to keep working with me, but I must tell her if there's anything that I want to do differently or that I feel isn't helping.
So I'm going to book another block of sessions, and hope that by the end of this block, a lot of the stuff that's up in the air at the moment will be resolved one way or the other.
And, of course, I'm also hoping that the resolution itself will be one way, and not the other...