One of the things that I do here inside is coach guys. I know that it sounds like a strange concept but I can say that it is one that is working, at least for the time being. If one understands the concept of life coaching I am sure that they can see how a concept such as this can work on the inside. What I want to do is kind of layout some of what I do and how it works.
One of the most important concepts of coaching involves listening. I think that this is something that is often lacking in the lives of most of us. How many times have you ever felt that you were being listened to and not merely heard? To have someone really listen to you, with intentions to hear and understand what you are saying, is priceless. Most of the time during any given conversation we are listening for what ” we agree with” or what “we disagree with” and often that is all that we hear. We sometimes miss the subtle body movements that scream sadness, loneliness, or fear. That is often due to not being able to understand how to identify emotions correctly or not being to ask the right questions to see what are the emotions that are often hidden beneath the tone of anger and frustration.
It is like the kid who comes home and didn’t make the team. He says to his pops. “hey dad I didn’t make the team.” and he has tears in his eyes and his father says, “its okay! you will get’ em next time.” Did dad really hear his son? There is so much to ask the son that the father never asked. How has he validated his son? Has he taken this moment to teach his son a life lesson that he will always remember? Has he empowered his son to take this incident and become better at this or maybe something else? Who knows for all we know making the team may have been dads idea and not the son. So maybe he is saying, ” Dad this game is not for me.” yet he doesn’t know.
Well this could be anyone, even an offender. True there are some guys that don’t get it and will never get it but there are guys that do and will get it. I think that it is the best interest that guys come home from prison having dealt with some of the issues that may have aided them in making poor decision. It is in the best interest of the greater society that guys come home feeling empowered and not stuck in the stories of the “past” and know how to move forward in life. That is how life coaching benefits those on the inside.
What is sad is that all of the things that I have acquired over the years have been things that I have gotten on my own. There was no help nor support system from the inside that gave me an idea as to what I was supposed to do with this time. I know that many people would like to believe that there is this strict regime of therapy and programming that deals with the issues and reasons why most of us ended up here. The truth is that nothing of that sort exists! There is nothing but a bunch of rules and regulations that guys despise. This often adds to the frustration of the guys that want to do something different but some of the things that they need are not at their disposal. What coaching does is provides a time and space where guys can be heard, vent some of these frustrations and find the solution within themselves to move past this experience, or any other, and become successful out in society.
So that it be known what I do is not some self made practice. Something that I picked up reading a book and decided to play Dr. I am currently going through the training process to become a certified Life Coach through the Institute for Life Coach Training, founded by Dr. Patrick Williams, who is my mentor as well. So when I have the sessions that I have I come from a professional place where ethics are observed and evidence based concepts are applied. By no means am I the final authority on the subject but I can say that maybe my 2 cents may have some validity.
I can say that the guys that have been coached here are in a different place, in terms of the way that they do their time and what they focus on, than the guys that just wander around aimlessly. One of the questions that I ask guys who show an interest in Life Coaching is ” if you had one wish and you woke up tomorrow and it was granted what would you wish for?” Most guys say the obvious, ” i would wish to be home.” The next question that I ask is, ” what does it look like?” You would be surprised at how many guys want to go home but don’t have a clue as to what going home looks like. Sometimes I have to ask guys, “what do you see yourself doing out there?” This is when the lights really start to click. If they can “see” themselves being fathers through coaching it is reaffirmed that they can “be” fathers. If they can “see” themselves working it is affirmed that there is nothing stopping you from working. There are a host of other questions that eventually get them to take the steps now to be the person that they want to be later. That is how Life Coaching works on the inside.
- Coaching the Global Village: The Reconstruct Program (avoicefromtheinside.wordpress.com)