Over the years the more I grew in my work as a coach, the more I became aware of how important it is to respect a clients ‘no’.
This might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many times in coaching or other healing professions a client’s ‘no’ is not really being seen or respected.
I remember one time during an acupuncture session my therapist told me they were going to put a needle in a point on my forehead. He brought the needle to my head and my body suddenly tensed up, and I called out a clear ‘no!’.
His reaction: ‘Ah no, this is not gonna hurt you.’ With an unsure voice I said ‘ok then’, and he put the needle in my forehead.
After that session I felt so unwell. For weeks I struggled with dizziness, feeling ungrounded, like there was no floor beneath me. It was no fun.
I needed a session with a befriended energy worker to come to balance again.
My acupuncturist probably didn’t mean any harm and thought he did the right thing to help me.
I, at the time, wasn’t used to feeling or trusting my own ‘no’. I felt overwhelmed by my own sudden reaction, started doubting myself because of hís reaction, and then just gave him sort of a ‘ok’.
In coaching this often takes on more subtle ways. For instance where a coach could be going on about an idea or exercise that would be good for a client, but isn’t really tapping into what a client needs in that specific moment.
The client might feel a slight disconnection, but might also be used to ‘follow the teacher’ and be a good student. And thus neglect their feeling, push through some exercise and afterwards blame themselves when things didn’t go well or feel right.
A lot of people have never learned to feel their own no’s, or act upon them.
This is why in sessions we often practice the no’s. We check in again and again to see if where we’re going is still aligned with the client’s well-being.
We honor no’s when they come up. We take pauses, slow down, change course if we have to.
The beauty of respecting the no’s, is that the yes’s come out as well, without being pushed or forced.
Yes’s to life, to joy, to relaxation, to new opportunities.
And so, we say yes to no 😊
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