So much in personal or self development is written on the things we need to do and be for ourselves. To be the source of our own resource.

We need to learn how to and not to. To be and to do. To be in touch with our emotions, let go of our emotions and express our emotions. To breathe deeply, be balanced and appreciative. To be self aware and be calm. To let go of the past, live in the present and have visions for the future. To be still and be mindful and to have passion and find momentum. To nurture and to take action. To listen to ourselves, know ourselves, trust ourselves, be intuitive and be reasoned. To be self aware, and accept ourselves. To be ourselves and to change.

To look after ourselves, emotionally and physically, and others. To respect ourselves and others. To be tolerant of our own flaws and tolerate others. To give ourselves permission and allow and forgive others. To master our fears and not scare others. To be our own companion and that of others.

In all of this, there are others. We have much to learn from within, but it is easy to get lost in the labyrinth of the inner life. We have much to learn from others, but it is easy to get lost in the confusion of the crowd. So we need solitude and community simultaneously: what we learn in one mode can check and balance what we learn in the other. Together, they make us whole, like breathing in and breathing out.” (Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness)

One of my coaching tutors, Nick Bolton, described the range of characteristics or roles a transformation coach has when working with a client. For me, these also describe the different kind of relationships and people; the others, that we want in our life to enable us to grow.

The Dancer is someone who can move and travel alongside us to be with us in that moment. This is about the quality of being in a relationship with an open, curious companion. The Explorer will go into the dark corners with us and bring new things out into the light. An investigator who isn’t afraid to look deeper into things with us to help us find answers and make sense of things. This is someone who likes a challenge and adventure and is prepared to try out different ideas without trying to control where the final destination is. The Provoker will press our buttons to get us out of our comfort zone, prompt us into new territory, challenge us and provide impetus. We learn through our reactions to them and the situations they create for us and in us.

The Observer is able to remain outside of our story and see our patterns and so can help us to see things and ourselves differently. Someone who doesn’t get drawn into our situation but can reflect things back without judgement. They help us see things from a different perspective. The Believer will hold faith in us, even when we doubt ourselves. It makes a difference to know that someone else trusts us and our capacity, even when it’s hard to do that for ourselves. The Silent Presence is someone who’ll be there beside us, who will listen to us, allow us to say what we need and won’t interrupt and break the silence with their opinions and advice. They will allow us to be as we are.

We also seek those whose wisdom and experiences, specific skills and knowledge can help us learn. The Guide is someone who can lead the way to new places and experiences; enable us and encourage us to explore what we don’t know, without telling us what to do. The Mechanic can bring information and ideas together to reveal the bigger picture and make sense of it because it is not just us, we are many.

All around us there are others who each contribute something different to who we are and who we can become. Who we learn from and grow with, through being in relationship with. Who are challenging us, inspiring us, supporting us or sometimes just being there.

We are not alone. We too do that for others.