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Welcome back to the Journey Podcast! In this episode, Lianne, Terry and Sarah talk about the difference between a coaching friendship and a traditional friendship. They explain how a coaching friendship is structured in nature with intentional goals in mind whereas a traditional friendship is more spontaneous.
Transcription of Podcast
Sarah: Welcome, welcome, welcome. Welcome back to the Journey podcast. I’m Sarah and I’m here with Terry and Lianne, I’m going to let you introduce this podcast.
Your life, your journey, starts now.
Lianne: So today we have an interesting topic. Journey is all about relationships, and Journey is also about an intentional relationship between a coach and someone else. And so I guess the question would be, what is the difference between a coaching relationship and a friendship relationship?
Terry: I think both of them are really important. They’re both… It’s very important that we have friendship-friendships, friendship kind of relationships. But I think it’s also important at times in our life especially, to have coaching type relationships.
Terry: The difference as I see it is, that a coaching relationship is a little bit more formal. It’s not like a mentoring relationship where there’s a person on the other side of the relationship that’s an expert and there’s kind of a change in the balance of power and that sort of thing. A coaching relationship is more… It’s kind of like an intentional friendship. I think it is something that helps people… There’s an anticipation of some kind of growth versus just two people talking to just have a friendship.
Lianne: Well I think one thing you could say for sure is that the Journey coaching is a structured kind of a situation. So you are having a pretty good quality conversation through it because it is structured and it’s kind of drawing out. Whereas a lot of times in friendship you’re just kind of… Things are happening spontaneously so it has a little bit different purpose and that may be one of the big differences.
Terry: Sure. I think when you talk about structure, I think the goals… Most of the time a coaching relationship has some kind of goals involved. You know, you’re setting the goal of learning more about each other, or you’re setting the goal… In Journey one of the first goals we set is to hear each other’s story or to understand the story that the person is coming in with. So much of what we find out about our own strengths and our own weaknesses and even our own worldview comes from the story our life has made… It’s kind of like each life is a book and the narrative or the story that goes along with what’s gotten us to this place. In coaching, there’s a goal to that, we’re not just telling the story. Our goal is to try to find something out about us that we may not have known before.
Sarah: And with Lianne being my coach, I think that what’s been really… I think what I would say about it being different between friendship and just general coaching is I have a fairly easy time making friends, but I feel like the word that I would describe the coaching situation with Lianne was safe. I felt safe in my relationship with Lianne. It’s kind of like I’m talking behind her back and she’s right here.
Lianne: I’m listening.
Terry: What was it about that relationship with Lianne as your coach that made you feel safe?
Sarah: Well, she was transparent with me. I think she was very nervous because… Was I one of the first people that you… You didn’t feel like… It almost is almost like you didn’t feel equipped to do it.
Lianne: Yeah, I think you’re right. I think I felt like I didn’t know how to do it, but as we went through it, I think I might have called Terry with a question about just one kind of bad habit I felt like I had, which is trying to make people feel like we all have these problems or whatever, you know, I wanted to do that, but that wasn’t really my role. My role was to listen and let you talk. So I think-
Sarah: Well and I really appreciate it because you always seemed embarrassed when you would tell me, “I don’t feel equipped to do this.” It was almost like you were like, “I’m not ready to do this and I don’t know if I’m the best person.” And I was like, “No, I really… I’m happy with this” and everything like that.
Sarah: I think that that transparency really was huge and helpful. And I don’t know if I’d say maybe it’s just my personality, but I think that that’s just life. On one of our other podcasts, we talk about building real relationships and you were really honest and real with me that this is out of my comfort zone and that transparency helped me be more transparent with you.
Sarah: I don’t really have that hard of a time being transparent with people. It made me trust you more because I felt like you would say what you really thought and then I didn’t feel like, “Well what is Lianne really thinking?” because I knew you would… I mean I feel like you would say it, and therefore I felt safe.
Terry: Well and I think that what you bring up, both of you brought up, is really an important piece that we may need to do another podcast on that specific thing of, you know, what if somebody feels like they might want to be a coach but they don’t really know if they’ve got what it takes or they don’t really feel equipped. We can have a whole other conversation or probably several conversations on answering that question.
Terry: I think it’s really neat that the very thing that you thought probably wasn’t going to make you a good coach was the very thing that helped Sarah feels safe in her role, in her relationship with you.
Sarah: And then with the friendship, because it’s been a year now and so Lianne walks in here to podcast, we haven’t really talked very much in the last month or two since really around Christmas time or whatever. I’m just excited to see you again and you walk in and I’m like, “Lianne!” You know, and when you see me you’re like, “Hwy, Sarah!” and I just, I really appreciate that relationship. And the funny thing, what’s really cool about this, regarding the friendship thing, is I knew you for several years because you’re good friends with my parents, and they would always rave about you.
Sarah: It’s no secret that Terry Carlson is my mom and then my dad, Jeff Carlson is not recording with us right now, but he’s here in the room and he’s doing a little dance or whatever.
Sarah: So yeah, but they would rave about you. And it wasn’t until we had that relationship that we started building that relationship… I mean it was just… The relationship that you and I have would not exist if it were not for Journey coaching.
Terry: Well I think you’re kind of blurring the lines. Our topic today is what’s the difference? You’re kind of blurring the line between the two, but I think that’s a really good example of how coaching can become a friendship. You know, we’re not talking about counseling relationship where you have to maintain professional boundaries and all that stuff. Coaching is a much more peer-to-peer kind of a situation. I think it’s beautiful that you and Lianne have built a friendship out of the coaching relationship.
Lianne: I think that’s kind of really an important thing to emphasize, is that working with somebody with the coaching relationship. It’s reassuring to know that you are not expected to be the expert in the room as the coach and that the other person is just as much. It’s, it is very much an even relationship. That is where with even friendships aren’t always that way. So it’s designed specifically to be fairly even, reciprocal kind of a-
Sarah: I would not have had a great, I really don’t think I would have had as good of an experience with Journey if Lianne came across as like a professional.
Terry: Right. I think that’s a good point.
Sarah: Well, what were you going to say though?
Terry: Well, I think the coaches… But the analogy that I was going to use is, and we use the word Journey to describe this type of coaching for a reason.
Terry: It’s like somebody going along… it’s almost like Lianne has been, she took a journey to California and she came back and she said, “Hey Sarah, do you want to go to California? I’ve been there, let me show you how.”
Lianne: Yeah, exactly.
Terry: And it’s not like she’s an expert on California, but at the same time she’s been down the road a little bit. She went through the coaching herself first.
Lianne: So one of the big important distinctions between just a casual friendship and a coaching relationship is the intentionality.
Sarah: Absolutely. I think that’s a really good way to describe it.
Lianne: And I actually felt like that was actually a surprising benefit for me because had I not had that intentional… I guess you can kind of get into friendships where you kind of chatter, you talk about things and that person reminds you of something else you were going to talk about and they have this interesting story. I feel like the intentionality kind of gave me a purpose, had me slow down and then to listen and I just felt like it just is a really high quality conversation that way, don’t you Sarah?
Sarah: I agree. And also another way I would describe this is kind of like the world quieted down for… I knew that we would have that one-on-one time. We went to a lot of coffee shops and restaurants or we’d be at my office where that time was set aside. You were very gracious that you came towards me because we live probably 45 minutes away, 30 minutes away from each other. Time just quieted down and it was dedicated time to just spend time together, think, and process things that have happened in my life, that happened in your life. Moving forward on things, working in our strengths instead of trying to fix all of our weaknesses but working in our strengths and stuff. It was just a really neat time.
Terry: Well, and I think the intentionality is really important because it’s where the intentionality comes in is kind of the goals. I’m not talking about really strict rigid goals, but the goal of coaching is to really facilitate or to encourage growth. If you think about it, I mean you really had, you had some insights into your own leadership skills and stuff by when you went through coaching.
Sarah: Yeah, and that was amazing too because I fought against doing coaching. My parents, you know… My mom’s the one who wrote Journey coaching with Mike. My dad’s the one that’s been pushing this and I thought, “I don’t need to do this. This is just how I was raised.” But I did, even as myself who pushed back against doing it for years, I still learned a lot. I still built a really great relationship with Lianne and it really was very worthwhile, especially as I was going through a lot of changes in my life last year at the same time too. So yeah, it was really good.
Terry: So I think facilitating growth is probably one of the biggest benefits of going through coaching versus just having a friendship.
Sarah: Yeah. And as someone who’s been on a growth, what would you say? Growth mindset, growth projectory, for years. I mean my mom who wrote the book has raised me this way, and it still helped push me forward. I think you never stop moving forward, right? I mean isn’t that the thing, as soon as you stop and you stand in one place, you’re going to go backwards instead of, you know.
Terry: Well, and I think you can even… I think there’s even a benefit. We haven’t actually had anybody to do this yet because Journey isn’t that old of a process. But I think it would be a benefit to maybe 5, 10, 20 years later going through the process again and just seeing how has my story changed, how has my journey changed? What do I want to set as new goals for growth in the future?
Sarah: That’s even long. I would say every year. I mean it’s been a year since I went through it and I’m kind of like, well I mean maybe I should take someone else through it because you kind of go through it at the same time together again. I probably should take someone through it now. I think it’s just… My dad’s over here nodding up and down really heavily or whatever. So-
Terry: One thing we know for sure is that each coaching relationship between a couple people, two couples, whatever, is going to be unique and it’s going to all be dependent on their needs and where they’re at. And so I think-
Sarah: And different personalities too.
Terry: …different personalities, combinations, chemistry, what part of the country are you from probably changes it even, so I would say that the differences… the intentionality we’ve talked about, we’ve talked about the growth. Also, there’s no reason they have to be mutually exclusive because you do develop a pretty good friendship once you realize the things you have in common. You develop a good friendship with the people you coach, that’s a fairly strong possibility.
Sarah: So we should probably wrap up this podcast. Thanks for listening in. Please like and subscribe. You can find us at journeycoaching.org you can also find us on Facebook and Instagram, Spotify, iTunes, and yeah, reach out to us. Give us a holler and tell us your thoughts. Maybe we’ll include your questions on another podcast.
Terry: That’s a great idea.
Sarah: Yeah in the future. So yeah, thanks for listening. We’ll talk to you later, bye.
Thank you for listening. Tune in next time and make sure you like and subscribe. Visit us at journeycoaching.org and check us out on Facebook and Instagram. Start your own journey at journeycoaching.org.
Your life, your journey, starts now.