Why Haven Coaching?


What can I say that might get you interested in giving the Haven Coaching program a try?

The best way I know to talk about anything is to start with a personal perspective. When I left The Haven after my first Come Alive in 1984, I returned to my little apartment back in my home town, of Richmond Virgina. Thousands of miles away from the circle that had created a lifeline for me as I opened up and shared some terrifying stories, did some breathing and discovered that I wasn’t totally alone. The Come Alive had been transformative in so many ways. However, back home, I suddenly felt even more alone. I had let down some of my armor and felt quite vulnerable. Without the circle of friends, I suddenly found myself doubting my experience and wondering if that place was just some odd little magical island that wasn’t the ‘real’ world at all!

Dianne & Me
Dianne & Me

There wasn’t a Haven Coaching program back then, nor Staying Alives. But I knew I had to talk to someone. I called the registrar, who was at the time, Dianne Anderson. Some of you might have heard of Dianne. She was with The Haven before it opened on Gabriola Island. During those days she was the only registrar, she also covered housekeeping and put everyone into their rooms. She had taken all the programs, had her Diploma in Counseling. When you spoke to Dianne you got straight goods. Well, I don’t that everyone did, but I did. She was really my first experience with a ‘coach’. When I called I wanted to tell how her incredibly lousy my life was back at home. She listened briefly, and then let me know she had other work to do. I quickly asked, “What should I do?”

Dianne pointed out that while she didn’t know me really well, she had seen me as someone who was courageous and was willing to meet people and connect. I started to say something about how that wasn’t really like me.

She stopped and said, “Maybe you hadn’t been, but I saw you operate that way for a week. How did you do that?”

I said, “The breathing helped. I felt more in my body and more open.”

“So have you continued with that?” she asked.

“Well…no.” I hesitantly admitted.

“Why not?” She asked with a humph.

“I’m afraid I’ll feel too much and start crying and not be able to stop.” It did sound odd, even to me, but that’s what popped out of me.

“Really? You actually seemed a bit tight to me. I am surprised just 10 minutes of breathing gets you crying, but maybe you are more loose than I thought.”

“Are you suggesting that I breathe for just ten minutes? I could do that.”

“Look, you have to start somewhere. Try breathing, lying down knees up, breath for 10 minutes. If you scare yourself – just stop. Call again after you have done that every day for a week.”

Now you need to know that Dianne wasn’t being paid to be my coach. So it was a five minute call. She wasn’t trying to uncover something or dive into my issues, she just offered a quick practical reminder of what I could do going forward that would help me feel more open and connected to me.

Dianne became a dear friend and coach of mine over the years. When I was stumbling and really felt like my life sucked and I was a victim to it, I would call her. She always listened and would reflect back what she heard. She would give me five minutes to complain about someone and was quick to ask, “What are you wanting to have happen, and what are you doing that is getting in your way of creating that?”

I never felt like she was against me, but I also never heard her take my side. She’d said, “Okay, I get it, life sucks, and what do you want to do about it? How are you going to respond and what are you doing that might be keeping you stuck?

Years later having taking a number of coaching programs, I realize Dianne was my first non-athletic coach. She helped me integrate all of the important lessons I learned at The Haven into my life. She used the communication model with me. She told me how she interpreted things and checked it out. She was curious. And maybe most importantly, she held be as able, meaning she assumed I could and would act on my own behalf and that I had the resources to find my own answers.

That is coaching, at it’s best, in my opinion.

It isn’t easy to be a part of something so profound and transformative and then go home to your life as it was before. It helped me to have someone who provided reminders and helped me begin the process of integrating new ways of being into my day-to-day life.

So I was excited to start the Haven Coaching program. It’s like providing everyone a chance to have a Dianne. Someone who really knows the value and the possibility that the models that are fundamental to The Haven can offer to your life. Someone to remind you that breathing isn’t just a “mattress event.” (You have to have gone to The Haven to get this reference!)  Someone to let you know how or if you might be getting in your own way. Someone who believes you are able and knows that you have the resources within you, even when you might forget. That to me is what a Haven Coach provides.

Just to let you know that I have been coached by each of these fine Haven coaches, and each was unique, but all offered me a fresh way of looking at a situation in my life and finding new ways to approach it. I am thrilled with this team and hope you might consider giving coaching a try! I did.