The Meaning Of Snow

SSA41474Today the sun is shining and I really do think Spring has decided to get cracking. However, my thoughts keep wandering back to the snow and the impact it had on me, my clients and even a few lessons for my coaching practice.

To begin, there was the novelty: snow is comparatively rare in the UK and to get so much before Christmas is unusual. The landscape softens. Ugly aspects are purified, covered, obliterated. That local eysore is granted a new persona through the gift of snow.

Then reality begins to bite: I can’t get to work; my clients are snowed in. life becomes stressful – an effort. Every journey needs major preparations: snow shovel, hot drinks, blankets. ‘You are trying to get where? And to do what? No chance!’ Family celebrations are put on hold. People grow weary of the sheer effort of trying to impose some vestiges of normality on a situation that demands a high tolerance of ambiguity. We are not used to suspending our disbelief for so long. We like certainty. We prefer to arrange meetings in the belief that we can get to them without worrying that we shall be held in the suffocating embrace of a snowdrift.

As a coach, there are wonderful metaphors here to explore. But what also strikes me is not metaphorical or allegorical at all – just reality. People are tired. We are emerging from a long, cold, disrupted Winter. We are through the first quarter and only now are the very first green buds beginning to show. Spring flowers are between 2 and 4 weeks late, depending on where you live in the UK. We are faced with a rich mix of uncertainties: political, recessional, personal and financial.  As a coach I need to bring the very best of myself to the service of my clients. My energies, my ‘signature presence’ is important if my clients are to get the very best of our sessions. David Megginson gave a most thought provoking session at a Critical Research day in Bristol earlier this year. The topic was ‘Aliveness in Coaching’ and it has just dawned on me that my own sense of aliveness is being challenged by many of the factors I have just described. That will not do me, or my clients any good. Time to step out of Winter and into Spring: bring on the daffodils.