As some of you might know, in 2013 I adopted a cat. Well, actually SHE forced me to adopt her. While you can read the story of how she invaded my life here, in this post I want to reflect on the fact that cats and coaching definitely do not get along.
I practice Linguistic Empathy and I expect you to do the same. Please bear with me if my English is not perfect.
Because what happened is that in 2013 I also certified and started my business as a coach.
With time, I learned to manage my coaching sessions better. I understood what is most important both for the client and for me, and created a routine to make the coaching ambiance warm and safe.
One of my rules is obviously to be a 100% concentrated on the client. In order to achieve this I have a set of rules, including turning off the mobile phone, closing the door after telling anyone at home not to disturb me for any reason, and make sure that no unexpected visitors show up during the session.
My cat has not understood my rules. What I have understood though is that cats and coaching cannot go together.
There are a couple of scenarios concerning my cat when I start my session. She is either sleeping (usually in my same room because she wants to be with me all the time) or outside (whenever she is lucky to have a garden).
In the first case scenario, I pray that she won’t wake up during the session, which is luckily often the case. If she does, she usually focuses her eyes on me, meows, and jumps on my table with a determination that only felines can have.
You can imagine that I cannot interrupt the session to move her or kick her out. Even if I did, she would sit outside the door screaming to be taken back.
Because this is what she does when she is sleeping somewhere else and wakes up, or when she returns from her walks outside: she comes straight to me, and if she finds my door closed, she does not stop meowing until I open the door. And it’s not a gentle kitten’s meowing – it’s a terrible low and deep scream that distracts me and gives my client the creeps.
You understand my dilemma: do I keep her in the room, hoping she won’t wake up, and risk to have her jumping on my desk and entering the visual camp of my client? Or do I keep her out, risking that she starts screaming like someone were skinning her?
Recently I experienced something even worse. My husband is working in Geneva, and I joined him, with the cat, of course. We rented a short-term apartment that was nicely furnished, with lots of great temptations for cats: leather sofas, little hanging objects, straw baskets… The cat is not allowed out of the apartment because it would be too risky for her, so she gets VERY nervous. Whenever she can, she attacks the lovely pieces of furniture.
Before Christmas I started a new coaching programme, which for a variety of reasons was very important to me. We went through the usual: the cat was sleeping on her scratching post, I did not want to wake her up to lock her in the other room, so I hoped she would sleep all through the session.
Of course 15 minutes into it, she woke up, realised I was busy, and made her plan. I was deep into listening to my client when I heard the typical noise of nails scratching the leather of the sofa. This session was luckily conducted via WhatsApp, so I could stand up and rush to the sofa killer, pushing her away, while trying to be as silent as possible.
When I returned to my place, she came to file her complaint: she jumped on the table and started meowing right into the phone. Luckily my client is a very nice (and understanding) person, and she happily exclaimed: “Oh, You have a cat!”.
Yes, I do, and she is ruining my career!