Coaching Won’t Help, I’m Not The Problem

I hear this a lot – both from prospective clients and from people with whom I work who have never considered coaching for themselves but who feel obligated to provide their personal opinions of my work when they find out I’m a life coach.

According to them the reason why coaching won’t help: I’m not happy at work, but it has nothing to do with me. The problem is the administration, my coworkers, my patients, the healthcare system, for profit medicine, drug companies, hospital systems, boarding, overcrowding, nursing shortages, the current presidential administration, etc.  I could probably fill an entire blog with additional items for that list.

And I get it.  Working in healthcare right now isn’t easy.  There are a lot of obstacles that we face every day that feel like they’re making our jobs more difficult than they need to be.  I often find myself on shift feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, abandoned, and, occasionally downright angry.

That’s right.  It’s not all red wine and roses for me.  Even with a daily commitment to my thought work, it’s easy to let my brain start playing the blame game. It’s tempting to point fingers and there are some shifts where feeling angry at the system just feels better than the devastation I would feel if I focused on my perceived lack of ability to care for my patients the way I’d like to.

The problem is that wallowing in that emotional space only serves to make me feel worse.  It doesn’t help and, when I’m at work taking care of my patients from a place of raging against the system, I find I don’t even provide the best care I can while working within the current system.  I rush.  I snap at my coworkers.  I don’t listen as much as I’d like to.  I’m looking for a fight when what I’m there to do is help with healing. 

Thinking like this allowed me to become a victim of my circumstances.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t identify as a victim.  Coaching has helped me learn that it’s not the system or the administration or how few nurses I have on any given shift that is responsible for my feelings.  It’s my thinking and I have control of that.

Then I hear “Oh, so you’re suggesting we just change our thinking and then everything will be great?  Isn’t that just throwing your hands in the air and saying that there’s nothing wrong?  Are you trying to turn us all into Stepford Wives?”

Not at all.

What I’m trying to do is help you separate everything that is happening around you, your circumstances, the neutral facts of your life that you have no control over, from how you feel.

I’m trying to give you back the power over your own emotional experience.  I’m trying to teach you how to improve your life right now without waiting for the hospital administration to do a damn thing.

If, like me, you plan to remain in healthcare for the foreseeable future, wouldn’t you love to have a set of tools to help make that experience more enjoyable?

Right now, I’ve been doing a lot of work to keep my mind present for the things I love most about my job.  I love sitting at the bedside.  I love holding someone’s hand when they’re in pain or as I deliver bad news.  I love laughing with a husband and wife who have just waited 8 hours to hear me say that everything is ok and they can go home. 

None of the things that I listed above can stop me from my enjoyment of those moments but letting myself get wound up in the blame game certainly could.  If you’d like to learn more about how to do this, please sign up for my free course How To Feel Better On Your Next Shift. You can also email me to learn more at