Recovering people are complete in the present moment and yet continuously changing.

This fourth principle of Recovery Coaching is probably in some ways my favourite if I was asked to choose.
This principle is, in many ways, a paradox. It is a paradox in particular because it requires us to do two things simultaneously that seem to be contradictory.

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Recovery develops through relationship with self, others, systems and Communities

The idea of relationship is woven through our existence. We describe ourselves as ‘in’ relationship with pretty, much everything. And we are. This idea of relatedness is foundational to the idea of recovery.

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To become a professional Recovery Coach requires considerable commitment. It requires study, learning, practice, reflection and a considerable amount of change of yourself.  In fact to become any kind of Coach, Executive, Business, Organisational, Life Coach asks much of the person who wishes to become skilful and proficient. 
Not everyone agrees with this idea.

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Principle 2 states – The Recovery process increases a Recoverees’ self-knowledge and ability to make choices.

How do we work? What makes us tick? Why do we do the things we do? Make the choices we make? 
These are deep and profound questions that can take us far and wide into what it is to be human.
When Recovery starts, however that is and however that is described by a person, something else also changes in relation to the idea of this Recovery.


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Goals, Gaols Goals. Most goals are pointless. Pointless because they are meaningless. There is reason for that. Beware practitioners, therapists, counsellors, coaches who ask you to talk about goals before you and they know what your actual big compelling vision for your life is. For without clear compelling vision to work towards goals are pretty much meaningless.
In the work I do the word gets used all over the place. There is some confusion about what a goal is. 


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The practice of Recovery Coaching rests on 4 principles.

Principe Number 1 is “Recovery always comes from the Recoveree” Recovery Coaches work with their clients to support then in changing themselves and their lives in pursuit of the person they are coaching’s idea and vision of Recovery.

We see Recovery as a process and individually created context that starts from the moment a person makes a statement of intent to themselves to Recover from something. In working with many people over the years there always seems to be, or have been, a moment that when they decided that something important had to change in their lives around a health or behaviour challenge, that they wanted to Recover.

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Which way shall we look?

The media is full of Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Open before us is that place where ignorance, discrimination, dualistic thinking and judgment lives, fired up by prejudice. Much is about to be made of the facts around his final months and days. And of course, no of us know all of the facts and we never will. For his truth has gone with him and the rest of us can only speculate.

But how can we speculate? Who of us knew his heart? Who knew what his world was like? Perhaps a few of those intimate to him. And perhaps not even they.

If this loss and those many many others that have gone before show us something it is that maybe, just maybe, we want to ask some different questions about peoples suffering. And I am not even sure I ought to use the word suffering. Was he suffering? Easy to say he was. But then we don’t know. Maybe he was, maybe he would not have described it that way.

The total abstinent grouping, the fundamentalists, will make much of this. The disease of addiction will have been seen to claim another victim and this interpretation is already feeding into the dualistic dumbing down of the complexities of what this condition, very human, actually is.

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The Nature of the Connection

This piece was published on RSA comment.
I was sitting down to write this comment piece when the phone rang. A gentleman (let’s call him John, and sorry to the John’s out there) who I think was calling from overseas tried very hard, in the opening 30 seconds of the call, to verify my name, postcode, marital status, and interest me in sorting out the problem he was certain I had with my laptop. Miracle of miracles, John said they somehow knew that my laptop was in dire need and on the verge of total collapse, complete data loss and endless viral attacks; all of which could be averted by signing up for their amazingly low priced (I don’t think so) maintenance contract!  I kind of nearly shouted something rude down the phone then just said ‘Ciao’ and put the phone down on John. How rude of me. Ruffled I sat down to restart this piece and realised that this was a perfect example of what I am about to write about. Bear with me.
Connection is a buzz word. Get connected! Let’s connect! We connected last night! It is used in all kinds of contexts and covers as many types of situations as can be imagined. From my perch as a coach there are three components to human connection.


First there must be a method or structure of communication; think phone, TV, email, newspaper, blog, mutually agreed appointment to which you both turn up, even carrier pigeon and so on. (John used the landline). Then there is the chosen language, the written or spoken word, the sound, music, the code if you like (John used a base of English with some quirky colloquial bits and pieces). Finally and most importantly there is the nature of the whole connection itself.
Coaching is primarily concerned with this nature of the connection as the departure point or bedrock of the coaching relationship. The key component is the underlying core beliefs the parties about to communicate hold about each other. These core beliefs colour the whole relationship. If you think a person is incompetent then no matter how much you try to mask that belief it percolates as a subtle energy through the relationship, informing the feeling and nature of how you connect with the person. If you hold a person as creative, resourceful and whole (as I do in the coach – client relationship) then this also impacts on the energy of the relationship.
John made many assumptions in his approach to me. That I had spare time, inclination, was stupid, malleable, ignorant about computers, fearful and weak willed and perhaps most insulting of all, stupid enough to not back up my data. Ok I have not done so for a few weeks but all the same…..really! These assumptions are a product of what’s underneath them, how John was holding me as a fellow human being. Clearly he was not holding me as creative, resourceful and whole.
So whether in the doctors surgery with the receptionist, at work with your manager or in the corner shop or with the guy who tries to flog you a maintenance contract for your laptop the nature of the connection is what defines our feelings and responses to all these interactions regardless of the actual ability of the doctor, the skills of your manager or the quality of the goods in the shop (maybe John does offer a good service, we’ll never know).
I attended the RSA Whole Person Recovery project seminar in Peterborough a few weeks ago as I specialise in recovery coaching. In the main those attending were managing, developing and supplying various services to the community focussed around recovery from substance use and addiction. You could say that the focus of the speakers and the break out groups was centred on consideration of the structure and language of the connection to their service users. Important and valuable work but what I would have liked to have been able to spend a lot more time on was the nature of the way all these services and service users were connected, for it is in the nature of the connection where the real power and impact of these services can be accessed for service users.
And this is where the real power of understanding and working with the nature of the connection lies. Often we already have valuable and well financed services and resources and this may not be perceived by those who use those services. This perception is fundamentally shaped by the nature of the connection between those responsible for running and delivering those services with each other and then with the community they serve.
The nature of the connection is the foundation on which we build a coaching relationship. Once this nature is created it provides a launch pad for real achievement, personal transformation and fulfilment. Given what the RSA stands for and the focus and activity of its fellows I hope to bring coaching in the form of an RSA Coaching Network into the heart of what the RSA does and supports it’s fellows to do. If we all pay attention deeply enough to the nature of how we are connected and if we can let that foundation be creativity, resourcefulness and wholeness then even greater positive changes can be made.
I am sorry I have given John such a hard time. My wife says he’s just trying to make a living. If he calls back I might just offer him a few coaching sessions!


Anthony Eldridge Rogers (FRSA) is a coach, (recovery, business, leadership) Recovey Coach Trainer & Social Entrepreneur.