The Venting Session. We all need one from time to time. When a project asks more of us than we think we can give, or the people involved don’t match our expectations, sometimes all we can do is find someone who will listen and let our feelings pour out.
The trick is finding someone who will help you keep that flood of emotions from washing away all of your goals and good intentions.
Kate, a nursing student in Alabama, spent a lot of time telling Hayley, her InsideTrack coach, that she didn’t think she could finish her degree. She’d get frustrated by a professor’s approach, or annoyed by administrative details, and pledge to make that day in the program her last.
“We probably had twenty meetings out of thirty when she said she was going to quit,” Hayley recalled. But somehow Hayley always helped Kate take the spotlight off her challenges, and focus it instead on her aspirations for the future.
“I would always say, ‘do you really want to quit?’ And after twenty minutes, she would say, ‘no. I’m going to finish this no matter what,’” Hayley noted.
What happened during those twenty minutes that kept Kate on track toward completing her degree? Hayley didn’t just listen. She repeated Kate’s words back to her.
“I would identify for her that she was venting. That was fine for coaching, but my goal was always to steer her toward a positive outcome,” Hayley said. She would say to Kate, “‘You’ve been venting for ten minutes. Does that still feel useful? Or are you stuck?’”
Hayley also asked Kate questions about what would happen after she quit the program — questions like, if you leave this nursing program, are your classes going to transfer? What if the next nursing program is just as hard? What will you do then?
“She was able to filter out, through talking, that the goal for her was to finish that class,” Hayley explained.
When Kate got stumped by a particular question on the final for one of her toughest classes, she thought about walking out. But she didn’t. Afterward, she told Hayley that thinking about what they would discuss during coaching encouraged her to complete the exam. Kate passed that test, and went on to graduate from the program.
“A lot of times, people don’t want to quit,” Hayley reflected. “But they don’t have anyone asking them the right questions.”
Student name has been changed