…it can get pretty stuffy in here. Sure, another door will open…we all know that. That’s why clichés have endured since the beginning of time. But really and truly, how much do you love being told some peppy platitude when you’re feeling kicked around?

The subject of trite clichés has come up a number of times over the past several days: in today’s Globe and Mail; in a conversation with a job-seeker who is less desperate to find work than she is to receive some MEANINGFUL input from friends and family; and finally, from a life coaching skeptic. He asked if coaching wasn’t really about “lobbing cream puffs like ‘every cloud has a silver lining’”. Ummm…sure it is…which is why it’s so effective.

Indeed, coaching is rooted in empowerment. Ergo…optimism (which is why it resonates so well with me). HOWEVER…no good coach worth his/her salt would suggest that if you’re handed a lemon that you should make lemonade. Why?

That’s called giving advice. We don’t do that. Consultants do. And it may or may not work as it may or may not be resonant with you. And besides, go ahead and try to make a living on 25 cents a glass.

What might we ask if you’ve been handed a lemon? What’s good, bad, ugly, or possible about this lemon? What’s available now that you have this lemon? Depending on the client, it could be the discovery that extract from the rind makes a wonder fertilizer for tropical plants, or perhaps it's the inspiration for a blockbuster movie....heck, it may even BE that making lemonade was an unrequited dream. And blessed be, if there’s nothing to the lemon for the client, they can choose to pitch the lemon...and what that action means to them. It’s about choice, learning and action. Not a cream puff in the mix.

So…if you really want to help a friend who’s lost a job, suffered a breakup or is generally in the dumps (oops…cliché alert), please don’t tell them to look on the bright side. If they’re important to you, feel the suckiness of their situation with them, ask how you can help (from a genuine and sincere place) and if that’s not possible, put them in touch with a life coach. I can hook you up.

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