How to Shift your Mentality to Empower Yourself and Others
Rescuer to Coach
Can you shift from Rescuer to Coach? Coaches help others to be their best selves. How are you perceiving the other person? Are you seeing them as a victim or as a creator? Coaches inquire in support of creating outcomes, assessing current realities, and identifying and committing to action. How do you shift into the Coach mentality? Curiosity is the foundational skill for the Coach mentality. Coaches are curious and listen deeply as supportive co-creating partners in the discovery process.
Rescuer to Coach
Do you constantly feel like you have to step in and help the people in your life? Have you found yourself telling others what they should do? Do you feel rejected when others don’t want or need your help? Deep down do you have a fear that you might not be needed? Do you find yourself feeling sorry for others? If any of these statements ring true to you, you may be stuck in a rescuer mentality.
People with a rescuer mentality feel as though they must save others from harm. You may feel as though everyone else is in need of your help- your spouse, your coworkers, or even your family or friends. Even though there might be things that others can do to help fix their situation, you don’t actually think they are capable of doing so. So you are needed to swoop in and rescue them from the situation.
In addition, you might take things into your own hands and feel a sense of superiority over the victim. You might think thoughts like, “I must save them from this situation” or “They clearly aren’t capable, so I’ll have to step in and help them”. By showing up in this way, you are fostering dependency and indispensability. You create a situation where you alone are needed. This is the primary source of your self worth and also keeps the victim in that mentality as well . If you have felt this way, you may have taken on a rescuer mentality.
A Prosecutor’s primary need is to feed their feelings of self worth by rescuing others. They do this by creating dependency and by doing so, you feel “worthy”.
The 3 core beliefs
The 3 core beliefs of someone who is in this Rescuer mentality are:
- 1- I must save others from harm.
- 2- If I do good, then I will be “worthy”.
- 3- I feel sorry for them (victim)
When you embrace these 3 core beliefs, it leads you to feel superior to others and responsible for saving them. And in turn, you may even sacrifice the truth to protect others. You show up with an “I know best” attitude that requires your assistance. You may even find yourself saying, “you’re not okay, but I am – so I must help you.” You also relieve the victim of any responsibility and only feeds your desire to feel capable.
Why would we stay stuck?
When this Rescuer mentality is such a disempowering way of thinking and acting, why would you consider staying in there?
The Rescuer role that may be the most difficult to transform because of the positive social rewards that are heaped upon “helpers.”
If the Rescuer role is the mentality you slip into easily, you may already know the effects of being preoccupied with how you can help and please others. You may also not be able to see your pattern because you are too close to it. Nor are you able to see how your intervening stops others from learning and growing in their own way. If you do for others what they can do for themselves (at least eventually), you train people to rely on you, which ultimately disempowers them and creates dependency upon you.
How a Rescuer Shows up
Here are a few examples of how the Rescuer can show-up:
- A boss who delegates a job to their team and then intervenes and does the task anyway, so as to not overload the team;
- A parent who interferes in their adult children’s lives, without permission, hoping to prevent their children from suffering; or
- An executive who can’t say “no,” so they say yes to more projects that the business plan allows, causing their staff to be overloaded and exhausted.
You are showing up this way because at some level it has been serving you in some way. It helps you feel superior to others and fulfills your need for self approval. It also creates a false sense of connection when the victim is dependent on you. This mentality may have been a coping mechanism that was learned and reinforced. The downside to this mentality is that you feel you are not worthy unless you are rescuing. It enables a victim mentality in others that leaves them feeling helpless. It also may bring feelings of guilt and anxiousness when you are not engaged in rescuing.
Once you’ve recognized this mentality, how can you break free from the role of Rescuer? You learn to become a Coach instead!
Change the Story- Become a Coach!
Becoming a Coach instead of a Rescuer starts with changing the story you are telling yourself! With a simple shift in the story you are telling yourself, you can shift from Rescuer Mentality to Coach Mentality. You can shift from dependent to empowered! Let’s take a look at the narrative you tell yourself when you are in a rescuer role, you ask yourself things like:
They need my help.
They are not okay.
But I am nice and I will fix them.
If you are ready to shift from Rescuer mentality to Coach mentality, you need to change the narrative you are telling yourself! Then you can move from telling to asking powerful questions and allowing the victim to shift into a creator mentality.
To make this shift into a coach mentality, this is the single most powerful question to ask yourself:
How am I seeing the other person?
Coaches help others to be their best selves. So how are you perceiving the other person? Are you seeing them as a victim or as a creator? Asking this one powerful question leads you to other powerful questions of self and others:
What do I want?
What do You want?
What do we want?
Coaches inquire in support of creating outcomes, assessing current realities, and identifying and committing to Baby Steps.
Curiosity is Key
Curiosity is the foundational skill for the Coach mentality. Coaches are curious and listen deeply as supportive co-creating partners in the discovery process. Whereas a Rescuer thinks their ideas and ways of helping and intervening is best (even when not asked). As a Coach, you explore and investigate alternatives and new ideas. You and those you support listen to learn and discern options for action and actually relish the “not knowing” what will arise.
The Rescuer blocks learning and growth in others. If you do for others what they can do for themselves, eventually you train people to rely on you, which disables them, creating dependency on you.
The Coach, on the other hand, sees the other as a Creator (whether or not they see themselves that way) and as powerful and capable of discerning and clarifying their own needs and desires.
Core Beliefs of a Coach
Here are three core beliefs that guide the Coach role. (And you do not need to be a professional coach to embrace this role).
Belief #1: I have faith in the wisdom that lies within each human being.
The Coach has faith in the Creator essence that lies within each human being. Knowing this, a Coach allows time for the individual’s unique learning process to unfold, while holding them as ultimately whole, complete, and capable of making their own choices.
Belief #2: I trust the discovery process.
A Coach trusts the discovery process, which begins with curiosity, and holds the tension while something that is not yet clear or understood, emerges. As clarity comes, they assist in discerning the way forward, partnering and supporting others as they move toward what they want.
Belief #3: I leave the power with others as they clarify what they want.
A Coach understands that when people discover their own path, they are more creative and innovative. The “aha” moments that arise from unearthing what matters most, clears away their confusion and opens them to new possibilities that actually generates energy for action.
Whether in your personal or professional life, embrace your Coach role in supporting others to clarify what they most desire and want in life. And as a Creator, open yourself to being a Coach – and being coached!
How can you shift from rescuer to coach mentality today?
The Steps to Shift:
To get unstuck from the Rescuer’s obsession with pleasing and helping, here are some steps that will support the Coach in you to emerge:
- Tell the truth to yourself about your desire to increase your self-worth by keeping others happy.
- Let go of your need to control situations. Rescuers believe that those in the Persecutor role try to control situations. The truth is Rescuers also justify their controlling behavior under the cloak of “I am only trying to help.”
- Ask others what they need. A Coach encourages others to clarify and declare what they want and the Baby Steps they will take.
- Deeply listen. Others will tell you what they want or need once you show your ability to listen – especially in response to #3, as they clarify the situation for themselves.
- Learn to wait, holding the tension of not knowing, as others reflect and gain insight into their needs and how to move forward. (This is so hard for Rescuers!)
- Let others know you are practicing the Rescuer-to-Coach shift so you won’t surprise them with your new behavior.
If you are ready to shift from Rescuer mentality to Coach mentality, change the narrative you are telling yourself! Then you can move from telling to asking powerful questions and allowing the victim to shift into a creator mentality.
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