Do your remember eating your first pomegranate? There is a bitter crusty skin that has to be carefully navigated to open up to the sweet and juicy seeds hidden within. 

So too are the walls caregivers build during their careers that protect them.  The danger is that what gives life, one's values and strengths remain hidden and even suffocated by the very walls that are built to protect.   

My  love of the pomegranate comes from my spiritual roots with the  Hospitaller Brothers of St. John of God whose logo is the pomegranate.  While there are many accounts and definitions of the pomegranate in  ancient myths and art forms, in Christian mythology, the pomegranate is a  symbol of hospitality. As the pomegranate opens itself and offers its  seeds of eternal wisdom and hope for the future, the process of coaching  is to facilitate the client to rediscover and reclaim his or her inner  strengths and values that lead to personal and professional growth. 

Hospitality and Coaching

 Being  hospitable is a necessary attribute of a coach.  An ancient symbol of  hospitality and later a symbol of compassion is the pomegranate that  bursts open at the right time and place to give of itself completely.  And so does the effective coach who listens attentively, allows the  client to set the agenda, asks difficult questions, and affirms the  client’s strengths, growth and processes.   

The  coach can only be present or hospitable and therefore empathetic and  compassionate, if there is openness to the experiences of the client. To  be hospitable means to be present in such a way that the client  discovers the capacity for and the possibility of growth and an increase  in human dignity through the trusting encounter with the coach.  And concurrently, the coach in partnership with the client rediscovers  new learning and teachable moments. Being hospitable is the ability to  welcome the client and to accept and be present in such a way that  provides safety and recognition to where the client is. Being hospitable  requires the ability to welcome the client’s doubts and fears,  uncertainties and vulnerabilities, emotions and strengths. This openness  creates acceptance, presence, and a non judgmental attitude. As a  wounded healer, one who knows limitations as well as the power of inner  strengths, the coach is able to facilitate and build relationships that  lead to healing and transformation.