How often in conversation with another coach do you find the subject moving to coachees who don’t do what they know they ought to do? It’s happened to me quite often. In a previous post I considered the proposition “What if… coachees were coaches?” and in some ways what I’m going to say today continues on that theme. We all know we’re supposed to believe that coachees have within themselves the answers to their problems, but somehow our keeping hold of that insight gets swamped by ‘interference’…
What do I mean?
Coaching is in many ways more about how a coach deals with his or her own baggage than it is about the coachee. One function of a coach is to hold up that mirror to coachees which helps them perceive themselves in perspective. But what if the coach isn’t really holding up a mirror at all? What if the coach has unwittingly substituted his or her own image?
I’ve written before about how coaching is at bottom based on the fundamental insight that coachees are experts vis-à-vis their own issues – even though they may not yet be fully aware of the fact or able independently to access their ‘wisdom’.
The other day I found myself musing on what this might mean as far as the coaching relationship is concerned. We know that part of the coaching role is to facilitate coachees in accessing their ‘wisdom’. But what riches might coachees themselves be bringing to the table, that we coaches may not yet have acknowledged?
It had been a taxing coaching session. Concentration on listening, feeding back, spotting limiting self-beliefs, challenging… Even, let it be said, dealing with a little voice of frustration whispering in my ear – a voice which faded away soon after it began…
Reflecting afterwards on the session it suddenly struck me. The voice of frustration had faded away so fast. Why? I puzzled over this and a realisation dawned… What if mindfulness were a coaching tool? It certainly looked like it had become so for me. How?
Remember in my very first post I said I’d write another one about the interesting conundrum of being both a coach and a historian? Well, here it is!
I said then that, although the combination is unusual, as far as I’m concerned ‘coach’ and ‘historian’ are actually two sides of the same coin. It’s that ‘relatedness’ that I’d like to tease out here. In the process I’ll be comparing and contrasting both ‘callings’ in a way which (in my view at least) puts into relief two sets of key commonalities that lie at the core of what it means to be a coach and what it means to be a historian.
I was intending to write about potential barriers to coaching, but taking time in the all-too-rare spring morning sunshine, I began watching ‘sleeping’ dandelions awakening under the emerging heat and light of the sun. Potential barriers to coaching… My mind began to wander.
What if… we were coaching flowers? Would we as coaches be the warmth of the sun or the chill of a cold winter wind? Light beaming upon the flowers’ upturned faces, or the shade on a cloudy day when they’d prefer to turn away and sleep?
Sitting watching the dandelions transform, I noticed my thoughts circling round a couple of themes…