Coaching Moments

"Coaching Moments"
takes a thoughtful look at how coaching can be interwoven into our daily

Journals and Juries  

by Janice
Hunter, IAC-CC

All things and all men, so to speak,
call on us with small or loud voices. They want us to listen. They want us to
understand their intrinsic claims, their justice of being. But we can only give
it to them through the love that listens. ~Paul Tillich

The day I received it, I let out a
despairing, wailing “No!” My husband rushed in and asked what was wrong. I
handed him the summons to jury duty, my third in three years.

I’d been allowed exemptions in the past
because of my health and my children’s ages, but this time there was no escape;
it had to be done. The letter warned of possible overnight stays. Friends told
me of the nightmares they still had after hearing evidence at murder, rape and
child abuse trials. I believe in democracy, but every day that passed, I grew
more and more anxious, dreading the prospect of being separated from my family
or having to sit in judgement on another human being, perhaps after listening to
harrowing details I would never be able to forget.

The day came, and I arrived at an
imposing, Victorian building, its entrance flanked with columns. I walked up a
flight of stone steps, crossed the cold, echoing floor of a musty foyer and
announced my arrival to a grim-faced receptionist, barricaded behind a high
reception desk of polished dark wood. I smiled and asked for help and
directions. He barked at me that I wasn’t needed but would have to come back the
next day. I stood there stunned, not knowing if I felt angry or relieved. How
much vitriol had this man been subjected to for this to be his default?

I drove home, hugged my family, told them
it wasn’t over.

Another sleepless night. A morning of
strained goodbyes, the children wondering if I’d be home that night. Once again,
I drove through the hills to our nearest big town, barely registering the rain
clouds hanging heavy in an inky sky. This might be an innocent person’s last day
of freedom. I might be about to set a murderer free. I’d deliberately arrived
early, and decided to clear my mind by doing some writing in my favourite French
café in the cobbled square next to the old church, just round the corner from
the County Court.

As I sat, sipping strong black coffee and
listening to French accordion music, I visualised the proceedings, mentally
preparing myself to tap into every single one of the Proficiencies™ (and any
relevant Clarifiers™, Stylepoints™ and Frameworks™) to make sure I was my best
self in court, with my fellow jurors and with any court officials I was expected
to co-operate and communicate with. Here's what I was aiming for:

  • To go in with all my own stuff cleaned
  • Not to judge or assume or be forced into
    any tricky lawyer's manipulation of paradigms while in court listening.
  • To listen well and carefully.
  • To respect everyone's humanity.
  • To relish truth – in many different
  • To enjoy my fellow jurors
  • To ask very good clarifying questions, if
    necessary, while deliberating with other jurors.
  • To remind myself, constantly, that
    everyone's doing the best they can with what they've got.
  • To recognise the perfection in it

This is what emerged in my

1) If you’ve been invited to do jury duty, it means you’re alive.

2) That letter you were sent means you have an address, a home.
3) You’re
not the victim.
4) You’re not the accused.
5) You’re anxious because you
6) You’re eligible because you can see, you can hear and you’re
7) Like it or not, you’ll learn something about your legal
8) You live in a country that has a legal system.
9) It’s a
perfect chance to listen, really listen, without prejudice, assumptions or
10) You’re not in this alone.

I finished my coffee, put my notebook
away, paid, and crossed the square to the County Court, feeling stronger and
more serene than I had for months.

I heard and learned a lot that day, but it
was those café thoughts that turned my jury moments into coaching moments.

Janice Hunter is an IAC certified homelife
coach who lives in Scotland with her husband and two children. She created and
co-wrote Sharing the Certification Journey: Six IAC Coaches Talk About
Their Journeys
, and her blogsite,, provides soul food and support
for coaches, writers, parents and home-based workers.

Janice has compiled all of her Coaching
Moments pieces from the last two years into a free 46-page ebook, 'Coaching
Moments: A Collection of Articles about Coaching in Everyday Life' which can be
downloaded here or from her site.

3 thoughts on “Coaching Moments”

  1. Connie and Barbra,
    Thank you! I’m sorry I haven’t replied till now. I didn’t get a copy of the newsletter and assumed – wrongly and foolishly, it turns out – that there was a holiday delay of a few days.(I’ll have to check my spam filter) My family’s on holiday so I’ve been logged off since Friday. Luckily Linda’s a great editor and gently keeps me straight. 😉
    Thank you for the appreciation and encouragement. I know what you mean about a lively connection. Mine comes and goes too, but is always running somewhere in the background. I have an intense and deep personal connection with the ‘Profs’ because, as you know, I needed to absorb them into my life in order to pass Step 2. (When I failed first time round, it was Proficiency #7, ‘Recognises the Perfection in Every Situation’ that kept me going.)I like their short mantra-lke quality,and for some reason find it very easy to absorb and use them as numbers as well as concepts. For example, breathing in some #15, Respects the Client’s Humanity, helps keep me calm in potentially difficult relationships and doing a bit of #6, ‘Navigates Via Curiosity’, helps me keep my ego in check long enough for me to be intrigued by my behaviour and step outside it to investigate my thoughts. The Masteries embody all the same concepts and qualities – and more – but the Profs provided my ‘code’, the handle that helped me to hold on to the concepts.
    Thank you! You’ve always understood my passion for meshing my daily life and the coaching concepts you helped me master. I’ve never forgotten the comment I made on your forum that led to us co-creating this column. I told a colleague after I failed first time that my life is what I want to get a ‘passing score’ for when my final ‘tapes’ are submitted. I’ll always see you as this column’s godmother! And oh boy do I do the gratitude attitude when I go to the dentist – I hate the whole experience, too – and when I have to deal with medical receptionists who have ‘little tin god syndrome’!

  2. Janice, you always WOW me with your insights. I was moved by your list of what being summoned to jury duty means – it embodies the essence of the “gratitude attitude”. I do a similar thing when I’m in the dentist’s chair (which I strongly dislike): I say to myself, “I’m grateful that I can afford to get dental care.” It really turns things around for me.

  3. Janice, I enjoyed the building drama of your piece and surprise outcome ~ your application of the Proficiencies in a jury situation! Preparing yourself that way reveals another way to cherish and use/re-use these invaluable Profiencies.
    Recently I realized I’d lost my previous lively connection with them, beyond the unconscious integration in my coaching.
    Now, following your example, I recognize their endless applicability in daily life, to ground and centre myself or travel pathways into new territories.
    Thank you again for your eloquent heart offerings, Janice.

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