by: Aileen Gibb
As a member of the IAC it’s a gift to be on the receiving end of coaching from masterly colleagues participating in the Path to Mastery Coaching Triads – a practice for regularly giving, receiving, and reviewing our coaching skills with each other. My recent experience of being coached (you know who you are) was transformational. I gained some deep insights into my own needs and next steps. AND it created the opportunity for me to blog from the client perspective for a change.
First, I’ll attempt to translate into words the power of one question my coach asked me. As background (and many of you know this about me) I have been saying for years – yes, literally years – that I want to write more. I go through sporadic bursts of writing – witness the time gaps between blog posts. I start writing in moments of inspiration, yet it rarely results in an end product. I have ideas upon ideas which stay stuck in my head, or which get only as far as the pages of numerous journals, word documents, or draft web pages. Enough! The time has come for me to make committed progress.
My request of my coach was that I find a way to make real progress. I want to really make a shift into making things happen. To producing results. To get stuff out of my ideas-laden head and into the world.
AND, I said to my coach, it’s about more than just creating a ‘plan’ or a timeline or putting priorities in my calendar. I’ve watched myself do that many times. I can be really good at scheduling things: every Friday is a writing day, OR I’ll write for an hour each day, OR (my latest one) I’ll put in my calendar that at the end of each week, I’ll write next week’s blog post.
Truth is, such planning, whilst heartfelt in the moment of creation, rarely translates into committed action. Greater truth: it NEVER translates into committed action on my part.
This time, I said to my coach, I need something different. I need to find the key to making a real shift. I can get really excited about ideas, and rush off with enthusiasm to make a plan work on it – but I’m not making it happen, so working from that excitement level isn’t enough for me. Something else has to happen.
My coach took his time. I could hear that deep, thoughtful pause and I waited. His question, when it came, was brave, brilliant, and impactful.
“So it’s not excitement,” he said. “If you look into your soul, right now, how would you describe what it is you need?”
Wow! When a coaching question is that powerful, you know it’s the one you are meant to hear. I welcomed it fully. It felt like exactly the question I needed in that moment. My coach tuned in to precisely the right level within me. I took my time. I let the question work on me. It warranted a carefully contemplated response. I waited for it to land at the deepest level of my awareness. A question such as that demands full respect and attention. No superficial, excited or over-optimistic answers would be enough.
From that deeply considered space (which my coach held beautifully with full silence, patience and trust) I eventually came to the recognition that my solution would be one step at a time. One conversation. One piece of writing. One completed task. That my goal invited a slowing down and a focusing. To go deeper and approach each ‘thing’ with more consideration and commitment. That I had to give up my ideas generating excitement that everything was do-able, and prove to myself that I would bring one thing to life every day. One thing at a time. We named it soul-driven creation. I loved it.
My commitment was to start with this blog post. Whilst it has still taken me a couple of weeks to write it – I take that not as a failure of my excited self – but rather evidence of my more committed self, in that I’ve considered it and given it time to come to fruition, knowing that there was no way it would not eventually emerge into the world from that deeper soul level.
And now it’s done!
Since this coaching conversation, I’ve enjoyed a further profound coaching conversation with yet another masterly coach and so have much more to report on the power and joy of being on the receiving end of coaching.
Every coach does indeed need a coach – find yours, and remind yourself how amazing you can be!
My work has taken me around the globe and to conversations with people from many different nationalities, cultures and organisations. Wherever I've gone, the power of real conversation, founded on intentional listening and enlightened questioning, has been welcomed. It’s a core piece of our humanity to create the space for conversations that matter and to build connection and meaning with members of our family, our business and our communities.