What Coaching Has Taught Me About Life
Creating a safe space for clients is what makes the coaching relationship so fertile for growth.
That safe space requires doing things that can be helpful in relationships outside of coaching sessions.
- Listen Without Judgement. We all judge. Our culture was built on judging others if you think about it. But if you take a breath and step outside of yourself – just for a few minutes – then listen objectively to the person talking to you, you’ll be surprised at the subtle shift that happens within you. The person you’re listening to will feel it, too. And that can change the dynamic of a conversation. Rather than stating your opinion or being reactive, just hit the pause button and hear them, then acknowledge what you heard. From there, it’s possible to discover a new perspective and with that, a creative solution. Safe spaces allow us to keep it real with one another and being real saves a LOT of time in any situation.
- Every Individual is Naturally Creative, Resourceful and Whole (that means I don’t have to “take care of” my clients – what a relief!) I tend to be a caretaker by nature – wanting to give a lot in my relationships. That’s not a bad thing, but when you can step back and remember that the one who may be talking to you about a problem, an issue, whatever is absolutely capable of coming up with their own solution. This doesn’t mean it’s not helpful to listen with compassion and offer your feedback. Those are valuable contributions to a conversation. BUT you don’t have to figure it out for that person. Just listening attentively to someone is a gift. Put down your phone and turn away from your screen, please. That’s all you have to do. You don’t have to save them, or problem solve for them. Just support them and they’ll feel it.
- Be Genuinely Curious – I can assume that I know what’s motivating or inhibiting my client’s next steps, but that’s so tedious and it’s typically not the case. Rather than assuming, I ask questions that prompt my client to stop…usually for about this long…and reflect. That’s what leads my client to a deeper understanding about themselves and that can lead to paradigm shifting behavior. This happens outside of coaching sessions, too.
- You Don’t Have to be Right – In fact, just accept you’re not going to be right. That removes the struggle or attachment to proving a point. When my client shares, I’m there to listen and distill, ask questions, energize, and prompt action. That’s how I serve. The client knows what’s “right” or best for themselves.
To take these approaches into the personal realm may feel odd at first. But we all have patterns of communicating and being with each other that we’re not even aware of. As I learned to cultivate the coaching way of communicating, it was natural to take these ways of being into real life. Now, I pause before I respond to someone in a conversation…just a few seconds is all it takes for me to be in that coach role. NOT that I’m coaching, but that I am intentionally shifting how I listen and respond. These conversations have turned what could have been a struggle with someone into a helluva lot less energy. The pressure is off, so I can just “be” and as importantly, so can the friend or family member who I’m talking to. It’s a lot more productive, interesting, and frankly, peaceful way to communicate.
So, I invite you to try it out. Just focusing on one of the things and let me know how it goes. I’m interested in what works and what doesn’t.
Thanks for reading!