While interviewing me for the latest episode of Dana’s My Coach-TV, one of my clients, Sara Clausen, asked a great question. “How does coaching work?”
Coaching is the process of bringing out the peak performance in your player(s). Since I grew up playing sports and have had the privelege of working with many great coaches in my youth (including my father and brother!) it’s easy to see how the application of what works in sports works perfectly in other areas of life.
Rather than criticism, judgement or getting upset, a gifted coach uses other tools to activate the players’ hidden drive, and propel them into the right action at the right time. My mentor Martin Sage, one of the all-time great coaches, calls this a ‘controlled accident’. It takes a cool head, as well as creative and strategic thinking and talking to bring about this result.
As I sit here in Starbuck’s writing, all around me I hear the same flavor of conversation…complaining, self-righteousness and blaming. Not very inspiring! Inserting a coaching transformer (of which there are over a hundred as defined by Martin Sage), could immediately transform any of these conversations into dialogues that connect, inspire and then translate into collaborative action.
Normal everyday conversations characterized by complaining, blaming and indignation are simply boring. In order to use the coaching tools, one has to be alert, and listen for insert portals where you can add value.
Recognizing the patterns that correspond with a coaching dialogue and learning to use the tools to create those patterns are key. Managing Talented People states, “Stay open to possibilities..pay attention as events unfold, to information that might cause you to revise and refine your original explanation.”
And later, “It is not a rigid procedure, or a sequence of steps to be followed. Again it is more in the nature of an approach, a set of mindful dispositions to be drawn upon, flexibly, as we work our way through a thinking challenge.”
This underlines one of the most important coaching tools…curiosity. It is only through your curiosity that you can hope to activate another person’s curiosity. There is no systematic approach to uncover it, as the above quote states, but rather a spirit, and an environment where it can emerge. Curiosity is the hidden drive within each of us that leads us to the path of self-actualization, happiness and an exciting life.
Coaching works in every aspect of life…and can be applied as such. It is, simply defined, profound people skills. I am using these tools when I am working with a team at an international company, with my own children, a teller at the bank or with colleagues at the PTA.
Here’s an example of how one coaching tool can change the flavor of a whole conversation and lead to a great discovery:
One day when I was driving with my twin boys, one of them told me I should join the PTA at school. My gut reaction was to say, “No”, and then give all the reasons that was a terrible idea (too tired, busy, overwhelmed, etc.)
Instead I put on my coaching hat and adopted a curiosity approach.
“Why do you say that?” I asked.
He said, “Because my teacher told me to.”
Again I was tempted to launch into a rant about how we don’t have to do it just because the teacher tells us to and who does she think she is anyway, etc.
But I overrode that initial resistance yet again and said, “Is there another reason?”
At this point my other son joined in the conversation and said, “I think you should do it because you’ll get more clients.” Now this got my attention!
“How would I do that?” I asked.
“You have to go to the meetings and be nice to people and give them free stuff. Then they will want to work with you.” (Sage advice from a 6-year-old!)
Well that just made so much sense I decided to do it. So, four weeks ago I joined the PTA. Almost immediately I was recruited to the Executive Board as, guess what…the Healthy Lifestyles Chair! It will be my job for the next school year to work with a team to create games and events to raise money for the P.E. Dept. and make sports and fitness a bigger part of the student’s lives. How perfect for a coach!
I am so excited I almost wish it were time for the school year to start right now! So far I’ve made some wonderful new friends by volunteering for the events and going to the meeetings. I will soon have my name exposed to hundreds of families who, yes, could be potential clients. All this was allowed to happen because I adopted curiosity rather than judgement and resistance about my son’s request.
If you would like to see what opportunities might open up for you if you allowed your curiosity to surface, call me for your free ‘quickie coaching’ session. Dana@DanasMyCoach.com
To learn more coaching tools, tune into the best training you can get http://www.freecoachtv.com…and it’s free!