My favorite part of coaching is being surprised by how infinitely interesting and beautiful people are.
People are like fractals. If you zoom in on the right spot, you get more depth and wonder than you can ever imagine. That’s one of the biggest and best jobs of the coach, is to listen for those spots, and to encourage zooming. All too often people are focused on the uninteresting blue bit that just repeats “I like sugar” or “Why Me?” when just a few pixel to the right is all of the answers they could have hoped for and more.
This is one of the philosophical underpinnings of our coaching model. We’ve found that if you’re curious and caring, and you ask skillful questions, you can discover amazing things about people. Not only that, they can discover amazing things about themselves.
I don’t know if you’ve ever gone to see a a different kind of coach, one that just lectured you for an hour, like a motivational speaker or a your friend who just became a raw foodist. For me, that’s a bummer, because I can get that on youtube. I like digging into discovery. In my rarely humble opinion, this sort of coaching is closer to ‘consulting’ and its probably better to label it as such. The client might learn something about something, but if there is no zooming in, they probably won’t learn all that much about themselves.
This focus on exploration is also powerfully healing because so many of us feel unseen and unheard. And we’ve felt like this for so long. People have often forgotten that they have a need to be witnessed because for so long it hasn’t even been safe. They’ve decided that they aren’t worthy.
We know that our practices can make this need visible again, palpable again. It can come back fiercely, as can the realization that we are worth of being seen. And we can give this gift to each other. It doesn’t take much, except maybe practice. You can practice with your people. If one of your friends comes to you for support, resist the urge to go right to advice or relating. As mentioned before, you would be doing them a disservice, by pretending you know something. Instead, get curious about what you don’t know. Just ask them questions and follow the thread of questions to the most interesting and beautiful and vulnerable place you can find. You can’t ask any yes or no questions. They all have to be evocative questions. Ones that your friend probably knows the answer to, but has to think about for a moment to discover. I think it’s a fascinating practice. You can go deep quick, if there is caring and trust.
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