• Read What I’ve Learned Along the Coaching Highway

    Mindfulness

    What I’ve Learned Along the Coaching Highway

    Last week was international coaching week, I’m sure you had it marked on your calendar 🙂 The other day I had a conversation with my mentor coach, who asked me to think about what I’ve learned, since I started out.  I thought back to my younger self fresh off the coaching certification block and I came up with quite a list.  A key aspect of cultivating a growth mindset is to take a moment to reflect on everything you’ve accomplished, and congratulate your successes.  To sit and take stock of how far you’ve come is one of the most rewarding things a person can do.  It’s a shame most of the time we find ourselves just too busy to lean in.  I wanted to share my list with all of you, so here goes… I have learned what real friendship looks like.  I have learned that balance is a key component in any relationship worth having. I have learned there is no such thing as perfect.  Practice makes better. I have learned to question my motivation for why I do things.  Is it to grow and develop?  Or is it to look good? I have learned not to rely on male attention for a feeling of self-worth. I have learned that true assertiveness is not falling back into old reactive patterns but choosing how I want to respond. I have learned to rely on the power of God.  She is real.  She is always with me, especially at my darkest moments. I have learned to recognize my strategies for numbing my emotions.  And that to heal, I have to feel. I have learned that by doing this work, I am a better coach for my clients, and I can really show up for them. I have learned that sometimes I need to take space for myself, and that is okay. I have learned that transformation and change is possible. I have learned to ask myself what is it that I really want. I have learned to surrender and let God take control. I have learned that there will be darkness at times, and without darkness there can be no light. I have learned I can be motivated by new and exciting things that have nothing to do with money, power or prestige. I have learned to embrace my softness. I have learned what makes a good husband and a good wife. I have learned how to make my own choices. I have learned I don’t need flattery.  I’ll take it, but I don’t need it. I have learned to love my height, every bit of being a six foot one woman. I have learned to live more fully in my body.  I understand the importance of grounding in one’s body as a response to fear and trauma. I have learned the healing power of yoga. I have learned to stop name dropping.  Nobody ever cared except for me anyway. I learned I like the piano. I have learned that I […]

    May 26, 2022

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    3.8 min read

  • Read The Power of a Great Question

    Leader as Coach

    The Power of a Great Question

    We all know we should ask good questions.  The problem is that a lot of the time we don’t do it.  We default to the things that are more comfortable. When I’m teaching coaching skills to leadership, I often have them do a very simple exercise. Advice versus open ended questions In pairs, they take turns listening to a colleague, but in the first round, they do it with the hat of a mentor.  They can give advice.  And boy do they.  These conversations typically descend into, “here’s what I’ve tried that’s worked.  You should do this.”  I hear loads of closed ended questions, lots of yeses and nos as they probe their colleague for what they tried and what they didn’t try. In the second round, they can’t give any advice, and only can ask open ended questions.  (An open-ended question is one that can’t be answered with a yes or a no just in case you were wondering.). They really struggle with this one.  But during the debrief, the folks with the issue typically report that the latter exercise, the one where only open-ended questions could be asked, was the one that really expanded their thinking or got them to see something from a different perspective. Why are open ended questions so powerful? I’ve often seen the light bulb go off after I debrief this exercise.  If I’m asking an open-ended empowering question, the person on the receiving end comes to their own conclusion, not the conclusion that I think could be best for them.  The benefit of this is that the person being questioned takes more ownership of whatever the solution is.  Have you ever had a great piece of advice which you willingly gave to someone and just couldn’t understand why they didn’t take the idea and run with it?  Well, it may have been great for you, but it probably wasn’t great for them.  The ability to create one’s own solution creates natural by-in in the problem-solving process.  It gives the person with the problem a sense they also have autonomy, which is something that greatly motivates folks and many of us desperately crave this in our work.  I can’t tell you how many coaching clients I’ve had who are looking to leave a job who say they don’t have enough creativity in their work.  They feel micromanaged.  They feel condescended to.  It’s not surprising considering it’s sometimes just easier in the short run to “tell” someone how they should do something.  The problem is that this way of communicating creates loads of longer-term issues. Powerful open-ended questions also create engagement.  If I’m telling someone what I think they should do, how engaged do you really think they will be in the conversation?  Asking a powerful open-ended question opens the dialogue, I am engaging this person on a deep level, getting them to think critically and creatively about the issues they face.  And if you don’t think engagement is important, think again.  According to Gallup, […]

    May 11, 2022

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    4.3 min read