As the adage wisely states, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” To better understand how what you receive from executive coaching can transfer to other areas of your life, let’s explore two dimensions that make skill transfer so powerful.
- “AHA!” Moments.
- The Coaching Approach.
An overarching goal of an executive coach relationship is to evoke insights, or AHA! Moments, through which we learn something new about ourselves or gain a new insight into how to move forward. The steps taken to arrive at these powerful AHA!s can also help us make better decisions and take more mindful action in other dimensions of our lives.
How an AHA! here can help you there
Imagine a friend telling me I come across as either aloof or rude when introduced to people. While perhaps painful to learn, the implications of this new insight can bring about a massive impact on other areas of my life.
For example, I may begin to understand why I haven’t made many new friends. I can use this new perspective to adjust my initial responses to people…and open avenues toward making better contributions to society…and having more fun. Coaching seeks to bring this clarity of application into and beyond every session together.
Approach it as a Coach
We get paid to fix things at work. We also get a dopamine hit when we fix things. It literally feels good. However, it is not our place or responsibility to fix other people. Yet we can help them identify what they can do to fix the things in their lives that need fixing. The Coaching Approach is a way to help others help themselves. Here are a few key elements of the approach:
- Believe there is more in the person than they are currently aware of and that you can help them gain more personal leverage of it once it is brought forth.
- Be curious and ask non-judgemental, non-leading questions. (This takes intentionality and a lot of self-awareness on your part.)
- Listen with open curiosity to their answer for what looks or sounds important to them and ask a follow-up question such as:
- “What worked?”
- “How would you do it differently?”
- “What informed your decision?”
- “What makes ____ important?”
- “How does this inform your present circumstance?”, etc.
Hold the Outcomes Loosely
It is helpful to anticipate a few positive AHA! moments than to expect them. If you enter the conversation with expectations, you may unintentionally (mis)direct your questions toward something that proves irrelevant. There is more going on in each of us than we can fully realize without allowing ourselves and each other the time and space to let it emerge as an AHA! of value. Things of value cost something. In the arena of coaching, the cost is time and attention.
By applying a Coaching Approach, we can help and, dare I say, influence those we work with, care for, and even the people with whom we quarrel…think of it as a catch-and-release option.