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My learning as a Coach

Thomas Leonard - Founder of ICF said –


How much as human beings we are craving for a good conversation? So what is it that happens, after you have had a good conversation ? And really, what is a good conversation?

I would describe myself as a practical kinaesthetic person earlier – feel the feelings and look to solve the problem. Today I can say I have let go of my burden of solving problems and become a keen observer of life and people around me. Coaching has left me with questions to ponder on. Richard Feynman, Nobel Laureate Cosmologist Physicist left people with many questions. He said it would be better to leave people with questions with no answers rather than answers with no questions.. Innovation happens in that space, I am left keen to understand the inner workings of the mind. It is exciting to explore different nuances of coaching and to also observe people in everyday interactions – where are they coming from - when they do or say this. For me, Judgement has been replaced by curiosity.

Let me deconstruct my learning:

Coaching is more than just a conversation :

The ability to start — and hold — a coaching conversation is a transformational leadership skill. Coaching conversations aren’t just for specialized professionals. In fact, nearly anyone can conduct a coaching conversation. Some of the most powerful coaching conversation experiences are informal exchanges in hallways, cafeterias, workspaces, virtual chats, and video calls in the course of everyday work. When enough people at an organization begin coaching one another, the organizational culture can shift. As a critical mass is reached, with people having candid coach like conversations with one another across the entire company, something powerful begins to happen. Team relationships strengthen, employee engagement increases, and business performance improves. Don’t assume what the conversation is about or what path it should take. Truly listen, allowing space for others to think, reflect, and express themselves. Truly listening goes beyond active listening, to listening to understand.

Listening to understand focuses on the idea that there are multiple levels of information we must tune into during conversations. One level, of course, is the factual information being presented — most of us tend to pay attention primarily to that. But listening for the values behind the topic at hand and the emotions that people bring to an issue is an important part of a better conversation.

Coaching isn’t about the quick fix or first solution. It’s about uncovering answers through inquiry, openness, and exploration. Start by asking powerful questions that draw out more information or stretch the other person’s thinking. Shift away from the common and natural tendency to want to problem-solve or give advice. There are times to direct or give answers, but coaching conversations are about the other person’s learning — not about your opinion or expertise.

Informed by neuroscience, the real art of conversation is balancing an appropriate mix of challenge and support. Providing support includes assuring people that they’ve been heard and, especially, that their feelings and values are understood.

So whether that conversation was a planned coaching session or an impromptu moment, you’ve opened the door to new thinking, new action, and valuable learning.

Mental chatter - Mind projects to us and we hold it as true. What is needed then, is to get out of your own way.. So what should one do : pause 6 seconds believing that what needs to be born will be born what needs to die will die ---- Think then Act = That is called Responding.

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