Several events occurred this week that have reminded me why I do this work … the work of coaching, I mean… and I wanted to share my appreciation for those reminders and share my discovery.
The events were:
- A chat with a colleague following news of the Vegas shooting
- A meeting about enrolling people into coaching
- A coach in Florida who almost made me cry (almost)
Monday morning, I drove my big kids to school and received the following via text message: “huge shooting at Mandalay Bay.” Absent iMessage, Facebook would probably be my primary news source and we both know that’s not good for me. I get overwhelmed by blanket emoting over stuff on my news feed and the cacophony of feeling leaves me irrationally angry.
The news sat in the back of my mind for a while that morning, completely unprocessed, while I listened to a podcast on the treadmill, ate some oatmeal in the cafeteria, ran into and hugged a former coworker…. honestly, the news was drowning in the background of an otherwise overly distracted mind.
Then I talked to my colleage, Lisa. And somewhere in the conversation we began to process our feelings about the Vegas incident. Well, I did. And I was reminded of something that I had realized years ago when I started coaching:
I believe that every problem we face in our society today, large or small, stems from basic human suffering caused by a lack of deep interpersonal connection. In contrast, when a person feels truly seen, truly heard, and experiences empathy free of judgment, a healing begins and no longer is there a need to take extreme measures in the desperate attempt… to matter. Or to prove or disprove a painful belief that he, she, you or I do not matter.
And this is the gift of coaching. We often call it holding space. We call it coaching presence. We call it hearing with our hearts. We call it grace. But as coaches, we give (and in giving, we receive) a profound gift of deep human connection.
I’m not saying coaching is a cure. I’m saying that it is one way, MY way, one opportunity for me to amplify that gift to touch, see, and hear as many people as I can. Because it connects. It transforms. And it makes this community, this world, a safer place for my children to live.
That conversation with Lisa reconnected the dots between what we do as coaches and my personal mission. (Thanks Lisa).
My mission: influence, inspire and innovate to create a safe, welcoming and caring world where my children may thrive.
And then I went on about my day.
I attended a call about helping our team enroll people into coaching. We were talking about challenges in talking about coaching with prospects. It can feel sales-y. It can be demoralizing to talk about coaching with people and they don’t sign up. That’s when it hit me. Sometimes we think the goal of the conversation is to land a booking (no wonder it feels sales-y). But it’s not. The goal – the gift – is in the interaction itself. It’s the listening at a deep level to the needs of that customer, making an offer, creating an awareness with NO attachment to a particular outcome. The gift is the connection. We… coaches, representatives, leadership… we are serving our community through deep human connection. That’s the gift. Its beauty is in its simplicity.
Everyone in the meeting agreed and that agreement was palpable.
My art (how I deliver on my mission): playfully drawing out revelations that connect and inspire
And I carried this thought with me, with gratitude, into a phone call with a coach in Florida. I shared what we do. I shared why we do it. He agreed. (Of course.) I shared why I do it. And I explained my mission in life. I explained why this matters to me. And that’s when I felt it. The familiar itch in my eyes that precedes the formation of tears… the indication that the emotions of the moment are larger than the container that holds them. This is the tell-tale sign that we have stumbled upon an authentic moment of truth. This is why I get excited when someone cries in coaching.
Sometimes we, as coaches, ask ourselves… how do I know I’m being a good coach? I jokingly answer that I know when the client cries. But what I really mean is, I know it when there’s that resonant experience of being in someone’s truth – that moment when my presence is allowing another person to be fully seen and heard – that moment when I know I am fulfilling my mission… When I know I am coaching my tail off… When I am living in my leadership.
My definition of leadership: when the best, most authentic version of me shows up in such a way that it brings out the best and most authentic version in the people around me.
So there it is. That’s my why. And you? I’m curious – what are your thoughts? How do you connect your work to your purpose? What’s your belief? Your mission? Your art? Your leadership?