“The best teachers are those who…”

“The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see.”

—Alexandra K. Trenfor

Photo from bats.blogs.nytimes.com

Photo from bats.blogs.nytimes.com

I have been an active and engaged member of the ICF (International Coach Federation) for almost 20 years. Today, this organization has well over 20,000 members in more than 100 countries. The IFC has been one of the most active in establishing the ethics, standards, competencies, and credentialing criteria for the industry.

Fundamental to the value and impact of the coaching process is how it engages the individual in a variety of learning experiences requiring personal inquiry and self-discovery.

A phrase I like very much that describes this client-centered educational effort is “Coaches let their questions do the heavy lifting.” Although teaching experiences that “show and tell” can be a part of the learning process, it is perhaps when we help others to see, discover, and learn from within that even greater benefits are realized.

EXERCISE:

Think back to the teachers, mentors, and coaches in your life who have made the most significant impact in your life. Examine how many of them helped you discover and believe in your own potential and greatness.

How can you be this teacher or coach for those you care about in your professional or personal life?

Should you have the interest to learn more about coaching and the ICF, please visit www.coachfederation.org

“One of the hardest decisions you’ll ever face…”

“One of the hardest decisions you’ll ever face in life is choosing whether to walk away or try harder.”

—Author Unknown

QC #742

Today’s quote reminds me of an excellent little book by Seth Godin titled “The Dip.” The subtitle is: “A little book that teaches you when to quit and when to stick.”

Godin believes that winners quit quickly, often, and without guilt, until they discover the right DIP, worth beating for the right reasons. They realize that the bigger the barrier, the bigger the reward for sticking and getting beyond it.

He further demonstrates that people who lose fail to stick out their DIPS when they quit at the moment of truth—or they simply never discover the right DIP to conquer.

EXERCISE:

Consider picking up a copy of “The DIP” to discover for yourself whether you should stay the course or summon the courage to quite sooner or more often.

“I’m too busy working on my own…”

“I’m too busy working on my own grass to notice if yours is greener.”

—Author Unknown

Photo from Flickr by Jeremy Page

Photo from Flickr by Jeremy Page

Spring is here, and the people I speak with can’t wait for warmer weather, longer hours of daylight, and the beauty Mother Nature provides.

When my neighbors begin to emerge from their homes, I see them out walking or participating in some other physical activity, or, relative to today’s quote, jumping into lawn care and maintenance.

I’ve heard some of them compare their lawns to others—sometimes favorably, others not. This characteristic of comparison can be a source of upsets, dissatisfaction, and frustration.

EXERCISE:

Where in your personal or professional life are you paying too much attention to other people’s grass? How would tending to the fertilization and care of your own abilities, projects, and priorities reward you with the results and satisfaction you desire?

“It is better to fail in originality…”

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.”

—Herman Melville

Photo from netshark.com

Photo from netshark.com

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, however in today’s world, an alternative phrase may be more prominent and perhaps more important:

“Be Distinct or Be Extinct.”

My coaching experience points to this: those who enjoy the greatest successes and satisfaction in life discover early that being their authentic self – living true to their visions and values – is key to a life of passion and purpose.

EXERCISE:

How can you pursue and persist through the potential daily failures and obstacles life presents, to be the one and only, fully expressed YOU?

“There are people who would love to have your bad days.”

“There are people who would love to have your bad days.”

—Author Unknown

Photo from Flickr by Tristan Bowersox

Photo from Flickr by Tristan Bowersox

A few weeks ago I visited my family physician. I was having a difficult time with a challenging bug affecting a lot of people.

My symptoms included sneezing, sinus congestion, a headache, a scratchy throat, and every coach’s occupational nightmare – laryngitis. My voice vacillated between bullfrog and complete silence.

My appointment time was 3:00 p.m.; I was still in the waiting room at 3:50. The only distraction was the video wall, showing the four seasons at a number of beautiful locations, and other images in the natural world.

Perhaps the most revealing way in which I passed the time was in observing other patients and their significant health challenges. It caused me to shift my perspective of my own “monumental” situation.

EXERCISE:

Notice how often you make mountains out of molehills, or major in the minors of life. Realize all the goodness and reasons for gratitude that surround you. How many people do you see in the course of your days that would prefer to have your life, even when you are having a bad day?

“A wise man adapts…”

“A wise man adapts himself to circumstances, as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it.”

-Chinese Proverb

Photo from Amazon.com

Photo from Amazon.com

In my first career as a science teacher, the work of Charles Darwin and his book, “The Origin of Species,” was always part of the curriculum. The bottom line is that a species will survive only as long as it is able to adapt to its physical environment, including climate, food sources, and predators.

EXERCISE:

How well do you adapt to circumstances so that you survive in your professional and personal ecosystems? What adjustments, if any, are required to optimize your ability to thrive?

“Your big opportunity may be…”

“Your big opportunity may be right where you are now.”

—Napoleon Hill, American author of personal-success literature

QC #737-01

How fulfilled and content with life are you at this moment? How perfect are your personal and professional situations? How often do you find yourself longing for some other place, some other future, where you believe you will be far happier?

EXERCISE:

Imagine that some amazing technology company invented a new device called the “Opportunity-O-Matic,” and you are among the early adopters. When you use the device, you discover, pursue, and realize wondrous possibilities of life, right at your own doorstep.

Perhaps we already have such a device installed in our minds and hearts, momentarily turned to Airplane mode. Are you ready to flip the switch?

“No one ever injured their eyesight by…”

“No one ever injured their eyesight by looking on the bright side.”

—Author Unknown

Photo from Flickr by Tim Ebbs

Photo from Flickr by Tim Ebbs

A total solar eclipse will be visible in many parts of the world today, but not here in my home town in Michigan, USA. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, and the moon fully blocks the sun. Click here to see if and when the eclipse will be visible in your area.

Most people know that looking directly at the sun can lead to permanent eye damage or blindness. Fortunately, looking at the bright side of life and having an optimistic attitude never injures – and usually aides – people in living happier and more successful lives.

EXERCISE:

Write some of the words listed below on a Post-it Note and stick it somewhere in your home, office, or car where you will see it several times over the next 24 hours… or longer, if you wish.

Cheerful Hopeful Positive
Sunny Encouraging Idealistic
Promising Upbeat Expectant
Rosy Happy Enthusiastic

“If you could kick the person…”

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”

-Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States

Photo from ibosocial.com

Photo from ibosocial.com

Personal responsibility and accountability are two very important qualities of those who tend to be the most successful in a coaching relationship. People who possess these characteristics know they are the proverbial athlete on the field of their own lives, and only they can put points on the scoreboard.

I often observe, to the contrary, many people playing the victim, putting much, if not all, the blame for their lot in life on others.

President Roosevelt’s statement makes it clear: We, alone, control our thoughts and actions. Hopefully we use them to influence our world for the better.

EXERCISE:

Where would a bit more self-coaching and taking greater responsibility for your current place in life make the biggest difference in your professional or personal life?

“You can’t judge my choices…”

“You can’t judge my choices without understanding my reasons.”

—Author Unknown

 

Without question, judging others and being critical is one of the most common reasons people give when they talk about unsatisfying or destructive relationships.

Unfortunately, this happens daily to some degree, to most of us. A key reason for the universality of this behavior is our constant filtering. We look at the choices of others through our own perception of what is right or wrong, good or bad.

Being genuinely interested in another person’s points of view and seeking to fully understand their perspective lessens the level of judgement and creates greater relationship harmony.

EXERCISE:

Try this four-step exercise when interacting with others, to assist you in taking greater responsibility for making your relationships stronger.

  1. Be aware of your internal voice when listening to others, and notice if this voice is supportive or critical.
  2. Examine your listening. Can you mirror what the other person said and meant?
  3. Ask yourself: What is good and valuable in what they are saying?
  4. Limit your interruptions to those questions that will give you greater clarity and understanding.