“Questions can be like a lever you use to pry open the stuck lid on a paint can.”
—Fran Peavey, late political Author
Image from Amazon.com
Michael Bungay Stainer is a masterful coach whom I greatly admire. I’ve read most of his books and look forward to his daily “Great Work Provocation” blog, which you can explore for yourself at https://boxofcrayons.com/great-work-provocations-series/. His most recent work – The Coaching Habit – includes seven core questions that can help all of us pry open the lids of new possibilities in both our personal and professional worlds. I fully agree that the seven questions provided below will help us all say less, ask more, change the way we lead our lives, and better support those we wish to serve.
- The Kickstart Question: What’s on your mind?
- The AWE Question: And What Else?
- The Focus Question: What’s the real challenge here for you?
- The Foundation Question: What do you want?
- The Lazy Question: How can I help?
- The Strategic Question: If you are saying Yes to this, what are you saying No to?
- The Learning Question: What was most useful for you?
Please consider applying these questions to build your own coaching habit to open up your relationships and your world and lead a more vibrant and beautiful life.
You can also learn more about Michael’s books and his work at www.boxofcrayons.biz
“Go where you’re celebrated, not where you’re tolerated.”
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The journey and process of becoming the best version of yourself is one of the primary reasons people seek the support of a coach. If it is good enough for Olympians and professional athletes, why not the rest of us, who also desire gold medal lives?
As we have discovered through our self-awareness and mindfulness efforts over the years of The Quotable Coach blog, our internal environment, including our perceptions and beliefs, has a great deal to do with our success.
At the same time our external environment, including our personal and professional communities, also has a tremendous impact on our views, our efforts, and of course, our success and life satisfaction.
What strategies and approaches can you use to shift and improve your communities to environments that celebrate rather than tolerate you and others?
“If you are not willing to learn no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you.”
—Zig Ziglar, 20th Century American Motivational Speaker
Image from Unsplash by Riccardo Annandale
The term “Coach-ability” is used frequently in my profession.
Individuals who are coachable have a voracious appetite for their own growth and development, a passion for learning, and of course, an open and receptive disposition.
Perhaps no other mindset or quality is attributed to achieving greater success than having this unstoppable determination to advance oneself and the world at large.
The technical term for trying to coach, teach, or mentor another individual who is close and unwilling to receive assistance, on the other hand, is “nagging.”
Only you and your perceptual filters can seek and find the coaching from others and the world around you. After all, being nagged by those hoping to contribute to you is a real drag.
Please conserve your energies and efforts with others in your communities that see you this way.
In what ways can you be far more open and receptive to the contribution of others, and learn all you can from these relationships?
How can you facilitate and engender greater coach-ability and subsequent learning with others in your personal and professional communities?
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
—Maya Angelou, late American poet, author, and civil rights activist
The process of coaching kicks many areas of life into a higher gear, given its experiential and interactive nature. Regardless of whether we are a senior citizen or infants, we all interact with the world, receive feedback, and then determine how to proceed in the future.
Through its emphasis on self-awareness, constructive feedback, and experiential learning, coaching expedites this process. It allows individuals and organizations to know more and do better at a more robust rate.
How and where can you do your best in a more intentional learning environment? How would the assistance of a teacher, mentor, or coach help you do and be better every day?
“Life is amazing, and the teacher had best prepare himself to be a medium for that amazement.”
—Edward Blishen, 20th Century British author
Image from Unsplash by Amanda Dalbjorn
Have you heard of Sam Horn? If not, look her up, and strongly consider reading her newsletter and books.
She often shares a concept she calls The Eyebrow Test, which refers to the ideas, concepts, and life events that literally make your eyebrows move upward, demonstrating great interest, or in the case of today’s quote, amazement.
How and in what ways can you more fully engage in your own life to experience far more raised eyebrows of amazement?
How can you share such moments or help others in your world experience greater amazement through your potential roles as teacher, mentor, parent, or coach?
“The world must learn to work together, or finally it will not work at all.”
—Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States
Image from OD4pic
As part of my preliminary discover process, two of the questions I use to determine the potential value of a coaching relationship are:
- What is working and going well in your personal and professional life?
- What is not working or going as you wish in your personal and professional life?
Based on the answers provided, a customized coaching relationship can be used to support going from good to great, or from not good to substantially better.
Perhaps no single factor impacts these areas more than the ability to create mutually trusting relationships and work toward common objectives.
Given the state of the world and specifically your worlds, what efforts and actions can and will you take to work more effectively and successfully with others?
“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.”
—Mark van Doren, Poet and Educator
Where in your personal or professional worlds do you play the role of teacher, mentor, or trusted advisor?
How often do you find yourself sharing your experiences, providing your advice, or simply stating solutions?
In such cases, we remove much, if not all, of the work our students could do to inquire and discover their own answers, which tend to be far more valuable and sustainable in the long run.
How would adding more of a “Coach Approach” to your teaching efforts help more of the people you support discover their own answers and realize the progress they desire?
“Turn Within for Guidance.”
Image from RamDass
Coaches use powerful questions and engaging inquiry as a means to help clients gain expanded perspectives and insights into their worlds. The time devoted to these discussions can be transformative.
The key to such interactions is based on the concept that virtually all the answers lie within each of us, if we are willing to do the hard work and look within.
By no means do coaches, mentors, trusted friends, or advisors have a monopoly on such questions or the power to create breakthroughs.
Consider yourself as the coach you take with you wherever you go, to always have the ever-ready guidance you seek.
Generate a list of your own powerful and provocative questions in a journal or notebook. Take the time to discover the deep and valuable answers within you.
A book that has become a favorite of mine is A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger. Consider picking up a copy to strengthen your capabilities in this area.
“Nothing is a stronger influence psychologically on their environment and especially on their children, than the unlived lives of their parents.”
-Carl Gustav Jung, 19th Century Swiss Founder of Analytical Psychology
Image from Flickr by Michelle Ress
Parenting is perhaps the highest expression of love I can imagine. Having two special kids in Dan and Rachel⏤now 31 and 29 years old⏤I know both my wife and I would do anything to support their happiness.
Jung’s statement caused me to ponder just how good a job we are all doing, coaching our children through the lives we live and the examples we set.
How excited are you when you share your life pursuits and adventures with your children?
How much dismay or regret do you experience as you look back, even on today, or into the days ahead? It’s not too late to turn things around or turbo-charge your efforts. I’m sure your children are still watching!
How and in what ways can and will you step into living an even more extraordinary life as an example of what is possible for those you love, especially your children?
“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.”
—Steven Spielberg, American director, producer, screenwriter
image from BBC
Over the past two decades I have had the great honor of coaching close to 100 individuals who were pursuing coaching careers. They all have the common desire and passion to make a positive difference in the lives of others through this special type of relationship.
I am often asked why I have not chosen to build a large organization with dozens of coaches utilizing my coaching approach. The quick and simple answer is that I feel people are better served by finding their own special coaching voice and style. In this way, they create a unique expression of their inherent gift and ability to support those around them.
How can your own mentoring and coaching efforts better support those around you in discovering more opportunities to create themselves?
Should you have an interest in pursuing a career in coaching, please feel free to contact me through my website to explore the possibility.