“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.”
—John C. Crosby, 20th Century American politician
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What is your personal and professional experience with mentoring and coaching? How many brains have you picked and how many ears have listened to you before they pushed or pulled you in the right direction?
Where have you been on the other side of this equation where you offered to be there for others in your various communities?
What qualities made these relationships most effective and successful? What lessons have made the most significant and lasting impact in your life?
Where and with whom can you be even more intentional and proactive in your mentoring and coaching efforts? Who can and will you be calling today to ask for or offer this valuable gift?
“Show them the doors that they didn’t know existed.”
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Being a mentor and a coach for others is one of the most satisfying and rewarding ways to spend a day. Teaching others and showing them new doors that lead to greater knowledge and opportunities is always accompanied with raised eyebrows and delighted smiles as new worlds emerge.
I have gained a sense of deep appreciation as I watch the parenting strategies of my daughter Rachel and her husband Chris as they direct and guide our three-year-old grandson, Weston. Each day includes new discoveries, new words, and new ways to play in and with his expanding world.
Wendy and I continue to mentor and coach our two children, now in their 30s. It is a pleasure to see how many doors they can now find and open on their own.
Who are the mentors and coaches that opened doors in your personal or professional life? How and with whom can you recognize their kindness and generosity by paying forward their gifts with someone deserving your special guidance?
“When you counsel someone, you should appear to be reminding him of something he had forgotten, not of the light he was unable to see.”
—Baltasar Gracian, 17th Century Spanish Jesuit philosopher
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Coach-ability is the quality of openness and receptivity an individual has to the input, ideas, and general support of another individual or experience.
We all wish to be helpful and contribute to others, but on some occasions our intentions seem to miss the mark or can be dismissed or rejected.
Encouragement and enrolling an individual in being far more receptive and coach-able works better when their own thoughts and ideas are brought forth or drawn out, rather than simply showing them the light of our wisdom.
Where in your life have your efforts to counsel others fallen on deaf ears? Who in your various professional or personal communities is dulling their axe on you? How would the wisdom of today’s quote generate far more coach-ability and progress through these valuable interactions?
“Mentors are like potato chips: You can’t have just one.”
—Eric Barker, author of Barking up the Wrong Tree
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Whether you call them potato chips, crisps, or something else, potato chips are big business, accounting for sales north of ten billion dollars per year.
Countries around the world have unique flavors of chips – all adding to our waistlines! For example:
- Canada: dill pickle, jalapeño, ketchup and wasabi
- Indonesia: spicy chicken, nori seaweed, and salmon teriyaki
- Columbia: lemon, chorizo, sirloin steak, and mushroom sauce
- Japan: consommé, soy sauce, plum, chili, and scallop
- United Kingdom: prawn cocktail, beef and onion, spicy sriracha, and aromatic curry
What flavors have you tried? What type of chips do you crave during those naughty moments of self indulgence?
Mentors and coaches, meanwhile, are almost always beneficial and support you in leading a happier, healthier, and more successful life.
Where might adding a few more mentors and coaches support your progress towards greater personal and professional achievement?
Even if you don’t formalize these relationships on a one-on-one level, consider the books, blogs, seminars, and other resources from such individuals and how they can support your efforts.
“If you do not change directions, you may end up where you are headed.”
—Lao Tzu, ancient Chinese philosopher
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As part of my coaching discovery process, I ask prospective clients to answer a number of questions that help them fully examine the potential value of us working together.
These questions help them expand what is working, and impact what is not. For many individuals, the following question provokes considerable interest:
What do you expect to achieve in your professional
and personal life, given your current plans, strategies,
and general direction?
Given time to explore this question fully, most people see the need to change course if they are to fully realize their highest priority goals and not end up where they are currently heading.
Consider answering this question for yourself and discussing any insights and potential actions you plan to take with a friend, colleague, mentor, family member, or coach.
Feel free to reply to this post with what value you create.
“There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.”
—Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States
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As part of my customized Personal Excellence Training — which sets the stage for the majority of coaching engagements — I introduce a self-coaching tool called “The Pivot Point.”
This technique uses the concept of “creative tension” described by Robert Fritz in his book, The Path of Least Resistance.
Essentially, the pivot point involves asking yourself — or perhaps a group — these three questions:
- What is the current reality?
- What is the vision or goal?
- What actions can and will I/we take to move forward?
The leverage of our vision provides the impetus to move forward, and creates the opportunity to better our situation.
Select at least one personal or professional front-burner issue or project to try out the Pivot Point technique. Please consider replying to this post to let me know how things go.
“Wisdom is often times nearer when we stoop than when we soar.”
Image from Unsplash by Mark Pan4ratte
Achieving new levels of professional and career success is almost always a primary reason people seek coaching. They of course wish to soar, create more value for others, and better provide for themselves and their families.
In the course of pursuing these goals, most people see considerable spill over into their personal life priorities, sometimes right within arms reach.
It turns out that wisdom is far nearer than they thought. Reaching out to serve their friends, colleagues, neighbors, and other communities helps them experience greater passion and purpose in their lives.
How might you gain far greater wisdom by doing a bit more stooping rather than soaring? What actions can and will you take today?
“Questions can be like a lever you use to pry open the stuck lid on a paint can.”
—Fran Peavey, late political Author
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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?