Help the world by leaving a trail of who you are

“Help the world by leaving a trail of who you are.”

—Mark Nepo, Author of The Book of Awakening

Image from Unsplash by Universal Eye

A few weeks ago, I was taking my daily walk and my cellphone rang. My natural reaction is always to look at the screen to see if it is a family member or someone I know. The call was from a location in Wisconsin where my son lives and yet the number was unfamiliar. My gut somehow had me take the call.

The woman on the line began her comments “You probably don’t remember me but about 20 years ago you spoke to me about coaching. Our conversation made such an impression, I chose to pursue this as my career as well.”

Although we never engaged in a formal relationship, somehow this initial genuine conversation had altered her entire career trajectory.

For many coaches, coaching is not just we do, it’s who we are. Our daily efforts do not always leave an obvious trail and yet we are all called to keep walking this path to bring out the best in others.

EXERCISE:

How are you walking your own authentic path intending to help and serve others?

What are some of the visible and hidden trails you have pioneered through your efforts?

Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness.  Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.

“Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.”

—August Wilson, 20th Century American Playwright

Image from Unsplash by Benjamin Davies

Consider the following statement on a one-to-five scale in which one is absolutely not and five is definitely yes.

I have a clear view of where I am and where I am going in my life.

This statement is part of my discovery process to help determine a potential client’s readiness to move their lives forward with a supportive coaching relationship.

For optimal success, these relationships benefit significantly through the deep and thoughtful process of examining and wrestling with their limiting beliefs and habits. Through careful illumination and generous self-forgiveness, each individual will most likely realize far more of their fullest personal and professional potential.

EXERCISE:

What steps can and will you take to more fully examine your own demons to help your angels sing? Consider picking up a copy of the book Taming your Gremlins by Rick Carson as a way to open this door of deeper discovery.

To explore your own readiness for coaching, please consider filling out my free Coaching Readiness Assessment.

“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.”

“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.”

—John C. Crosby, 20th Century American politician

Image from Unsplash by krakenimages

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?

EXERCISE:

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.”

“Show them the doors that they didn’t know existed.”

—Paul Jun, on Mentor Programs, The Impresario

Image from Unsplash by Michal Dolnik

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.

EXERCISE:

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

“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

Image from Unsplash by Nik MacMillan

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.

EXERCISE:

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.”

“Mentors are like potato chips: You can’t have just one.”

—Eric Barker, author of Barking up the Wrong Tree

Image from lays.com

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.

EXERCISE:

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.

“If you do not change directions, you may end up where you are headed.”

—Lao Tzu, ancient Chinese philosopher

Image from Unsplash by Jammie Templeton

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.

EXERCISE:

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.

“Wisdom is often times nearer when we stoop than when we soar.”

“Wisdom is often times nearer when we stoop than when we soar.”

—William Wordsworth, in The Excursion

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.

EXERCISE:

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

“Questions can be like a lever you use to pry open the stuck lid on a paint can.”

—Fran Peavey, late political Author

Image of The Coaching Habit book cover

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.

  1. The Kickstart Question: What’s on your mind?
  2. The AWE Question: And What Else?
  3. The Focus Question: What’s the real challenge here for you?
  4. The Foundation Question: What do you want?
  5. The Lazy Question: How can I help?
  6. The Strategic Question: If you are saying Yes to this, what are you saying No to?
  7. The Learning Question: What was most useful for you?

EXERCISE:

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

“Go where you’re celebrated, not where you’re tolerated.”

—Author Unknown

Image of confetti topped by a sign that says, "Yeah!"

Image from Unsplash by raw pixel

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.

EXERCISE:

What strategies and approaches can you use to shift and improve your communities to environments that celebrate rather than tolerate you and others?