What Makes Coaching Work?
Since I coached my first client in early 2016, it has been a joy to partner with people who are making real and lasting shifts towards what they really want. The practice of coaching is transformative, and it has changed the way I lead, how I organize my life, my role in pastoral care, and my self-awareness. What is it about coaching that leads to this shift?
Questions are powerful. We place value on problem-solving and people who can give us concrete answers about what we should do. But does that make for lasting change? There are hundreds of books and seminars that have 7 keys, 5 steps, or a blueprint on how to be happy, successful and wise. But those represent other people’s answers. They are experts in their own lives, and are a source of insight. But what if you are the expert about your life? Coaching is a practice that asks powerful questions, so you can uncover your unique gifts in your context. For example, my favorite question is, “What do you really, really want?” The first time someone asked me this, I had no clue. No wonder I couldn’t move forward. I didn’t know where forward was!
Listening is more effective than telling. We do some of our best, most creative thinking when someone listens to us. A careful, non-judgmental, curious listener is a change agent. Nancy Kline is a consultant who has tested the power of listening. In one case study, she provided the opportunity for every senior manager in an organization to experience real listening, and to engage in listening to others. This process opened up a 62% time savings and hundreds of productive hours to achieve the organizations real purpose. Behind those numbers are less time spent in conflict, less resentment from misunderstandings, more creative ideas that flow when people know they will be heard, more follow through because people are motivated when they feel valued. Coaching is the art of dedicated, deep listening to bring out the best in you. What would you do with 62% more capacity?
Coaching creates concrete action. Coaching does more than create a set of goals and then holds you accountable. First, coaching helps you create alignment between your goals and who you really are. We often sabotage our goals due to limiting beliefs and false assumption about ourselves. Coaching helps you see through your current thinking to create new awareness. You have probably heard the definition of insanity, which is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results!
Second, coaching helps you design action steps you can make the day of your first session. You don’t have to be a completely different person tomorrow. But what is one step you can take immediately that would create hope and momentum towards your ultimate life goal?
Here is a step you can take right now. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and set up a complimentary coaching session. I think you will feel the shift in yourself from the first half hour, to live with all your soul!