Posts Taged consciousness

The Art of Coaching

What is happiness questionHow do you explain passion?  How do you know with every core of your being that something is perfect or impossible?  The answer lies in what Michael Polanyi calls “The Tacit Dimension.”  Tacit knowledge is what we know that we would struggle to say.

Think about young Tim, a teenager just coming to grip with the concept of “love.” I can picture this 13-year-old boy coming to his father and saying, “I really love Betty.”  Dad, after calming down, would ask “What makes you think you’re in love?”  Tim has some ideas, but can’t come close to telling the whole story.

Tim’s problem is the one we all have.  We know more than we can say.  This is why we can recognize a face but not describe it.  It’s those hunches that gamblers play.  It’s those brass rings that let us say things we don’t even remember knowing but they fit the conversation perfectly.

Coaches get a lot of business because of this fundamental human characteristic.  Good coaches ask question to let you say what you know.  Great coaches ask questions to support you in digging deeper into what you know but haven’t said.

Michael Polyani, a scientific theorist, refers to this aspect of human knowledge as “the tacit dimension.”  We know more than we can tell.  And the more we tell, the more we know exists behind those statements.

Interestingly, we can’t get at our tacit knowledge by being told.  We only recognize that deeper knowledge when asked about it.

That’s why coaches matter.  They can ask the questions.  They are curious.  They take what you say and ask for what’s behind it.  Coaches have great metaphors to describe this:

  • Peeling back the layers
  • Unpacking this box
  • Digging deeper

The ability to do this well is not an easy skill.  It takes thought and training.  Learning the science of coaching helps, but understanding the right question at the right time is really about the art of coaching.  (And even great coaches can’t tell you everything about how they do it.)  How can you learn:

Engage with a mentor coach.  Your mentor can help you take apart a coaching sequence so you push your understanding deeper.

Practice mindfulness.  Think more about your second question than your first.  Take time to ask a question that pushes into the tacit dimension.

Get training.  Coach training gives you the opportunity to appreciate the art of coaching.  Investigate possible coach training programs and find one that seems to resonate with you.  Your tacit knowledge will help you find the right one if you listen to it.


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Being the Change Agent for Coaching

Like it or not, you are the one who will be changing the culture in your business.  What you want done differently is not going to happen without your attention. The more you act, the more you will encounter resistance.

We have to get product our the door; let’s worry about this later.

It’s not working fast enough.

It’s interfering with other processes.

Did you really want no one to notice that you are changing their world?  Did you think they were going to like everything?  And deep, deep, down: would you prefer to be ignored? 

Free Prize InsideThe painful part is there is no straight path to success.  The simple news, however, is that the more you do, the more success you will have.  Good ideas always win.  Seth Godin is a prolific and insightful writer.  Here are a couple of his earlier ideas on how to be an innovator.  This is your opportunity to find some motivation and tactics to keep you moving forward.

WebThink SOFT INNOVATION.  Soft innovations are those clever, insightful, useful small ideas that just about anyone can think up.  Do enough of them and you and create a culture shift. A few years ago, Seth Godin wrote a book call, Free Prize Inside.  While it sounds like a new Cracker Jack slogan, it is much, much more.  If you want to offer a free prize to your customers, you have to get company support first.  And companies resist change.  So, become a soft innovator.  Buy the book and read “Section 2, Selling the Idea.”  These sixty pages will help you understand what is going on in the company and the role you can play.  Godin introduces a conceptual tool, The Fulcrum of Innovation, which is the same across almost all organizations and helps you create a strategy of soft innovation.  There are also 17 tactics to help you along the way. Seventeen is a lot of tactics.  This is your manual of success.

linchpinResists your Resistance.  When pushed, your tendency is to hide.  It’s okay.  We all do it.  There is a neurological reason for it happening.  Right on top of your spinal cord is your basil ganglia, most commonly known as your lizard brain. Scientists estimate that it takes .07 seconds for our lizard brain to react when threatened.  Unfortunately, the rest of our brain—the cognitive portion, takes longer to react. One of Seth Godin’s more recent books, Linchpin, looks at the lizard brain and how it controls our reactions.  You became a change agent for a reason.  Read the chapter in Linchpin about the resistance.  You will understand why you want to crumble in the face of resistance; how you can easily undermine yourself; and what you can do to hold off those fears long enough for your rational brain to take over.

No one said change was easy.  You are the champion for an idea that needs action.  You don’t need to be a lone voice in the wilderness. Use resources like these from Seth Godin to unlock the coach inside you.

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Intuition – It is in Every Coach

Woman's Eye

The Path of intuition is a path of the heart, a path of the soul. It is a path that leads you to yourself, that leads you home. In this homecoming, you can find your purpose, place, and you can rediscover the joys of your heart, the ancient wisdom of your soul.
Quotation adapted from Intuition, Awakening Your Inner Circle, by Judee Gee 

Intuition is something we all have, we all use it on some level and few of us get formal training to better understand it. Did you know that it is not a function of our subconscious? Indeed it is a part of our consciousness very much akin to the function of mental awareness. Because intuitive perception acts through the subconscious as well as through our conscious mental awareness, it is important to know that it springs from a deeper source than our brains. At SoulSalt, we believe that intuition is vitally important and so I’d like to take a moment to distinguish it from instinct, intelligence, and insight.

Instinct – is a universal endowment of nature. It relies heavily on our five senses. It is related closely to survival and that part of us that acts faster than could reason. It functions within our flight or fight brain processes. An example would be the instinctual sense of danger when one smells smoke inside their home.

Intelligence – goes far beyond academics. It is the part of us that thinks; the part that blends experiences with insights through several types of thought processes to help us make meaning. For example, intelligence can express itself in these ways:

Divergent or productive thinking invents all the new possibilities that have not occurred to you before.
Reproductive thinking fixates on what has worked in the past and tries to apply it in the present.
Convergent thinking eliminates and narrows down the possibilities to the one right or two right next steps.

Insight – is like a realization. It happens when we “get it.” For example: Think of the moment when it all came together and you discovered the true identity of Santa Clause. Or, think about the moment you realized that your parents must have had sex, at least once.

Intuition – is a function of awareness that comes from the soul or from the spirit. It springs forth from a deep source that is neither linear nor rational. It is NOT imperative to our survival. It IS imperative to our spiritual wellbeing and creative self-expression. It is a flash of personal certainty. It is key in understanding what our soul has to tell us. Intuition is clarity and it always, always brings a sense of peace that we cannot be deterred from. It feels ancient, clean and clear as well as deeply personal. When it guides we just know what we know and we can’t tell you exactly how we know.

When was the last time you really paid attention to what your intuition is telling you? Who would you be if you used this gift with extreme skill? What would your coaching practice feel like if you used your intuition even more as a coaching tool?

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You Must Like What You Do (or You Wouldn’t Do It)

I could start by saying something provocative like, “You must like what you are doing or you wouldn’t be doing it.  You have a choice to do what you are doing and at some point you have decided that your current course of action is the most likable one.” Your reaction would probably be to call me condescending, pedantic, and out of touch.  You would say to me that no one has that much control over their life.

However, if I was to begin by quoting John Maxwell who said, “The truth is that mediocrity is always a personal choice,” you might hesitate just a little bit.  So let’s start there.

If you keep telling yourself that the economy is bad, nobody is doing any better, or the company can’t get it right, then you will never find yourself in any place different from where you are right now.  You have chosen mediocrity.

If you keep telling yourself that I can’t afford it, my family needs this, or someday I’ll be glad that I stuck through it, then you have chosen to be where you are doing what you are doing.

There’s more, but it’s a simple claim.  When we realize that we have the power to choose, than we realize that

  • we have chosen in the past,
  • we are choosing now,
  • and we will chose in the future.

And with our realization that we are choosing, we must conclude that we are happy with the choice or that we should make another.

Choosing to be different doesn’t mean a radial 360 transformation.  Maybe it means making five outreach calls for your business every day. Maybe it means asking your spouse to do laundry duties in exchange for more adult together time after  the kids go to bed. or maybe it means starting to save $50 a week to transition out of that awful job you hate.

It mean saying I like what I do or I’d do something different.

What do you think?  How have you thought about your happiness?  If you are unsure where to start, this is a perfect opportunity to seek a coach to support you as you move forward.

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