“Why,” asked one of my CEO clients, “do people always want to come and have conversations with me, after they’ve had some coaching time with you, Aileen?”
I smiled. It’s true. Coaching is about the one next step that moves someone to action. I’ve witnessed over the years, that moving to action does indeed often mean having a conversation with someone. A conversation to express an opinion or make a request. A conversation that my client had been avoiding. A conversation to get clarification or understanding that had been missing. A conversation to ask for what you need. A conversation to have something heard.
From my twenty plus years of such coaching, I have come to realise that coaching is really a return to the essential conversations that we need as human beings. Without conversation, little happens. Coaching turns up the volume on the conversation you first need to have with yourself. It gives voice to the unspoken thoughts, feelings, assumptions, worries, ideas and desires sitting inside you. And when those come more fully into your awareness and you hear them, coaching asks you questions so that you can choose how to respond to all those internal perspectives. You can decide which to discard and ignore, which to hear more fully, which ones to shift and change and which ones to pursue towards action.
And action often requires engagement with someone else. Your leader, a colleague, a team member, a friend or a partner. That’s why my CEO client often heard people knocking at his door, eager to engage him in conversation to make something happen. To make a request of him or share an idea that they wanted him to hear.
I’ve become fascinated by the power of conversation to inspire shifts in people. It’s why I’ve always referred to ‘coaching conversations’ rather than ‘coaching sessions’. One definition of the word ‘conversation’ is that it’s a place where we turn things around together. I’ve witnessed it time and again that one conversation between client and coach results in something turning around towards more purposeful understanding and action. It’s why I love what I do.
SPARK A CONVERSATION: What conversation is sitting inside you waiting to be heard? Who might you want to hear it? What might it lead to? #LEAD BOLDLY