Mediation. That’s a thing you do where you sit cross-legged, straighten your back, and clear your mind. Well yes, that’s the idea we start with.
I remember starting out meditating, and it was hard to see beyond that. Hidden behind that structure of sitting there was a real aim — this thing we do in meditation we want to happen in our daily lives. Over time new ideas are revealed… I can meditate while walking, I can meditate lying flat on my back on my bed, at the bus stop, on the bus.
That concentration of form and approach is needed at the beginning. Once we get it a bit, we can keep that awareness, mindfulness, and take it more into daily life. And this idea is neither radical nor that interesting — this is moving from conscious incompetence through conscious competence to unconscious competence.
Okay, so the point of writing this is to explain a bit where I’ve gone with coaching. The metaphor above holds true, it seems to me. I started out in that “let’s sit down and do an hours coaching” and I’m now much more in the “How do I take this coaching behaviour into my normal day job, where I’m a somewhat technical senior manager working with a lot of people?” kind of direction.
So what am I taking from my coaching into my day-to-day work? Some thoughts:
- There are many opportunities for high-quality 1:1 talks with people, especially working virtually. We don’t have to try and find private spaces in a busy office. This helps.
- Good open questions really matter. It is easy to get stuck in confirmatory questions – they are useful for building a shared idea, but don’t get to where people really are. Good questions are an invitation to get the full story, the full experience, not to just get something that confirms that we’re all “okay”. Good open questions take time and space. I have to be able to handle the answers, hold that space. Good senior management is all about holding the space anyway.
- My position matters. In all my interactions, on a video call, in person, whatever, I need to hold you in high regard, I need to see you and want you to grow, become, succeed. Basically these are Carl Rogers’ Core Conditions: empathy, authenticity, unconditional positive regard. Straight from coaching.
- I need to see and hold the bigger picture. Beyond the tasks, we are all beautifully flawed humans, doing what we can given what we’ve got. Business is a vast collaborative multi-player game. It is a team sport. I want to “win” and have fun doing it — with others. I try and share this view with others.