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What’s the Question YOU Want to Answer?

Have you seen the latest Google television ad? It builds on the power of questions, starting from the standpoint that question is the most powerful force on earth.  Check the ad out here.  (You’re welcome, Google, for all the free pub this blog post is going to generate!)

This certainly lines up with Google’s philosophy. Google CEO Eric Schmidt has said that the best advice he ever got was to hire a coach. It’s an acknowledgement that questions open possibilities that statements never can.

Questions are the most powerful force on earth.  And coaching is the most powerful relationship there is!

So what’s the question you really want to answer? And how could a coach help you answer it? I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments below.

9 Things Coaches Can Learn from the New Star Wars Trailer

If you were on social media this past week, you probably saw a slew of posts about the new Star Wars trailer. (ICYMI…There is a new Star Wars movie coming out at Christmas this year.)

And now Luke, Leia, and Han Solo are coming back to a theater near me! I can’t wait.

That last sentence summarizes what I saw last week on Facebook, Twitter, and even LinkedIn. Star Wars: The Force Awakens…coming this Christmas.

I posted about it…after my social media feeds were JAMMED with items about the trailer. It’s only eight months away!

Star Wars Facebook

This is what my social media feed looked like after the new Star Wars trailer came out.

But then a second wave of posts started to hit the feeds. 18 Things We Noticed in the New Star Wars Trailer 29 Questions I’ve Got After Watching the New Star Wars Trailer 47 Ideas We Had after Watching the New Star Wars Trailer

It got me thinking…I wonder if I could make a list of things coaches can learn from the new Star Wars trailer. Well, good news. There are at least NINE things coaches can learn from the two minutes of cinematic goodness that made Matthew McConaughey alternate between laughter & tears.

1. Anticipation is powerful. The new movie is still more than six months away. But people are talking about it now. What do your clients anticipate? What could you coach them to look forward to?

2. People want to talk about things that are important to them. This is the first rule of coaching: You can’t coach what the client won’t say. If it’s important to your client, they will readily jump into the conversation. These are the things coaches should be talking with their client’s about, right?

3. Some patterns of human behavior are universal, even when they take us back a long time ago, to a galaxy far far away. The struggle between good and evil. Commitment and discipline to pursuing a dream. Man’s desire to drive fast…in the latest technology. This certainly applies to coaching. People want to make good decisions. We want to live lives of purpose and meaning. We want our work to matter and our families to be healthy. These are all coachable topics!

4. Most people enjoy re-visiting happy experiences from their past. Humans are always willing to remember things that hold a special place in our memories. Star Wars fits that description for a lot of us! What previous successes can you help your clients re-visit?

5. An incomplete story leads to questions. The trailer is a hint of the full story. You get a sense of what it will be like, but what’s actually going to happen? Only J.J. Abrams (the director) knows. Coaching relationships are built on questions, and a key guideline for coaching is to ask questions around the things that help your clients move forward into their future stories. How can you tie your questions to the story your clients are living?

6. It’s easy to fit limited information into patterns that might or might not be accurate. BUT it’s hard to find the accurate patterns. Some of the most fun internet articles following the trailer release were speculation about what MIGHT be included in the final film. Direct communication and creating awareness in coaching means that a coach helps a client not just guess about what might happen, but prepare to make the most of the opportunity they’ve got in front of them. What could you do with your next client ot help them see the truth accurately?

7. Familiarity with a twist of newness is a terrific story telling device. Part of the reason the buzz about the movie is so loud is that we know a lot about the galaxy far, far away…even if this all happened a long time ago. We care what happens next. We know basically what it wil be like, but the details are still out of view. This is especially appropriate for coaching…as most clients live consistent pattern, but chase new details every time. Masterful coaching is built on helping clients learn about the familiar world around them simultaneously with understanding the new details. What’s consistent in your client’s world? How can you make the most of that understanding?

8. Yes, the newness of the story matters, but what really grabs peoples attention is the relationship to the people involved. Who’s your favorite Star Wars character? Luke? Leia? Vader? C3PO? (I’ve always like Han Solo.) Don’t you want to know what they’re going to do next? Same process in coaching. How can your coaching help advance the relationships that are most important to the person you’re coaching?

9. Potentially, there are coaching lessons in just about everything. Even the new Star Wars trailer. Which is only EIGHT MONTHS AWAY! Did I mention that?

So what did you learn from the new Star Wars trailer? And how would you apply it to your coaching relationship(s)? I’d love to see your thoughts in the comments below!

The Key Difference Between Coaches and Mentors

It’s always amusing when I hear someone say “I need a coach”, and then a few minutes later they say “I need a mentor.”

So which is it?

Coach?  Or Mentor?Coaches and mentors have the same goal: both want to see the client make progress toward their vision.

Don’t miss this. To be effective with a coach or a mentor, YOU’VE got to have a vision.

Your vision might be big or small.

It might be long-term or short-term.

You could take on something you want to do by yourself or something that takes a team.

Every one of these options can be handled by both coaching and mentoring.

Both coaching and mentoring are most effective when you know where you want it to take you. There is a direct connection between clarity and progress. Like the old song says, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there!”

Coaching and mentoring are intentional relationships. The intention in the relationship defines how the coach or mentor interacts with the client.

The client supplies the vision, and the coach/mentor brings the intention.  This intention defines how the coach/mentor interacts with the client, specifically on how the client’s next step gets chosen.

A mentor will offer you advice or guidance. They will tell you about things they’ve experienced and unpack how those things might apply to your life. A mentor will try to replicate skills in you that they have already learned. It’s almost like they are cloning a small part of who they are–and how they are–in you.

A coach really won’t do any of those things. A coach will draw out of you what you know was inside of yourself but maybe are hesitant to talk about. The coach will ask you a lot of questions, and will wait patiently while you answer them–even if it takes three or four tries. Coaches will help you connect the dots inside of your head, and then choose what action you want to take. An effective coach will even help you evaluate and apply the things you’re learning about yourself.

There’s no advice or guidance in coaching…unless the coach is switching between coaching and mentoring (which happens all the time, despite what coaches will tell you!)

Someone who has both coaching and mentoring skills will teach you something when teaching is most effective. But they’ll also step back and emphasize listening to help you make the connections or discoveries you need to make when that’s the most appropriate strategy. Sometimes they’ll pour in and sometimes they’ll draw out. In every situation, they should journey with you to wherever it is your vision is calling you.

You supply the vision. They supply the support.

If you’re looking for someone to speak into your life or to help you make sense of what’s going on in your life, the first step is to get clear on the vision you’re pursuing. Where are you going?

The next step is deciding if you want a coach or a mentor. Maybe both sets of skills have valuable things to add to your effectiveness.

  • Sometimes you need someone who has been there and done that.
  • Sometimes you need someone who has the kind of experience that you’re looking for.
  • Sometimes you need to just be with someone who’s done nothing you’re trying to accomplish yourself.

This is when you need a mentor. Church planters are often greatly blessed by being mentored by someone who has been there and done that.

But…

  • Other times you’re blazing new trails, or going somewhere where no one has gone before.
  • Other times the most helpful thing is to have someone who can just help you make sense of all the crazy thoughts running through your mind.
  • Other times it’s most useful to be able to push pause with someone and try to figure out what’s actually going on.

These other times are when coaching is most effective. Any startup environment can be enhanced with the presence of an effective coach. You’re often building the plane as you fly it, so that relatoinship that adds perspective is key.

So, what’s your vision? And what kind of intentional relationship would be most helpful? I’d love to hear what you’re taking on. Hit me up in the comments below.

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