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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!

Coaching Questions You Could Learn from Your Doctor

You’ve been there, in the emergency room, when the doctor says “Where does it hurt?”

Have you ever asked that–or been asked that–in a coaching session?

Where does it hurt

Maybe not directly, or in those words, but I bet your coaching conversations go down this road pretty regularly. Or if they don’t, maybe they should.

Pain always tells you something. It’s just a signal that something is going on that shouldn’t be, or that could be going better…but the pain is not the real issue. Something else always is.

Managing pain is important, but helping heal the source of the pain…emotional, physical, or spiritual is what doctors–and coaches–actually do.

So starting your coaching conversations with “Where does it hurt?” or another form of it might be a great way forward.

Imagine starting a coaching conversation–whether you’re the coach or the client–with “What’s the nagging feeling you’ve got that shows up at inconvenient times?”

That’s another way to ask “Where does it hurt?”

Starting with a question like this sets the stage to go beneath the surface and get at what’s really going on. A healthy discovery process might go like this:

  • What is the pain you’re feeling?
  • What do you think might be causing that pain?
  • How confident are you that you really understand what’s going on?
  • What options could you brainstorm to do something about the root cause of the pain?
  • What action do you want to commit to?

This is how masterful coaches work.

Too many coaches are satisfied with impact at the shallowest level. It’s like the old joke “Doctor, Doctor…it hurts when I do this…” The doctor responds, “Well don’t do that.” Check out Henny Youngman doing this joke here. (It’s at the 1:25 mark.)

Whether you’re the coach or the client, don’t settle for this kind of coaching impact. That’s managing pain, it’s not helping heal woundedness. Dig deep with your clients…or let your coach dig deep with you.

How can you ensure that you’re digging deep or letting your coach dig deep? I’d love to hear your comments below.

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