20 years ago today, I discovered coaching. Well, more accurately, coaching discovered me.
I was two weeks on a new job, in a new city. Somehow, I got invited to an offsite meeting for only a portion of the staff.
Our team went off to a downtown hotel. This guy began working with us to brainstorm ideas for shows. He just asked a few simple questions, and before long, we had a list of things we were going to explore.
One moment in this meeting lit a fire in me. About 45 minutes into the first session on the first morning of a three day offsite meeting, I thought: “This complete stranger is helping us see what’s possible.”
I was hooked. The person next to me just nodded absently when I said “I don’t know what that guy is doing, but this is what I’m going to spend the rest of my life doing.”
Maybe you can relate.
My coach training began a little while later, and I learned that he made coaching look easy.
But there are 4-5 things I took away from that first encounter that still influence my coaching today.
Here are some things I wrote in my journal over the next few weeks:
- Every conversation is different when it starts with a question rather than a statement.
- The other person can’t answer your question if you’re always talking.
- The best questions lead to action.
- The best actions take you somewhere you’ve never been before.
- There is a relationship between good questions and creativity.
I walked out of that room that day not sure whether listening or questioning was more important, but I knew they both had more to offer than any statement I would make.
I hope today, whether you’re a coach or not, you will evaluate how you initiate conversations. What questions are you asking the people around you? How comfortable are you in listening to what they actually have to say? And how easy is it for you to give the other person space to answer the simple focused questions that you’re asking?
10 or 15 years later, I would I begin to say that “coaching changes everything”. That meeting room 20 years ago today convinced me, and one of the things that has been changed is my professional career. Maybe even my adult life.
What about you? Are you open to the change coaching might bring?
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