Letting go of the need to know...
We have all been very well trained in the importance of being independent and having our own opinions and perspectives. From the early years of our education and throughout our professional careers, we have been encouraged and rewarded to find answers and to arrive at our solutions. Very often, our own identity depends on the level of expertise and experience we have acquired through the years.
We pride ourselves on our ability to figure things out.
While this skill is imperative for us to be able to navigate through the complexities of our present world, it can also be counterproductive in so many ways, especially in the process of coaching.
Coaching is an opportunity for our coachees to widen their perspectives, learn more about themselves and their situation, and take the opportunity to develop and move forward. Coaching is a time for innovation, for new ideas to come to the surface, and to arrive at outcomes not yet imagined.
If the focus of the coach is to solve the problem and impart knowledge, there is very little room left for the coachee to do the work. In our drive to find a solution thinking this is what will bring value to the coaching process, we miss noticing that instead, we are crowding the space with our perspectives, inadvertently preventing the coachee to generate their own learning and grow from it.
That is why the value of coaching is not in finding the answer, but instead in bringing an expert framework for the conversation that supports the coachee to explore, to seek for themselves, and to come to an insight.
The moment we find an answer,
the conversation is over.
The moment we find an answer, the conversation is over. There is no longer the need to explore further. Development is thwarted and awareness becomes secondary.
This is the antithesis of what coaching is. Coaching is development. Coaching is experimentation. Coaching is curiosity. Coaching is excitement for what is not yet known. Coaching is about possibilities. Coaching is paying attention. Coaching is potential. Coaching is movement. Coaching is life.
Solving the problem is easy. Having the courage to imagine, to stretch beyond and to be open to the new - that is the challenge.
As coaches, we need to learn how to be comfortable with not-knowing. We need to put aside our egos and our need to prove ourselves. Trusting the process. Trusting ourselves. Trusting our coachees, giving them the chance to take full ownership of their own lives, their situation, and their growth. That is the power of coaching.
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As a mentor coach, I am always giving feedback to my students and mentees helping them develop their coaching skills and prepare for their certification with the ICF. ForCoaches is a place where I can publicly share some of my insights and experiences. What does it mean to be a truly effective coach?