Finding Unexpected Clarity

Coaching is not about consulting with an expert, and it’s not about processing your past. It’s forward-oriented and focused on where you want to go, not where you have been.

I have officially been coached three times so far.

The first time, my coach and I talked about an issue that I was facing in my job where there was an action that I wanted to take more often, but found myself unable to do it consistently. The second time, we examined my thoughts about becoming a coach and what was preventing me from going down that path. The third time, we talked about an idea that I have for my school and whether or not the idea is ready to be shared with others or if it needs more thought before I can move forward.

In each case, I hadn’t decided what to talk about before I joined the one-hour Zoom session. These were just the topics that happened to be on my mind when my coach asked me what I wanted to talk about that day. The first two sessions were about an issue that I was trying to solve, whereas the third session was more about exploring an idea in more depth. In all three cases, my coach was able to elicit my thoughts through gentle questioning and help me figure out where I wanted to go next.

This is the beauty of coaching. It’s not about the coach being a guru and knowing all the answers. A good coach will provide the right “container” to hold your thoughts for a moment while you sort through them.

It’s also not like therapy where you go back into your past and try to figure out why you do the things you do. It’s more forward-oriented, and focused on where you want to go, not where you have been.

After every session, I have experienced a very satisfying level of clarity that I hadn’t even consciously realized I was seeking. I was able to poke around inside my own brain and see what was going on in there. I put some of my thoughts in better order — both about the particular topic that we were working on, and about other, more general things. For example, I caught myself “storytelling” rather than thinking several times, meaning that I was fitting myself into a story that I have created in my own head rather than actually thinking about the situation at hand in realistic terms. (I think I will write more about storytelling later, as it can have a huge impact, both positive and negative, on our own efforts depending on how we use it.)

Overall, these three sessions have been extremely useful and have left me wanting more. And they have helped to confirm my desire to train as a coach. I believe that even if I never have a coaching business and actual clients of my own, the things that I will learn through training as a coach, and the experiences that I will have along the way, will help me immeasurably as a leader.

Finding unexpected clarity