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Why I'm Here

A few weeks ago I was getting discouraged. Every coaching session seemed like a mess: I wasn't able to stick to the structure of a coaching conversation, I wasn't using this or that coaching skill, my listening wasn't deep enough, my questions not powerful enough. I started to get anxious before my coaching appointments. Definitely not what I wanted from my brand new career!

And then I was reminded of why I love this job: People are amazing. They (we) are full of fascinating ideas, passionate wants, love and dreams. Coaching lets me see people deeply and walk beside them as they forge a better life, and what a delight and a privilege that is.

Today's newsletter is about that way of seeing people.

Creative, Resourceful, and Whole

Brené Brown calls it "the assumption of positive intent". In his book Positive Parenting, one of Alfie Kohn's ten principals is to "assume the best possible motive consistent with the facts". In The Art of Possibility Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander call it "giving an A": every member of a class gets an A before school even starts, and along with it, the room and the grace to live up to that A instead of having to prove they deserve it.

It's the heart of why I coach: I believe that everyone is doing their best (or at least that they want to do their best), and that everyone is worthy of unconditional love. That belief of mine — that everyone is wonderful, fascinating, loveable and complete — is the best thing I have to offer, and it creates a context in which people can apply their complete, wonderful, fascinating, loveable selves to the work of creating a life where they can shine.

At the Adler Coaching School we say that the client is creative, resourceful, and whole.

Creative, to create their own possibilities, goals, dreams and actions.

Resourceful, to figure out how to carry out their actions and meet their goals.

And whole — so they don't need to be fixed, told, advised, or corrected.

I believe you have it in you already. You know what you need to work on, find out, start up or finish up. You know who you need to talk to, what you need to learn, what you need to read. You already know what needs to happen next, and if you don't know what you know, I'll hold space, ask questions, and listen until you find it.

Try this at home

What does this look like in real life? Do I really believe that everyone, every minute, is doing their best – even those Saab drivers who almost run me over every day?

Brené Brown's husband Steve expresses how I feel: "I don't think you can ever know for certain. But I do know that my life is better when I work from the assumption that everyone is doing the best they can."

Who can you give an A to in your life? Can you assume the best possible intentions of someone? What would that look like? What would that allow them? What would that allow you?

What's NewOh lawd she comin'

I'm halfway through practicum at Adler, and I've completed two of five coaching feedback sessions. I still have a bunch of boxes to check off before I'm finished, but it seems doable. 😁

I'm also getting a much clearer idea of the kind of work I want to do starting next year: I want to work with teams in startups, and *mumble mumble* Agile coaching? I'm not sure exactly what that will look like but I'm going to investigate. Agile has been on my radar since before I discovered coaching, and it seems like the people side of Agile is the hardest part.

The universe also keeps sending across my path people who are new to Canada and looking for work in technology, so I will poke around and see if there are possibilities in that area, as well.

But for now, my focus is on wrapping up practicum with aplomb and getting as much learning out of it as I can.

Fun and Interesting

  • 50-word book review. Coach and therapist Rosamond Stone Zander and classical conductor Benjamin Zander's book The Art of Possibility is a series of simple principles — giving an A, not taking yourself seriously, working from the facts, and more — beautifully and clearly articulated. As a musician this book is a treat because music is referred to throughout, but it's delightful even if you're not.
  • We all have an Inner Critic. Eric Barker of Bakadesuyo writes about some skills to develop to help defuse yours. How to Be Happier Without Really Trying: 4 Odd Secrets From Research [bakadesuyo.com]
  • There is time for everything. Robert Poynton writes about finding time to pause and the power of breaks: a rest in music, negative space in design, a silence in conversation. If you want to get things done, pause [theguardian.com]

Thank you for reading this far!

If you like what you read, hit reply and let me know, or forward it and let someone else know. If you have questions or comments, hit reply and let me know. If you have seen something interesting out there, hit reply and let me know. Are you seeing a trend here? If so... hit reply and let me know! I look forward to hearing from you. ❤️

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