Do you love a good chat?

Having a good chat with a friend over a hot and/or alcoholic beverage is one of the principal pleasures of my life. Perhaps not coincidentally, conversation (minus the alcohol) is one of the three pillars of Adlerian coaching. (The other two pillars are the relationship between coach and coachee and the coaching process, both of which I'm sure I will write about one day).

Whether or not conversating is one of your simple pleasures (or you're more of a curl-up-with-a-book person), read on to find out how all that yakking works.

It looks like these five parrots are having a conversation, right?

The Power of Talk

The coaching conversation is a unique thing, not really like any conversation that happens organically. A typical social conversation involves a certain amount of give and take: first you talk about yourself and I listen and ask questions, then I talk about myself and you listen and ask questions. Repeat.

(If that's not how your social conversations go, well... just know that things could be better.)

A coaching conversation is not so balanced: the client is there to talk, I am there to listen — to listen and to guide the conversation in the general direction of the client's goal. I use a variety of tools to do that, including:
  • asking questions,
  • reflecting what you have said (not quite the "repeat the last three words" life hack, but related),
  • straight-up interrupting and asking you what's important (if a story is starting to meander), and
  • acknowledging (which is a coach-y term for something like validating or affirming).
But the most technical part of the coach's role in conversation, I think, is maintaining the conversation's structure. There's supposed to be an arc, just like in a good story. It starts with working out what the problem is, then chews over the choices available, and finally crescendos in a decision about what action to take. (I have to admit I'm not terrifically good at the pacing and structure of coaching conversations yet, but I guess I'll get there. 😬)

The part with the headshot and the call to action

My coaching practicum has started and I'm working with a few very cool people already. I'm still offering a pay-what-you-can rate through July and August — there is literally no better deal available until Dairy Queen starts giving away Blizzards. (And there's no line-up for coaching.)

If you know someone who might be interested in coaching, please pass my name to them. I can work with clients all over the world, and I'm particularly interested in working with researchers, software developers, musicians and creative entrepreneurs.

By the way, I got these gorgeous headshots done in the chill of late winter by Yuli Scheidt. She's not doing portraits these days, but she has some terrific prints for sale on her website.

Fun and Interesting

  • 50-word book review: Lost Connections by Johann Hari revisits depression from the ground up. Hari, a journalist who has been treated for depression since his teens, talked to social scientists and visited communities around the world in search of the social roots of the modern epidemic of anxiety and depression. Fascinating and compelling.
  • I'm still trying to figure out the balance between mindfulness — being in the present moment — and my natural inclination to plan for the future and pursue goals. Ayetekin Tank writes about it in Why Work Alone Won't Ever Fulfill You (JotForm)
  • Along similar lines, Toronto author Kerry Clare is kind of the anti-me when it comes to setting goals and being intentional and stuff, and she writes about that in I think your bullet journal is stupid. (Pickle Me This)

Thank you for reading this far!

If you like what you read, hit reply and let me know, or hit forward 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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