View this message in your browser

Weird metaphors

It's the first cool day of fall today, and I'm up late writing this because... I'm not organized? I'm still trying to figure out my writing workflow? I don't know. Anyway, read on for some thoughts about what coaching is and isn't, and a metaphor I've been cooking up.

What is (and isn't) coaching

Coaching is huge these days — everyone has heard of it and has some idea about what it means. (That's how it seems to me, anyway, although I might be experiencing that fallacy where once you start paying attention to something, it's everywhere.) But often, people's idea about what coaching is is not quite right.

It doesn't help that the dictionary definition for coaching directly contradicts the International Coach Federation's definition. The dictionary says coaching is variously training, teaching, or prompting with instructions. ICF coaching is specifically none of those.

(Really, we need a different word for this activity, but that's beyond my remit, so we'll have to make do with this overloaded word, "coaching".)

Also, once you start being a coach, people like to catch you at it in social settings. "Oooh!" they say, "you're doing coaching!" Except when they catch me, I'm almost never doing coaching — usually I'm being judgmental about someone's parenting, or doing some kind of armchair psychology diagnosis about "projecting" or "being in denial".

Neither of those things are coaching.

Actually, in social situations, coaching shows up when I listen intently, ask genuinely curious questions, and acknowledge your strengths and struggles. (It looks a lot like being a good conversationalist. I'm great at dinner parties.)

Of course, there's a lot more to coaching than being a good conversationalist. The ICF has a list of Things Which Are Coaching, called the core competencies. There's a bunch of them, but lately I've had the image of a vacuum on my mind. Bear with me.

A vacuum is a space entirely devoid of matter, as I'm sure you know. The thing about vacuums is that they're hard to come by here in the Earth's atmosphere. It's possible to create a vacuum on Earth, but it takes effort — all that air and stuff wants to rush in and fill up the empty space. But it's worth the effort: vacuums are useful for all kinds of things in research and industry. Sometimes you just need nothing.

Coaching serves to create a kind of vacuum — an empty space, made by listening and questions and even silence — where your thoughts can expand and roam in a way that they can't when they're bombarded by the atmosphere of other people's needs and requests and ideas and priorities.

In the vacuum of space, it's theoretically possible to unfurl a sail so large and so light that it can be moved by photons. In coaching, we create a vacuum which allows your awareness to be moved by questions, by introspection, or by observations.

Try this at home

How do you like this vacuum metaphor? I'm digging it but it might just be me. If works for you, think about how you could create some space for your thoughts to roam. Where would your thoughts go if they weren't crowded, if they had some space?

What's NewOh lawd she comin'

Today marks a year since it dawned on me that coaching is real job that people get paid to do. I've been fascinated by psychology, motivation, work, and people for years and years, so it was pretty cool to find that all together in one career.

This week I coached five times! I am working with some  fascinating, brilliant people and I feel so lucky. (Is it a violation of client confidentiality to say that?) I haven't done the math yet, but I'm pretty sure I'm on track to get all my practicum hours with the clients I have now (unless we all get pneumonia or something). However, more is more, so I'm going to keep the pay-what-you-can deal going until the end of October. If you know someone, let them know that time is running out!

Fun and Interesting

  • Do you play? I don't think of myself as a really playful person, but I do spend a lot of time in leisure pursuits. I like to read, I like to walk, I like new ideas and places... according to Dr Stuart Brown's theory of play personalities, I'm an Explorer. What's your play personality?
  • Later this year Sasha Velour is coming to Toronto! Have a look at the trailer for her show, Smoke and Mirrors.
  • Back in 2012 I wrote a sassy review on Goodreads for a book about time management, and it keeps getting likes to this day. It might be the most popular thing I've ever written!

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. ❤️

Amy Rhoda Brown Coaching
Copyright © 2019 Amy Rhoda Brown Coaching, All rights reserved.

Read (or re-read!) some recent newsletters

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp