“Learn your theories well, but put them
aside when you touch the miracle of a living person.” Carl Jung.
When I supervise coaches, I often hear statements
“I don’t feel I know enough”
or questions such as
“Maybe I should go on more training courses?”
Mostly, when I hear that kind of expression,
I’m delighted, because the moment we think we know enough….is the moment we stop paying attention.
I don’t know about you, but I believe there is a healthy & effective balance between knowing the process of coaching, ie the purpose & progress of your interaction with each particular client & also knowing that you will never know enough.
It’s not the tools, techniques or methodologies that will ultimately allow for a successful growth oriented coaching experience, it’s the quality of the relationship between coach & coachee.
Of course, the ‘right’ tools, techniques & methodologies are essential to a degree, it’s just that they don’t work on their own.
“The difference between theory & practice, is that in theory there isn’t one & in practice there is”
Rather than how many pieces of paper you have to your name, or how many excellent training courses you’ve attended, the real gift you are to your coachees is that you are on your own journey. You are a human becoming, just like them. You are a student of what it means to be human & a model of how to navigate the obstacles you perceive & reach for the dreams that inspire you.
Your own experience of being human is, I believe, your main qualification for being a great coach….as long as you are engaging with it in a consistent & exploratory way. And that’s the key.
I have so many vulnerabilities & perceived deficits. If I listed them all here we’d both have to lie in darkened rooms…..but I do know that my conscious & determined journeys into, with, through & along those winding paths as I use & apply with myself the very methodologies & processes that are the tools of my trade are part of the licence I have to call myself a coach & to walk alongside other journeyers….
The wonderful John O’Donaghue commented that
“One of the sad things today is that so many people are frightened by the wonder of their own presence. They are dying to tie themselves into a system, a role, or to an image, or to a predetermined identity that other people have actually settled on for them. This identity may be totally at variance with the wild energies that are rising inside in their souls. Many of us get very afraid and we eventually compromise. We settle for something that is safe, rather than engaging the danger and the wildness that is in our own hearts”
If coaching is to be anything, I want it to be the kind of relationship where both of us show up being on the wild & dangerous journeys that are our lives towards uncovering, evolving, unleashing, owning & harnessing the incredible beauty & potential within us to be the very best versions of ourselves we can be.
Unless I know that territory & have an idea of the equipment, the courage, the timescales of the journey…and know that I can never know the inner territory you are crossing, how can I stand or walk alongside you?
John O’Donaghue again,
“Every human person is inevitably involved with two worlds: the world they carry within them and the world that is out there”
One of the most exciting and energetic forms of thought is the question. A question is really one of the forms in which wonder expresses itself. One of the reasons that we wonder is because we are limited, and that limitation is one of the great gateways to wonder”
No, it’s not knowing enough or being on enough training courses that does it, it’s being on the extraordinary journey itself.
“If you’re afraid of a journey, don’t buy shoes” Mark Strand.
I love to notice, & to wonder & to journal on the things I wonder about: as the poet David Whyte says ~to "overhear myself saying things I didn't know I knew"