I read and listen to a lot of self/personal development stuff. But all that reading and listening doesn’t amount to a hill-of-beans (speaking of which, has anyone ever seen an actual “hill-of-beans” and is one all that desirable?) without application.
Information without application is interesting and sometimes entertaining, but it’s never transformative – it doesn’t change anyone or anything.
And that’s what we’re after, what we need. We need to transform, we need to change. More specifically, and accurately, we need to effectively manage change – to the greatest extent possible.
Change is happening all the time. The only thing that doesn’t change is something that’s dead (and even that is changing in that it’s decaying… ).
So: 1) we want to effectively manage the change we are experiencing all the time and 2) just reading and listening to developmental materials is necessary, but insufficient for effective change.
We must apply new and effective strategies and practices in the service of authentic change and development.
Hey! Wait! What’s this “authentic” you just threw in there… !?
Glad you noticed; I’m big on authenticity and no conversation of sustainable change is complete with authenticity. Without authenticity, the energy required to create and sustain change will be absent.
Okay, back to this “other” way coaching works…
Coaching works because, quite simply, it is a mechanism for people to discover and apply authentic strategies for change. (Or at least the way I do coaching is a mechanism for ‘that.’)
As an application mechanism coaching works in different ways, sometimes these different “ways” show up simultaneously, sometimes individually and sometimes in a particular sequence. These ways include:
- creating an environment of conversation, curiosity, inquiry and support, that engenders change
- the fact that the coach’s only agenda is the development and well-being of the client (in contrast to every other person in the client’s life that has some agenda, however well-meaning they may be… )
- accountability borne of the new and different relationship between client and coach
- the partnership that develops between the coach and client and the ensuing “power” that he client feels knowing they are not “going-it-alone” and that they have their own developmental partner
- the willingness to speak freely and clearly, without fear of judgment or reproach because the coach is an un-biased “sounding-board”
- accountability borne of the coaching fee (i.e. people decide to value change and invest in it, and at the very least, do not want to squander said investment)
Whatever exactly motivates the client to pursue authentic change, it happens, to some real extent, because that what coaching does. Or, more accurtaely, because that’s what people think coaching does. There’s a self-fulfilling prohecy created when something agrees to a coaching engagement.
It works because we believe it will. The same is true of friendship, marriage and many other more familiar social arrangements. Does coaching “fail” at times? Of course, but so do these other arrangements sometimes. That possibility of “failure” doesn’t stop us for having friends or getting married (or entering into a long-term committed relationship… ).
Another way of saying this is a paraphrase of an old personal development saw: nothing works unless you do and a quote from Henry Ford, “if you think can, or think you can’t, you’re right.”
Coaching is just a highly effective way for people create clarity about who exactly they are, what they really want and get supported in the process of creating and achieving what they want – faster and easier.