“…a dream that lies somewhere ‘beyond your reach’ yet within the horizon of your beliefs.”
Reflecting on a coaching call from earlier this morning, I am again reminded of the critical role I serve as a coach.
I typically begin a coaching session with something like, “How do you want to use your time today?” It is amazing how difficult this question can be to answer for the un-coached individual, despite the typical “to do list” of the average person. Of course, my coaching clients want something better than average.
This morning my call was with a long-term client, now a dear friend, who nearly always has had an agenda ready to address. This morning, his response was something like this:
“I really don’t have an agenda ready, but Mark, you know me well. What do you see with me or my business that I’m not addressing? What are my blind spots?”
This is a brilliant question, by the way, if not asked too often; a brilliant agenda, even though he knew I wouldn’t simply tell him MY answer without exploring HIS answers first. Thus began our coaching conversation this morning.
As I look back over the past 28 years of coaching hundreds (maybe thousands?) of people, I am amazed – when a client arrives with “no agenda” ready to discuss, this can be the seed of a powerful movement toward desired results from coaching. It can also be a total cop-out. Oh, the many stories I could tell…
Of course each person does have an agenda, but not everyone is able to articulate his or her agenda. They just need a little help in identifying and articulating their want or need in the moment. They may also need to learn, or be reminded, that I am not responsible for either their agenda or their goal achievement, success, happiness, or however one might label his or her desire.
This is what I do. I help people achieve dreams that are greater than their current reality. Not everyone is clear at the start, either about their dreams or about their current reality.
Yes, there are folks who are unable to articulate their agenda (but not incapable), whether it be for a coaching call, for that day, or for their life in general. That’s why my coaching model requires some intensive upfront work. Ultimately, coaching is impossible without an agreed-upon agenda, a goal, a dream that lies somewhere “beyond your reach” yet within the horizon of your beliefs. Most things involving two or more people are difficult, if not impossible, without an agreed-upon agenda.
This is what I do.
I help people achieve the dream
that is greater than their current reality.
Admittedly, I have run across folks who have been unable to open their thinking enough to be coached. Coaching is about change; some folks just aren’t ready to change. You and I are the same: I have to be ready to seek opportunity, to enhance my current results, to tweak my attitudes, to address a significant challenge, or to achieve new results by doing something different.
Readiness is critical. Yet, some of us struggle to move from our “As Is” to our desired “To Be” because we have yet to identify and articulate either one. In these instances, we either allow our circumstances to dictate our reality, or we settle for merely “brainstorming” ways to get new results from an assessment of our circumstances that, perhaps, is too-readily accepted. We miss the world-changing power of a simple shift in perspective, what I call Choice #3.
Most people want to learn to articulate their agenda for change in order to work on it. Some will act on this desire; some will not. Some people recognize the value of a coach in doing so. In order to change our results we must change perspective, and a coach helps. I cannot speak for my clients view of these instances, only for my own experience.
However, after a coaching call that begins with no apparent agenda, its not unusual for my clients to say something like “this was very helpful” or “this was a great call”, and even “this was one of the best coaching conversations I’ve experienced,” or “that was powerful.” In fact, I’ve heard these very statements.
So I conclude with a few questions for you today:
- How do you want to use your time today?
- What do you really want?
- What is your “As Is”, your current reality? How do you know?
- If you could change anything, what would it be? What is keeping you from making that change? (By the way, “nothing” is a less than truthful response. Think about it.)
- What is your “To Be”, your desired future?
- What is the one action you can take in the next 24 hours that will move you toward your desired future?
Remember, change is inevitable. Growth is optional.