Creative Swiping: The Coaches Code
of "Take and Give"
We each have an inner archivist, a collector and preserver of the moments in our lives that shifted our very center of gravity. Many of these moments resulted from peak experiences or heartfelt conversations shared with loved ones, but others were random gifts from unexpected sources:
~ The song that moved you to tears the first time you heard it
~ The story with an unexpected outcome that caused you to revise your world view
~ A quote that crystallized your truth in a single sentence
~ A poem that spoke with authority to an undiscovered part of your soul
~ Odd questions and offhand comments from the accidental sage in the next cubicle, which simplified a complex matter
Those of us in the teaching and helping professions have ears ever-perked for these meaningful moments, when a simple turn of phrase stops us in our tracks with the potential to enlighten and inspire. If we suspect that a metaphor or an anecdote could unlock new ways of seeing and being, we claim it, shamelessly. It becomes part of our repertoire. We call it "creative swiping." It's nice if you offer immediate thanks for the gift, even better if you credit the source in perpetuity, but anything with the power to positively impact should, we believe, be in the public domain.
Here are twelve gifts I've been given (or swiped) from coaches, authors, and wise others that have lodged themselves in my coach approach. I share them here, paraphrased, with credit to the originator. If they resonate with you, add them to your own library and lend generously to others:
1. "It is normal to feel lost at some point in a coaching conversation, if you are truly listening and present with the person." (Frederic Hudson)
2. "It's not about what it's about." (James Hollis)
3. "Let silence speak." (Joy Leach)
4. "Humans are meaning-seeking beings. When life is difficult, don't ask 'why me?' but instead, ask 'for what purpose has this challenge presented itself in my life?'" (C.G. Jung)
5. "Follow the 'red hot thread' in a coaching conversation; where there is energy, there is leverage, whether the energy is excitement or frustration." (Pam McLean)
6. "You can't want more for your coachee than they want for themselves. You can, but it's a breeding ground for criticism, frustration, shame and mistrust." (Anonymous--or maybe I'm the source)
7. "Appreciate first what is working, what they've done, tried, discovered, noticed. It creates a positive field and generates more hopeful energy to tackle what's not working." (David Cooperrider)
8. "Who can I be for you?" (Margaret Gomez)
9. "It's not only OK to admit that you didn't completely understand a coachee's answer -- it's powerful. You both learn more during the second round." (Karen Childress)
10. "Think of coaching resistance as hosting a conversation between a person and his/her saboteur. Giving voice to what is typically a silent suffocation of ideas and dreams strips away much of the saboteur's power." (John Schuster)
11. "Gently challenge conclusions that are drawn from slim or suspect slivers of data. How can they collect more information, test their theories, verify their assumptions?" (Chris Argyris)
12. "Imagine that attached to your spine and stretching far behind you is a dragon tail, thick and wide and twenty feet long. Every life experience, each lesson learned, risks taken, gifts and skills, wins that built your confidence, and losses that built character--all of who you are is embedded in that tail. When a person or a situation threatens to topple your self-esteem, lean back on that massive tail and rest assured that your life will support you. Thump Thump" (Doug Silsbee)
I encourage you to gift us with the wise words, catalytic questions, or potent paradigms you've creatively swiped that inform your own coaching. We will all be richer, and so will our coachees.
Blessings and big hugs!