I had a conversation with a colleague the other day about coaching. She'd asked what I got out of coaching; what was fulfilling about it. Perhaps I hadn’t seriously pondered this question before. More likely it was that I hadn’t ever been asked to speak the answer. It took longer than I was comfortable with to be able to respond to this question. How could I have devoted my career to this vocation and not be able to quickly explain why? Eventually a stream of thoughts came to mind in a burst.
It's about experiencing unique people.
It's about experiencing a myriad of situations.
It's about learning what is important to people.
It's about watching ordinary people do great things.
It's about watching great people do great things in their own way.
It's about listening to someone respond in a way you hadn't thought of before.
It's about listening to how people respond to you and learning where that comes from.
It really felt like a dam had burst. I had lost touch with these reasons and suddenly they had come bubbling to the surface again for me to hear and feel. It felt urgent to say these things. Urgent, because perhaps if i didn’t say them quickly enough they might be lost again. Hearing myself say these things reminded me viscerally of why coaching matters to me. Getting lost in the quest for results and the ‘end from the means’ had dulled my senses to why I chose this path. There are many reasons to choose a career and ideally those reasons converge on what fulfills you. Over the past several years, perhaps I have let them diverge.
Coaching is the art of guiding people to discover for themselves what’s getting in their way and how to overcome that interference. That is an unending journey for both parties, and if you're not learning from the people you work with, you're probably not coaching.