A fatal mistake for a coach is to hear the client’s topic and assume you know how to proceed. The topic needs to be held lightly. It is your first glimpse of a mystery, and you don’t even know what aspect of the mystery you’ve observed.
Many analogies come to mind.
Ninety percent of an iceberg is below the surface. Another name for iceberg is ice mountain. You cannot assume anything about navigating near an iceberg until you’ve mapped what is below the surface. It may be flat and wide, or it may be long and deep. It may have a limb jutting out into the water that will puncture whatever proceeds its way. To navigate the iceberg, you must be prepared to dive into cold deep waters and carefully explore what has never been seen in the light of day.
I think it was Mark Twain who said the difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—it’s the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning. Sometimes what seems like a small matter is a really big deal. Such is the case with distinctions in coaching.
Distinctions help a client notice the important difference between two easily conflated terms, issues, realities, etc. Distinctions is all about creating new awareness, so the client can gain clarity on the matter and move forward with greater confidence and effectiveness.
I recently heard a great distinction: accountability vs. responsibility.
Okay, so the year has not yet concluded, but I’m already thinking of the books I’ve enjoyed and/or benefited from this year. Since I love reading other peoples’ lists of favorite books, I thought I’d compile my own. Some of these are not new, many have little to do with coaching, and others may be of little interest to anyone else but, hey, it’s my list, so here goes.
Recently I had a family member get scammed. I won’t share exactly who (out of respect); suffice it so say that it was a close family member, but not a member of my household. After clicking what appeared to be an interesting Facebook link, she immediately got a warning on her screen notifying her that her laptop was infected and instructing her to call Apple immediately at the number on her screen. She made the call and pretty soon the person on the other end had convinced her to press a few buttons, giving him full control of her laptop – including her personal and financial information. Ouch.
Eventually she realized this was a scam and she panicked. It took days to undo the damage and we’re still on the lookout for identity theft and any other strange activity.
In the aftermath, she confessed that she should have known better. But the fact that this was a scam only seemed obvious after the fact. In the moment, it seemed legit because she’d never encountered a scammer.