(Excerpt from a presentation delivered at the ICF coaching breakfast meeting on October 13th 2017 by Michel Daigle.)
All coaches I have met are truly dedicated to improving the lives of their clients. They work diligently at improving their own skills through specific training. They increase their knowledge through insightful research and readings. They refine their art of coaching during and after each of their coaching sessions but : who coaches the coach?
I don’t have to look too far, I just need to look at ME. Yes, we have all kinds of support mechanisms available to us, but I need to take charge of me.
The following story made me realize that I have everything to coach me.
A few summers ago while out on a scenic bicycle ride in the country side I was involved in a head on collision with a car. I went head first into the windshield and was thrown off the car, landing in a farmer’s field with my life, a demolished bike and a few minor injuries. We were two cyclist riding on a less travelled road and I was riding behind my friend enjoying the scenery and not paying attention to much else. My friend let out a cry that made me take notice that a car was travelling across the median and coming towards us at high speed. The car brushed my friend and, was now heading directly at me. I made a split second decision to not end up underneath the car and tried, to my best of my abilities to jump. I ended up on the hood of the car with my bike, slid into the windshield and was projected sideways off the hood of the car. The rest is history - I survived and the car just kept on going. A few hours later, the drunk driver was apprehended.
As my injuries healed I wondered if and when I was going to get back on the bike. That’s when I came in contact with the coach in me. I relied on my coaching experience and 5 principles to get me to move forward. I have cycled 50000 kilometers since then.
Trust yourself, trust that the decisions you make are the right ones. Trust that you are a capable person and that you have, as in my case, done this before and done it successfully. What makes you a trustworthy person?
LISTEN = MINDFULLNESS
Listen to yourself and generate constructive and positive talk. One way is by accepting what you have, work with what you have, blend it, move it around and create something with it. With my cycling accident, if I had not listened with my ears and eyes, I might not be alive today. Ask yourself: are you a good listener and what tells you that you are a good listener? Imagine listening so well that you do not miss anything critical in any conversation and that you can decide, in a fraction of second, what to do or not to do with this information. Are you a good listener? What tells you that you are good?
TARGETS = SPARK
A target is something I can clearly see in my mind’s eyes. Set targets that are important, meaningful and not too big enough to stretch you and get you excited. Over the years, working with people in different organisations, they often shared with me how difficult it was for them to reach their goals. Charged with goodwill and some experience, I thought of writing a book on setting yourself to succeed entitled Make It Happen – switching gears, slow down, stop and move forward. My target was to write a book that would be easy to read and get the reader to act quickly. I gave myself one year to capture comments from the people I met and one year to write and print the book. Mission completed. Go back to your targets often. What target do you want to aim for? What drives you?
Am I truly aware of myself? Am I focused, mindful of my mindset, aware of my feelings, cognizant of my thoughts? Am I present with and for me, is my perception heightened? Am I calm, cool and collected? Is it difficult to be distracted and taken off course? What can I do to be more connected to myself?
Hold yourself responsible for the possibilities you can create. Sometimes you have control, sometimes you don’t and you can always choose to create what you want with what is happening. What do you want for yourself? Benjamin Zander with the Art of possibility videos is a good reference.
Thank you for taking some of your precious time to read this and I wish you success in coaching YOU. You are worth it.