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#1 A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step

#1 A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step

New to the Leading By Example email? Here's a brief introduction.


On my mind

One of the core ideas of coaching can be summed up in this equation: Performance = Potential – Interference. Coaching starts from the assumption that every client's potential, creativity, and wisdom are infinite, but that our human existence also provides us with a nearly infinite number of interferences. Overactive minds, lack of motivation, self-doubt, negative self-talk, blindspots, habitual thinking, and societal constructs, to name but a few.

Training to be a coach includes being coached as much as coaching others, so I've had lots of time to examine my interferences over the last few weeks. A huge one for me is impatience. I wrote this first email eight times because I felt like I had to convey everything I've been thinking for the last five years in one go. Big surprise—it never got done. So I'm instead committing to writing relatively short emails with more frequency and to trusting my patience (and yours) to hold out while we hopefully arrive at a similar understanding.  

In my notebook

I've learned many new frameworks in the last two weeks of coach training, but this one in particular sticks with me. In my experience, a lot of people (myself included) get stuck in conscious incompetence. This is exactly what Ira Glass is talking about in his meme-spawning monologue about the "creativity gap." You're starting to understand what being really good could look like, and that gives you painful clarity on just how far from that you currently are. Standing squarely in that yellow quadrant with coaching, I find it comforting to know I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be—that being here doesn't mean I'm doing something wrong, it means I'm doing the right thing to help me eventually take the next step. (Patience, FTW, again.)

A Tarot thought

In her seminal guidebook to the Thoth Tarot, Angeles Arrien describes the 4 of Swords (Truce) as "the negotiating mind," which is flexible and "committed to staying in balance." In order to achieve Truce, she points to "the four-fold way": 1) show up, 2) pay attention, 3) tell the truth, 4) don't be attached to outcomes. Four core tenets of non-directional coaching (which I'm studying) are presence, active listening, direct communication, and non-judgement. I've been inspired to see how applying these tools allows clients to be both more flexible and more committed.

A question: What project would you start if you knew it would be a wild success?


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