“Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”
― Mary Oliver
Do you know that game, Two Truths and a Lie?
It’s a warm-up get-to-know-you exercise for groups where you share two things that are true about you, and one that isn’t. The others have to guess which is the lie, and then usually learn some things about you that they probably didn’t know.
For example, here are two truths and a lie about me:
1) I’ve ridden an elephant.
2) I’ve lived in Alaska.
3) I am an excellent parallel parker.
If we played that game for what happens in coaching, which one is the lie?
1) Coaching helps people learn and grow
2) Coaching helps people take action
3) Coaching is about getting advice from your coach
It’s a little tricky, huh?
For me, the “lie” is that coaching is primarily about advice.
Whatzat? Why would you hire a coach if they weren’t going to tell you what to do?
While coaches have expertise, experience and valuable insight for sure, the model of coaching I use is really a facilitated learning cycle: notice, take some action, learn. Repeat the process again.
What we know is that adults (and others) learn best when they find the answers for themselves. While a coach is a great resource (and can share resources with their clients), the “answers” seem to stick better when they come from the client themselves.
In this model of coaching, it’s less about what I know or can share, and more about what I can help the client understand and learn themselves.
The other two “truths” are part of that learning process of insight and action. Increasing our understanding or awareness of whatever our situation is creates the opportunity for learning and growth. It helps us “see” better. After all, we can’t get where we are going if we don’t know where we are to begin with! All journeys have a starting point – “You are Here.”
Once we know where we are, and we have some insight or understanding about the situation, taking some structured action helps us experiment and try a new way.
I like to use the metaphor of experimentation (it must be the old scientist in me – another truth!). When we experiment, we try something new. We test something out. Taking an attitude of experimentation in life means that it is less about succeeding or failing in the attempt than in trying.
Once we have tried something out – a new behavior, a new way of thinking, a new experience – reflection helps us learn from the experience. We create new awareness and insight from the reflection, and we can begin the cycle again with new actions creating more learning.
When we approach what is going on in our lives or work with a spirit of curiosity and wonder, then anything that happens can provide insight and learning and help us along our way, wherever we are going.
And the advice of others becomes less important than knowing how to find, hear and act on our own internal wisdom.
In the Comments below, I’d love to hear from you!
Which of my personal examples isn’t true?
What’s one truth you know about yourself and your journey?
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