“So, what do you do?”
We’ve all answered the question before. In fact, many of us have answered it so many times that we could probably recite the explanation in our sleep.
For some, the response is simple:
- “I’m a psychologist.”
- “I teach second grade.”
- “I’m in sales for Coca-Cola.”
Sure, each one of these answers might spur an array of follow-up questions. But in a few words, the basic concept is made clear.
But for many of us, our careers require a bit more explanation. As a management coach, I fall into this latter camp. And it’s come to my attention that some readers of this blog could benefit from a better explanation of what leadership coaching à la Bill Munn is all about.
What Do You Think?
Instead of a standard elevator pitch, allow me to answer this question as I would if we were standing face to face.
This conversation might be initiated in many ways: Maybe your boss, coworker, or friend told you about their positive experience in achieving leadership and/or life goals, and you’ve decided to check it out for yourself. Or maybe they directly suggested that a coach would help your development. Or perhaps you want to be more proactive in your life and career, and you’ve decided to seek support on your own.
Regardless of the impetus, most people initiate this first discussion with a common question: “So, how does this work?”
And I respond with a question of my own: “Well, start by sharing your perception of coaching. How do you think this works?”
A lot of responses fall into the I-have-no-idea category. But most people say something like, “I guess you show me how to do things better than I’m doing them?”
It’s about Your Vision
Some newcomers to management coaching are excited. Others are nervous. Still others think I’m going to “psych them out.”
There’s no “ideal” model here, no academic theory of what’s “right.” And there’s no standard, one-size-fits-all formula.
Yes, I have piles of tools you can use, and I like to get people to one of those tools as quickly as possible—usually during our very first conversation. Because I’m a big fan of overcoming inertia.
But which tools you choose is up to you. So I begin most coaching engagements by discussing vision. What’s your picture of the future of your company, team, career, or family? What makes you come alive? What lights you up?
What kind of person do you want to become? What kind of parent? Boss? Performer? Colleague? Spouse? Contributor? What’s your image image of the future you?
Becoming the Sculptor
Too many of us are trying to be something that someone else invented.
A parent pushed you this way. A hero modeled that you should be that way. Peers defined what you should focus on. Books, TV, teachers, pastors, coaches, and others—many with the best intentions—sculpted their models of who you should become.
My approach to coaching is to help you become the sculptor—the artist who creates that picture of the future you.
I don’t have the answers. But I do have an arsenal of tools and questions that will help you uncover the answers lying within you. Maybe they’re long dormant or hidden or repressed. But they’re there. And we’ll find them.
Then we’ll bring them to life.