Setup: I was reading an interview with Native American flute player R. Carlos Nakai. I will be attending a performance and interviewing him in a few weeks and wanted to begin thinking about my questions (I´m very excited). He´s a fascinating guy, and very talented. Anyway, in the interview, he talked about how he does not try to modify the tuning of his flutes, because each flute has its voice. It is more appropriate to play the instrument to its fullest expression. Wine makers often say something similar, that a great wine is one that best expresses the varietal and growing environment. Back to Nakai. Here he is, a virtuoso, saying that his job is to fully express the flute´s characteristics and that he learns from the flute every day. Listening to his music, I totally get that this is what he is doing – there is a fullness and genuine sound that sings through. There’s a flow to it. We can experience this in business.
Coaching and inspiration can come from anywhere if and when we invite it.
You want to move forward, right? That´s what coaching is for – to help speed up forward movement or to create a richer experience (which is another kind of forward movement). So – ask for coaching and put your goals on the path to zoom zoom.
There are 10, perhaps 100, times more books and articles on how to coach than there are about how to get coaching. Great coaching can:
-Help us get unstuck
-Result in a breakthrough
-Give us new ideas
-Improve our decision making
-Reinvigorate our progress and interest in a project
Everyone needs, and can benefit from, great coaching
BTW – I distinguish coaching from advice and performance counseling. Most of us think we are providing coaching when we are giving advice. Here´s a model I created for my book.
We can get great coaching in MANY places – even from a flute, a rock, or someone whose ideas we discount. The key is to look and ask for it!
Here´s a few tips you can use right away:
Have one or two topics about which you would like feedback. You should always be looking for coaching.
Ask others to play devil´s advocate. Ask for opposing points of view. Welcome this, it might give you a great idea and will, at a minimum, let you know the type of resistance you need to overcome/manage.
Ask people how they would approach the problem or opportunity.
Ask people who else you should talk to about the idea/project/goal.
Ask people to be a sounding board and give your pitch. Mental dry runs are really helpful.
Share your goals with your manager, peers, and team. It´s difficult to get great coaching when other people don´t know what´s important to you.
Be selfish and schedule a brainstorming meeting to work on your work challenge/problem. It´s not at all selfish, by the way, but it´s this feeling that often keeps us from asking others to help.
You can also try these questions:
"I want to _______. What questions should I be asking and who should I ask?ï¿½?
"One of my goals is to _____. I"m getting a bit stuck with ______. If you were in my situation how would you approach getting things back on track?ï¿½?
"Will you help me brainstorm a few ideas, even off the wall ones?ï¿½?
"Can I share how I am approaching this project? I´d like to get your thoughts on whether I am missing anything in my approach.ï¿½?
"I need a quick sounding board for an idea I´ve got, do you have a few minutes?ï¿½?
"I would like to hear opposing ideas – the further from mine the better. Are you game?ï¿½?
It does not matter where you find inspiration, only that you do.
“…We were put on the earth to experience life in its totality. And if you’re not doing that, you’re essentially wasting your time.”
R. Carlos Nakai
If you would like to share what you are up to and get our thoughts, leave a comment or send me an email.
Here are a few of the ideas I am bantering about, let me know if you have any ideas or input for me!
I´m thinking about putting together a series of courses that help people create work related breakthroughs. Perhaps over the web, perhaps live in a few key cities. Tell me all potential problems with this idea.
I´d like to do more work with small and medium sized businesses helping them realign their processes and organization for greater success. I am not sure how I will define or market this. What would you do if you were in my situation?
I´d like to expand my contract recruiting practice for management and leadership positions. I love helping companies find great management talent and it´s something I have a knack for. But I am not really a headhunter, but I am in a way. Not sure how to carve the niche on this one. What would you look for if you wanted help finding great managers?
I am helping a small luxury travel company find a manager/leader for a department of 10 people. Let me know if you have a recommendation of someone who is great (excellent management and leadership skills most important).
I am looking for contacts to query with article ideas about the Southwest. I want to build my platform and name as a writer of things Southwestern (in addition to my business stuff). Who should I be talking to?