Coaching Lessons from My Mother

Coaching Lessons from My Mother

This Mother’s Day I was reflecting on the many gifts my mother gave me. And I realized that I learned much about how to be an effective coach from her. (Even though she never quite understood what it is that I do as a professional coach!)

Mom engaged us in rich conversations about things that truly matter. We talked about topics like who we are, what we stand for, and what we dream about. Coaching Lesson: I learned that life and work are personal – we need to focus on the unique human beings around us, not just problems and tactical concerns. As coaches, we coach the person, not just their situation.

She recognized that life calls for creativity. As a single mom without a safety net, she used her extraordinary ingenuity to create opportunities for us all that far exceeded what would have normally been available to us. Coaching Lesson: Life may deal us a particular hand of cards, but how we play them is up to us. Ultimately, the life available to us is largely a function of our own imagination. As coaches, we have a responsibility to call forth our clients’ creativity and imagination, and to bring our own creativity and imagination to our collaborations.

My mother appreciated uniqueness. She saw our unique strengths and gifts, and encouraged us to use them fully, to challenge ourselves, and not play small. Coaching Lesson: Appreciation and encouragement give wings of self-trust and courage to take action on imagination. As coaches, acknowledgment is one of our most powerful tools.

Mom had a deep curiosity about the world. And she instilled that curiosity in us, as a way of being in the world. She taught us to look beyond the surface and question everything, with a desire to learn and know. This empowered us to find our own answers, rather than accept the status quo. Coaching Lesson: The quality of our lives in many ways hinges on the quality of our questions. As coaches, we ask new questions that invite fresh perspectives, and open doors to new possibilities for the client.

My mother was resilient, and taught us to look for the learning hidden in setbacks. She helped us to realize that there is no failure as long as there is discovery. Coaching Lesson: When we adopt a Learner/Growth Mindset, we are always moving forward to a better tomorrow. As coaches, we have an opportunity to support our clients in adopting empowering mindsets, and in extracting the learning from all of life’s situations.

Thanks, Mom, for your many gifts of coaching skills!

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