[While this post works on its own, you might enjoy reading Part 1, which you can find here.]
I also want to invite you to practice both Calmness and Activity in the Shift phase, with us in our upcoming OPEN MAT SPARRING session, happening on Wednesday, January 23, at 2pm EST. You can reserve your spot here.
Calmness in the Midst of Activity in the Shift Phase
There’s this concept I heard when I first started coaching: the “lamp post metaphor.” The idea is that even if a person talked to a lamp post every night they would get some benefit. And while this is a helpful metaphor when we’re caught in the midst of doubting ourselves as coaches, I don’t think that aspiring to the effectiveness of a lamp post is why any of us got into coaching.
In the first part of this challenge I talked about the practice of being active in the midst of calmness, about how to be focused on the practice of being present while you create silence, space, and possibility. In some ways this is the practice of being a powerful lamp post.
But of course this is only part of the equation. To be a masterful coach, a true Samurai Coach, you must not only be a powerful lamp post, you must learn to act, speak, ask, and reflect with depth and power. And while this is true for ALL the parts of a coaching conversation it’s especially true for the part of the conversation after you choose an area to coach around or in, the part we call the SHIFT phase.
Which is why in this post I want to ask you to deepen into your coaching by practicing Calmness in the midst of Activity.
The Practice of Calmness in the midst of Activity
Coaches love to collect questions:
- “What would make this an extraordinary conversation?”
- “What’s the first simplest step you could take?”
- “What’s missing from your life right now?”
- “What are you tolerating right now?”
But if you’ve ever taken a great question from a Master coach and used it in your own sessions, you’ve probably noticed it didn’t really work like magic. Maybe it worked a few times. But just as often the question will fall flat, or confuse your client, or lead to a place you didn’t expect.
The reason this happens is that questions are magic spells. In order for a question to be powerful you have to be powerful as you ask it. And the core of this power comes from the practice of Calmness in the midst of Activity.
In the Dojo we don’t teach particular questions as the right questions. We don’t try to get you to coach like this coach or that. We don’t give you a step by step process to follow. Because that’s not what will make you a master coach. What will make you a master coach is learning to practice being Calm in the midst of Activity.
If you can learn to do this ALL of your questions will be more powerful—the brilliant, stolen-from-a-great-coach-video-you-watched, mind-blowing questions, as well as the almost-eye-rollingly-simple questions.
To practice this, begin by finding calm before the session even begins. Take a few minutes before your call to breathe, to feel into the place underneath and/or behind all of your nerves, your questions, your doubts. Then as you go through your conversation, keep checking in. Can you feel the calm? If not, take a breath, ask the client to pause and find it. Help them find it.
This is especially important as you move from context and focus into curiosity and insight creation (aka, from the Drop to the Shift), so after you find out what the client would like, after you choose a focus. Take a breath. Find your calm and then each time you ask, each time you reflect, see if you can stay in touch with the calmness, the stillness at the center of your coaching.
At first this practice might seem confusing to you. It might even seem impossible. You might get to the end of your coaching conversation and realize you were thinking, scrambling, doubting, and dreading the whole time. IT’S OKAY. This is how 90% of coaches coach. This is how 99.9% of people do almost everything in life. This is the norm.
The practice of finding Calmness in the midst of Activity IS NOT the practice of BEING Calm in the midst of Activity. This practice always goes one of two ways: Way 1: You realize you have lost calmness and you practice finding it. Way 2: You forget or are unaware you have lost calmness and thus don’t practice finding it.
The only place to go from Way 1 is into Way 2. It’s like breathing or the left of right foot in walking. It’s okay. You don’t have to be perfect.
Just practice and notice what happens. Notice what happens when you act from calmness. Notice what happens when you act from another place—franticness, doubt, needing to be right, wanting to prove yourself, or whatever.
The Samurai Coach doesn’t seek perfection in practice. The Samurai Coach realizes that all practice is perfect.
And again, if you’re not sure how to do this I hope you’ll join us at our next OPEN MAT SPARRING) where you’ll get a chance to be in the practice of this and get feedback.
PS: Over the next few posts I’ll be talking more and more about the Dojo and how we help coaches develop deep confidence, learn how to do breathtaking coaching, and discover their unique coaching voice. Coaches that take the Dojo don’t just experience a small spike in insight or skill, they step on a path of mastery that leads to doing work they love, with amazing clients, and getting paid well.
This doesn’t happen because of some hack, trick, or system we teach. It happens because mastery and practice are at the heart of creating transformation in your coaching conversations and in your business.
If you’re ready to step off the path mediocre and overly marketed coaching and onto the path of lifelong mastery and success rooted in integrity, I invite you to fill out an application today.