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Connections and enquiries prompted by a two dimensional story

So much of what I do in my many coaching partnerships is to co-create meaningful connections that support new perspectives and insights for my coachee. These might be connections between different parts of their thinking, between their thoughts and feelings, or between what their mind is telling them and what their body is telling them. They might be connections between different roles in their life, and between past, present and possible future. All of these, and the many other types of connections are rich with opportunity for new learning.

Image by Michal Jarmalok from Pixabay

Sometimes, I lose sight of my own interest in exploring connections. It’s an activity that that brings me joy, challenge, and learning in equal measure. Yet it can be something that I deny myself by not making time to delve into the unknown, either through reading about, or listening to, the thoughts and experiences of others (outside of coaching partnerships that is!).

I realise that for the last little while I have been in one of these periods of indirectly denying myself time, as I throw myself headlong into work and use ‘busyness’ as a justification for putting my own self-care on the back burner (the irony is not lost on me that this unproductive way of self-management is often a topic of a coaching partnerships as my clients seek to recover their equilibrium).

A momentary reminder of what I am missing is all that is required, and this came in the form of my listening to an interview with a Professor Andre Geim on The Life Scientific, an opportunity taken as I was driving into Salisbury. Just giving it my attention for a few minutes created connections that formed between the story I was hearing, my own background in an unrelated scientific area, and my current coaching practice. There was a visceral feeling of excitement in making them. You might call it joy?

While I might write about those connections another time what I wanted to share here is the outcome for me from those connections being made. They are in the form of the three coaching enquiries that I was curious about, and wondered if you might be too.

  • What easy experiment can you do right now that might reward you with results you can act on?

  • What is it that you are currently discarding that might be worth looking at more closely?

  • What property do you have which might not be showing up just now because the conditions are not right for you? How might you create the right conditions?

If you are going to pose questions to others you need to be prepared to have a crack at them yourself. Here goes!

My easy experiment relates to that feeling of not giving myself time to do what is important to me that I mentioned above. One particular thing I was curious about was that, although I had many moments of happiness during that time, I was not noticing joy in those small moments of engagement with people and my environment. My experiment was to see what it felt like to talk about this with a trusted friend. Even making time and justifying it as a wise course of action was a challenge given that I confess to feeling a little foolish in talking about it, and somewhat vulnerable too. Nonetheless, I did manage it and the benefit was immediate arising from new connections that I now have to explore, and a different level of consciousness about my ability to sense joy.

Related to the above is my feeling in relation to the second enquiry. I have been too quick to discard the experience of so many of those ‘small moments’ in pursuit of what is coming next. While I am in the present with my clients, and know that my presence supports them in their exploration, I am too quick to rush headlong into the future when left to my own devices. I know that I will be better served paying attention to my experiences, small and large, and staying with them in the moment. While I never think of myself as discarding these opportunities it is in effect what I have been doing. Time to choose differently.

The final enquiry is one that I don’t have a specific answer for. What I am certain about is that there are some hidden skills and interests that I have yet to discover, and that knowledge is incredibly nourishing. Over the years to come conditions will arise in which I will start using new and untapped resources, in pursuit of interests that right now are far from being fully formed. I am not sure what the conditions are that will allow this new superpower to come to the fore. Yet I am confident, based on lived experience, that they will either evolve over time or they will manifest as a step change that requires instant adaptation. Either is exciting!

While what I have shared here arises from introspection there was another connection that prompted me to reflect on these three coaching questions. Right now, I am doing a lot of work with early career researchers in the UK, such an important and diverse group of talented individuals who are central to the realisation of any vision of the UK being a research powerhouse in the future. Listening to Professor Geim talking about his research career, even making allowances for the benefit of hindsight, it is interesting to reflect on the similarities and differences between gaining a foothold in an academic research career in the past compared with the situation as it is now. Something to write about another time!


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