Being Open to Coaching Moments:
By Heather Hinrichs
An Essential Leadership Quality
There are thousands of coaching moments each day if we are open to and aware of them. Each one can help us learn about whom we are being and help to reveal from what context we are operating. Given that a leader’s most important job is to reveal and shift context, starting with our own, it is essential to be open to those moments – they can often come from the most unexpected encounter!
I recently had one such context-revealing moment as I was going through a bridge tollbooth. After sitting in horrific traffic and rain I was not in the best of moods as I approached the tollbooth. The attendant had a beaming smile and an emphatic greeting, “I love you too much! I love your friend too much! You just have a wonderful evening!” Despite what I imagine might be an uninteresting job, his humor and positive enthusiasm were infectious. He made my friend and me laugh and sent us on our way a little happier than when we had arrived. His animated greeting served to pull me out of my internal discontent about the traffic and gave me the opportunity to realize that I was being grumpy about the traffic and weather, things I had no control over.
Then I saw that I had a choice about whether to be grumpy about it and wish I was already home, or accept it and enjoy the conversation with my friend while appreciating that the slow traffic gave me more time to visit. The circumstances hadn’t changed (I was still sitting in traffic) but I saw I could choose how to react to it, I could choose my context and who I was being.
A coach and/or coaching moments provided by the Universe, have much the same affect that the tollbooth driver did for me – not telling us what to change, yet offering the opportunity to reveal the context. The tollbooth attendant did not tell me to be happier or tell me to appreciate the time I had, but by being joyful and playful, he helped me recognize the opportunity to shift something that I might not have otherwise.
Living with greater awareness and curiosity is the biggest opening I have found for revealing context. We can increase our leadership capability by being more aware of the moments that reveal our context and provide us an opportunity to keep it or trade up. Who are you being at this moment? How’s it working? Is it a ‘keeper’ or shall you trade up?