|In this “Heart to Heart with Julie” column, Julie Johnson MCC shares sample coaching conversations and situations to help you grow along with her learnings, ideas and practical tips to help us all become better coaches. These are real coaching experiences that illustrate common issues coaches face.
We encourage you to share your thoughts, learnings and own experiences in the comments below!
These articles were first posted on Julie’s blog, The Coaching Cube, and have been updated for inclusion here.
In this article Julie shares a beautiful personal story to illustrate a common question and challenge for coaches—who are also parents.
So, is there a place for coaching at home? Well, my answer to this question may not be what you expect. Below I share one of my most memorable encounters with my daughter to help you decide for yourself!
Here’s what happened:
One Monday afternoon a handful of years ago, I was in the kitchen when I suddenly heard a burst of protest from upstairs.
- “I CAN’T go to gymnastics practice tonight.” (By this time I was headed upstairs)
- “Why not?”
- “I’ve got too much homework this week!”
At the edge of giving in (hey, what more honorable excuse than homework?), and yet wanting my daughter to honor her commitment to the sport, I decided to do a bit of coaching.
I asked questions like:
- “Tell me more.”
- “What homework do you have this week? What else? And what else?”
- “How long do you think each assignment will take to complete?”
- “What day is each assignment due?”
- “What pieces of time do you have to work on your homework each day?”
As the layout of the week and its demands became clear, I could see her wheels turning.
After some silence, during which, 1) she was processing the information that she had put on the table, and 2) I was trying unsuccessfully to form an opinion on whether or not she ‘should’ attend gymnastics practice that evening, I said something like: “OK Honey. You know best. You decide.”
She took a swift, almost indignantly deep breath, and replied, “OK! I’ll go to practice tonight.”
Indeed, she went, and she made the rest of her week work quite well too.
Here’s my take:
I learned SOOOO much from this encounter.
After this, when similar challenges would arise, I would try to help my daughter ‘sort out’ or get the situation straight in her mind. And then leave the decision up to her.
And while this is an example of how things can play out at home, it’s applicable anywhere.
As coaches, we can help our coachees make their own sense of the chaos, and then ‘throw’ the responsibility for making decisions back into their lap: we must always let them know we believe they’re “naturally creative, resourceful, and whole” *.
And a little postscript!
While my daughter appreciated these conversations in general (and there were many), I will never forget the time she came to me and said:
- “Mooooommm!!! I’m gonna ask you a question. And this time I DON’T want you to say, “You decide, Honey!’ I just want you to tell me what to DO!”
Now it’s your turn:
Here are 3 questions to consider:
- What have you taken away from this story?
- (How) does it impact where, how and with whom you use your coaching skills?
- What will you do differently (if anything!) going forwards?
* See CTI’s Co-Active Coaching model
Share your takeaways and thoughts with Julie in the comments below!
If you liked this “Heart to Heart” column from Julie Johnson, you may also like:
- Do You Ask for Help? A Powerful Coaching Conversation | Get “Heart to Heart” with Julie Johnson MCC
- The Coaching Advice Trap | Get “Heart to Heart” with Julie Johnson MCC
- And a Child Shall Lead Us: 5 Powerful Playground Metaphors for Coaches! by Ben Dooley, MCC