Coaching tends to have a reputation for pushing; pushing an athlete to exceed their personal best, for example, or pushing someone to focus on and fulfil an aspiration. This reputation is well-deserved. When relationships are skilfully task-focussed, a great deal can be achieved for one or more participants.

This reputation can put us off, though, and we may be right. It is not so much that we don’t want or need to develop, but that we sense that our development will be better served on this occasion by our staying roughly where we are for a while. Development is not always a relentless pull in one direction.

At times we need to look around; tease apart the obvious and tough issues and peer through at what hides in the spaces between.

I sometimes think of “loosening the knot”. No change is possible until the tension is off. Loosen the knot so you can better understand it; see where the strands wind around each other, where they come from and where they go, and what may be glimpsed between them. You can put more effort in once you are confident that it won’t just retighten the knot as it was before. Or you could back-track more, revise relationships, add, subtract, retie, or undo the knot entirely and start afresh.

If you understand your circumstances, your resources, and your values, you are in a better position to make decisions and put your energies where, unequivocally, you need them to be.

So, be clear. Coaching can help you clarify and revise your goals. You don’t always need clear goals at the outset, to benefit from coaching.

This is posted for DevelopmentalConversations

A first version of this piece was posted on Linkedin in 26/7/21

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