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Posts Tagged ‘coach’

Illumination

September 29, 2014 4 comments

IMG_5247During the autumn months in New England, we coaches have a co-conspirator in Mother Nature. Wielding her paintbrush and bending the angle of the light to move the seasons, She forces us to take new perspectives and directs our attention to marvels un-seeable in the full sun of summer or the winter dark.

A visit yesterday to the Trustees of Reservations’ Coolidge Reservation in Manchester, Massachusetts stimulated some reflection for me. With good reason, light is probably our most common metaphor for understanding…enlightenment, illumination, clarity. To see something clearly is to truly understand it. But I think the light during the transition from summer to fall works a more subtle magic. To see something differently is to understand it differently. What looks like a beginning might be an ending, and vice versa.

What practices help you bend the angle of the light to see things differently throughout the year? Particularly when you feel confused or stuck?

Shine: Coaching and Candor

September 28, 2011 Leave a comment

photo by Mike SchubertAre you ready to shine? If so, you might want to urge your organization to hire you a coach!

I was delighted to hear researcher Bill Ryan mention “candor” among the valuable benefits of coaching for leaders and their organizations. During a webinar called Coaching and the New World of Nonprofit Talent, hosted by Ruth McCambridge of the Nonprofit Quarterly, Ryan observed two types of candor that confidential coaching relationships can encourage. First, there is the leader’s ability to be candid with herself or himself—about strengths and weaknesses; about vision and purpose. Second, coaching can build a leader’s capacity for being more candid with others in the organization in the service of illuminating and pursuing shared goals.

Candor and candid are rooted in the Latin word candere, meaning “to shine.” And I love how these words imply the dual power of coaching to shine a clarifying light on the obstacles that get in our way, as well as to unleash the influential light that we might be hiding under a bushel.

The webinar, part of NPQ’s Trendcast series, covered a wealth of research-based observations about the business of coaching that Ryan had compiled as the evaluator for the Coaching and Philanthropy Project, a collaborative, “wide-ranging effort to promote greater understanding of coaching in the nonprofit sector.”  One of the project’s sponsors, the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, has created a resource-rich website where you can find the final report along with a series of short videos in which leaders attest to the value of coaching for moving forward through such issues as stuckness, stress, and lack of clarity.

Thanks, Ruth and Bill, for sharing this good work. Shine on.

In It Together

September 21, 2010 Leave a comment

StarIn his warts-and-all autobiography, Open, Andre Agassi displays remarkable sensitivity in assessing his relationship to the sport that brought him into the public eye. He hates tennis, he asserts repeatedly, because it is the loneliest sport on the planet. At the same time, he recognizes tennis as a metaphor for life, and he fully accepts the gifts and lessons the game has offered him.

His challenges are extraordinary: A terrorizing father, prodigious talent, competitive pressures of the highest order, and invasive celebrity. He makes some poor choices along the way. But he consistently makes one good choice, a choice that ensures his success, and this is to follow his instinct for meaningful connection with others.

Performing better in situations like Davis Cup and the Olympics—when he’s representing something greater than himself—Andre knows that for him, the antidote to tennis’s loneliness is being part of a team. He tends to his closest relationships with generosity and gratitude. In his singles career, he achieves his best results when he’s most aligned with a team of friends, family, coaches, and trainers.

Nobody embodies the spirit of coach/friend better than Gil Reyes, the strength trainer who has been with Agassi since early in his career. And as Andre recalls how Gil first expressed his commitment, I can’t help but think about the kind of teammates I want to have and the kind of teammate I want to be.

Gil said, “Andre, I won’t ever try to change you, because I’ve never tried to change anybody. If I could change somebody, I’d change myself. But I know I can give you structure and a blueprint to achieve what you want. There’s a difference between a plow horse and a racehorse. You don’t treat them the same. You hear all this talk about treating people equally, and I’m not sure equal means the same. As far as I’m concerned, you’re a racehorse, and I’ll always treat you accordingly. I’ll be firm, but fair. I’ll lead, never push. I’m not one of those people who expresses or articulates feelings very well, but from now on, just know this: It’s on, man. It is on. You know what I’m saying? We’re in a fight, and you can count on me until the last man is standing. Somewhere up there is a star with your name on it. I might not be able to help you find it, but I’ve got pretty strong shoulders, and you can stand on my shoulders while you’re looking for that star. You hear? For as long as you want. Stand on my shoulders and reach, man. Reach.”

Whose team are you on? Who are the teammates who help you shine?