I am amazed at a person’s ability to shape and change their lives through the simple act of discovering their own unique set of values.
Through combining coaching with teaching, I have been amazed at how a student’s learning is so directly linked to the teacher’s enthusiasm.‘Seek first to understand’ (one of Franklin Covey’s seven habits of highly effective people), has always been a maxim that I have endeavoured to live by, and hence the reason the Life Tweaking cards came to life. In order to be understood we must first seek to understand. I believe that many people spend a lot of time justifying their own positions and behaviours, and thereby falling short of seeing what is important to those around them. This can result in communication breakdown and unrest. It can be very helpful to take the time to be curious about those with whom we work and interact, as well as being curious about ourselves. We may find that we discover the story behind their actions and beliefs … and perhaps it is an entirely different story than we had imagined!
As a business management trainer my experience has been that staff members are often sent to training with the purpose of increasing the profits of the company, rather than discovering what their wisdom and advice for the company may be. My main message to management is that if staff members are not genuinely heard then any issues will probably remain unresolved. My aim in bringing the Life Tweaking cards to the workplace is for people to find their voice; to explore their team on another level, to explore their own map, to get out on the table what is currently happening, and to identify ways of moving forward. It is essentially change through understanding and acceptance.
Key themes in coaching
Values, beliefs and the notion of congruency play a major role in coaching. Once a client has identified their core values as well as their resourceful and limiting beliefs, they have their own unique ‘map’ to create meaningful and lasting change in their lives. True congruency comes from knowing and understanding what your personal drivers are and if you are fulfilling them, and from knowing what limiting beliefs and thoughts you may have that are holding you back.
As a coach, I believe that some unrest comes to a person from not knowing what is truly important to them in life and making decisions based on what they think they ‘should’ do rather than what is congruent with their values.
It is like driving to a new destination without a current and accurate map. So, if our values and beliefs are the drivers in our life then what we believe is what tends to happen. In essence, what we focus on is what we get.
Coaches support people to get out on the table in a safe manner their identity, values, beliefs, stories, motivations, intentions and plans and to explore their patterns of behaviour, including whether these patterns are ‘resourceful’ or ‘unresourceful’ to them. Through identifying their drivers and exploring their map, people will have a greater understanding of where they are currently at and what tweaks they may want to make to move forward in a resourceful way.
The aim of coaching is for a client to move towards the life they want with their hands on the steering wheel.
Many come to realise that in order to create meaningful and lasting change they must make that change; that they have choices and can decide what is best for them. Through coaching people can learn to ask themselves empowering questions and take meaningful actions when challenges arise; they may cease to rely on other people to provide them with happiness, and cease ‘the blame game’. Some clients ultimately become aware of how they create their own universe and everything that happens within it.
Another supporting belief for coaches is, ‘perception is projection’. This belief personally assisted me greatly in taking responsibility for my life. I was no longer able to gossip about others whom I perceived to be the aggressor in my life because I learnt that what I see in them, I myself possess. I may not do what they do in exactly the same manner, but I am able to see it in them because it exists within myself. Essentially, it is the belief that the world is our mirror!
‘There are no mistakes, only feedback’ is another useful understanding that informs my work as a coach. Feedback on what worked and what didn’t. Coaches help people to notice what is happening around them—are they getting the responses they would like from others, or are they facing resistance to their vision or ideas? What feedback is the world offering them—is it positive, is it helpful, and is it supportive? How are they contributing to their outcomes? What small tweaks
could they make in order to open doors and allow people to see what they truly have on offer? What do they do well that they could do even more of to create lasting change? Who do they need to be, in order to do what needs to be done, in order to have what they so desire?
Through dynamic questions, conversation, storytelling and reflection, the Life Tweaking cards provide opportunities for people to identify their key strengths, values, priorities and next steps. As they say, ‘Life is like a box of chocolates’, and I hope that people discover new and wonderful flavours in each other and themselves through the Life Tweaking cards!
Life Coach and co-author of ‘Life Tweaking: Questions for Coaching, Mentoring and Inviting Change’