“Life is difficult.”
That opening line from The Road Less Traveled is one no can take lightly. From a coach’s perspective, we continually need to keep this top of mind as we coach people at work, or in their personal lives, and always maintain a strong awareness of this reality and a heavy dose of gentleness because of it.
QwikCoach shares this perspective now because it strikes us that with the mounting pressures of home and work, we often forget that the experiences people are having ARE very difficult, and continue to be more so in our increasingly complex world.
In exploring the ways in which life is harder than ever, QwikCoach urges everyone to always be open to learning and trying new and better ways to coach ourselves and others, rather than just thinking about what to do next – our most common default action. Not that we should avoid patterns of behavior that have worked successfully in the past, but perhaps trying a “something else first” strategy from time to time may help us and those with whom we work and lead gain new, different, and even more helpful insights.
A post on LinkedIn called This is what Tibetan monks and Navy SEALS have in common – and how we can use it to our advantage by Steven Kotler (published February 25, 2017) is related to this point. It too discusses how life can be difficult, and how most of us are not using relevant and practical information at hand to help us (and our clients) mitigate some of the pressures we feel trying to “solve” every life and work problem we face.
The author makes the point that many of us are over-thinking: using our minds like a hammer in search of a nail.
Here’s a quote:
Rather than treating our psychology like the unquestioned operating system (or OS, in computer terminology) of our entire lives, we can re-purpose it tro function more like a user interface (or UI) – that easy to use dashboard that sits atop all the other more complex programs.
If we are feeling slightly depressed (very common) about a situation, rather than jumping in to solve it, we can decide to run on a treadmill, or take a walk in the sunshine or meditate. All are ways proven to improve our mood.
At work, we can use choices like this as well. Rather than waiting for a performance review nervously, we could stand up and breathe deeply and try — as Amy Cuddy in her book Presence would suggest — physical behaviors that make us feel more in control and more confident.
If we as workplace coaches help people consider applying parts of this approach we would be doing a tremendous service. Simply adding to our vocabulary of advice and support approaches and ideas about altering mood through physical actions – and specifically suggesting things like a walk or meditation — we can begin to open minds. QwikCoach actually tested “itself” halfway through this blog post. Frustrated at our seeming inability to complete this post, we got up and took a short break. It worked!
People need their minds clear, calm, and purposely active, to handle all the challenges set before them. As caring coaches, we can help those we coach be better thinkers and problem solvers by suggesting some alternatives when things are most difficult and challenging and thinking is best postponed until it can be productive again.
For those who want even more:
Another one of Kotler’s book sounds like a must-read too for us as coaches: Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALS, and Maverick Scientists are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work.