What journey are you on…

and where are you on that journey?

Just recently, I began a new coaching relationship with a young woman from a country far from here/NY and a culture that I know very little about. It is exciting! 

While coaching in my practice is always an adventure, founded on co-creating the experience, this will be different. To borrow some of the language from my chaplaincy training, our

  • major life events
  • relationships
  • social location
  • cultural contexts
  • and social realities that impact our personal identities

have few similarities.

I have much to learn—by being particularly astute in my observing, listening, asking questions, pausing, and checking in… ensuring that nothing is assumed and time for reflection and conversation about the journey we are making together is a fit for her needs and wants. 

The more I think about it, the more I am reminded to be aware of false assumptions about similarities and perceived congruence with coaching clients who appear more like me (regarding the variables noted above).

My lens for all the work I do is Appreciative Inquiry. It is a path that provides a framework that is truly generative and in alignment with my vision of coaching relationships (and honestly, all the work that I do).

Similarly, last Thursday, I hosted two thoughtsketching sessions (a bikablo technique) for quite different groups of people mostly unfamiliar with visualizing/visual thinking: first for my colleagues, (known to me from my years at the American Management Association in my consultant roles as a speaker and instructional designer), and then for the AIF-NYC Facilitators Group, which attracted people from around the world, Vietnam the UK Belgium, the US, and Canada.

In all three instances (coaching + trainings), the majority of people joining the sessions were stepping on to a new path or in a new direction… whether tentatively or diving in with abandon.

In each encounter, my approach was Appreciative, engaging, and interactive in nature—

  • What is your foundation/what do you know about…?
  • What do you like about your work (what you are presenting that we are building on or what are you creating at the moment that you like/admire/are proud of)?
  • What do you believe to be your growing edge? (And, how will we keep your inner critic at bay? Focus on strengths.)
  • What more do you want to discover (about the topic, process, project) or… before moving forward?
  • What are you dreaming about?
  • What experiments do you want to design—to work and play with your new ideas?
  • How will you create what will be?

I am passionate about this work! If you’re curious to learn more about coaching with an Appreciative Inquiry approach, please reach out to me.

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