Today we start a new series of LifeTrek Provisions, focused on the extraordinary moments that bring people to and emanate from coaching. Over the next twelve weeks, the LifeTrek Coaching staff will explore the types of moments that we live and breathe for when it comes to coaching. From the peak of passion and purpose to the depth of heartache and despair, coaches stay with people in order to increase both the frequency and the quality of their extraordinary moments. By the time this series finishes up, you’ll be in a better position to coach yourself on the trek of life.
Question: Why do people pay good money to work with coaches?
Answer: To experience extraordinary moments.
You may not have expected that answer, since most people think of coaching in terms of achieving one’s goals, but it captures both the reality and the comprehensive vision of a coaching relationship. Achieving goals is not all there is to life and not all there is to coaching. Achieving goals is one way to experience extraordinary moments, but it is not the only way. Coaches who understand this assist people holistically to experience extraordinary moments of every ilk.
One thing is certain: extraordinary moments are both out-of-the-ordinary and momentary. They are not business as usual, nor do they last forever. They come and go in waves, cresting and then falling back into the sea of everyday experience. Extraordinary moments are what people want out of life, and the more the better. But no one has them all the time and there is no way to produce them on command. They rather have to be coaxed out of life by paying attention to the critical variables that make them possible. When the variables are right, the extraordinary moments become more available and likely.
I had that experience just last weekend while training for the Bull Run 50-Miler Click. I am in taper-down mode, slowly decreasing my mileage until the big event on Saturday, April 8, 2006. I am also training with the same gear and at the same, slow pace that I will use during the race itself. Last Saturday, the weather was great for my 16-mile run, which definitely helps when it comes to extraordinary running moments. I also decided to take along my MP3 player, which is not my usual custom. For this run, however, I decided to mix it up with music.
The first half of my training run was trail running, on trails that have a way of tripping up even the most seasoned of runners. One of my running buddies is sporting a swollen finger thanks to a root, hidden under the leaves, on one of those trails. This time, however, I got in a zone where nothing could trip me up. I felt as though I had extraordinary vision, with the ability to land securely on every stride. I also felt stronger and stronger as the run went on. There were no niggling aches and pains. The whole experience made me feel like a child at play, jumping confidently over obstacles and leaping to touch leaves or just to catch hold of thin air.
For a few exquisite miles, I had one extraordinary moment after another. And that’s why people pay good money for coaching: to figure out how they too can have such moments, and have them more often. It’s about connecting with our best selves, our true identities, and our highest aspirations. It’s not only about doing, it’s also about being, having, and experiencing the full measure of life. Such moments come to people at different times, in different shapes and sizes. My extraordinary moments will not be the same as yours, and vice-versa. But that does not mean we cannot work together to increase both the frequency and the quality of those moments.
That is the heart of coaching. In our conversations with clients, coaches are constantly on the lookout for openings to extraordinary moments. Sometimes those openings are visible and obvious, such as when a client specifically asks to play a bigger game. Most of the time, however, those openings are hidden and mysterious. They may be disguised as laughter or tears, as victory or defeat, as clarity or confusion. However they come, whether wide open or barely a crack, masterful coaches know how to walk through the opening with our clients in order to make those moments all they can possibly be.
Want to know how that happens and what that feels like? The best way, of course, is to hire your own coach and to experience it yourself. LifeTrek Coaching can assist you with the process of finding the perfect coach, who can masterfully increase the frequency and quality of your own extraordinary moments. Click Here to get started. If you’re not ready or able to work with your own personal coach, you can also get a taste of this by reading LifeTrek Provisions over the next several months. Our coaching staff intends to put together a series of Provisions that will capture twelve facets of how extraordinary moments emerge in our work with clients. Here’s a quick preview of the good stuff to come:
1. Celebration Moments. These moments need no coaching to make them extraordinary. They only need to be shared. When coaches and clients celebrate together, the energy is palpable, even over the telephone. The key here is for the coach to not get in the way, by taking credit, minimizing, or otherwise distracting attention from the celebration.
2. Mucked Up Moments. These moments need masterful coaching to make them extraordinary, or at least to make them extraordinarily good. We all know what it feels like to be stuck in the muck. Every step is a chore, and anxiety grows as the muck gets thicker and deeper. Still, there is treasure in the muck which masterful coaches know how to find.
3. Laughter Moments. Laughter comes in many forms. It can be a full blow shout, as part of the celebration, but it can also be a small chuckle that nevertheless reveals much. In all cases, laughter serves as the reminder to not take ourselves too seriously. Since meaning is constructed in the moment, coaching assists clients to do so with humor and grace.
4. Breakthrough Moments. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” That’s what a breakthrough moment feels like. After much struggle and torment, much work and effort, things finally fall into place. It takes perseverance, practice, and patience to experience breakthroughs, and coaches know how to hold that space with our clients.
5. Tear-Jerk Moments. Coaching is not therapy, but that does not mean it lacks emotion. In fact, emotion lies behind every extraordinary moment. Tears make that all the more obvious. Some coaching sessions bring both coach and client to tears; others simply make it OK for the client to cry in order experience the fullness of the moment.
6. Blink Moments. In his book by the same name, Malcolm Gladwell used the word “blink” to describe rapid cognition or instinctive intelligence. In the blink of an eye, sometimes coaches or clients just know the right thing to say, do, think, feel, or decide. When that happens well, the moment generates effortless and spectacular success.
7. Remember-When Moments. Brain research indicates that all our experiences, and even some of our collective experiences, are available to memory even though most of us can conjure up but a fraction of a percentage. Coaching conversations, however, will often trigger the recovery of long-lost memories, especially those that empower and liberate human potential.
8. Spring-Cleaning Moments. Clutter works against extraordinary moments. It becomes a toleration that drains us of energy and distracts us from purpose. Everyone lives with some degree of clutter, but it’s usually less after working with a coach. Coaching conversations have a way of clearing the decks, both literally and figuratively, in the pursuit of excellence.
9. Flow Moments. Flow represents the perfect matching of challenge, skill, and awareness. It is what I experienced on my trail run last Saturday. And it is the essence of every extraordinary moment. Masterful coaches know how to work with these three ingredients in order to move clients forward and get into the zone.
10. Gold-Medal Moments. When athletes win the gold medal, they stand out as best-in-class. This is not about a breakthrough or a celebration along the way; this about the thrill of victory in all its fullness. And it’s not limited to athletes. For those clients with goals, gold-medal moments are mastering them perfectly. Talk about extraordinary!
11. Fan-Club Moments. There are many people in our lives, including strangers, acquaintances, and friends. Life gets easier, and truly extraordinary, when those people become members of our fan club. That’s when the relationships really work in our favor, without our even having to ask. Coaches assist clients to expand their fan clubs exponentially.
12. Destiny Moments. Destiny moments lie beyond and undergird all the other moments. These are the extraordinary moments of purpose, passion, and possibility. Instead of viewing ourselves as accidents amidst other accidents, we accept the invitation to carry ourselves as a gift to others. We end up living wholeheartedly in the mystery of love.
Interestingly, these extraordinary moments can happen, or at least can start to happen, during the coaching conversations themselves. That’s because anticipation has a way of bringing the future into the present moment. Through the forward look of a coaching conversation, clients get a taste of their heart’s desire. That’s when the conversation really gets engaging. It’s even possible to lose track of time, because it no longer has anything to do with the coaching contract. It has to do with being in the coaching moment and developing together on the trek of life.
If that sounds valuable, then I invite you to stay with this series through to the end. We will take each moment in turn, exploring its dimensions, context, and outcomes. By the time we get through, you will be better able to coach those extraordinary moments for yourself.
Coaching Inquiries: When was the last time that you had an extraordinary moment? What was its dimensions, context, and outcomes? Who was involved? How could you have more of those moments? How could you improve their quality? Who could you talk with to get the ball rolling?
To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form on the Web for a complimentary coaching session.
Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob..
I read your Provision from last week Click. 50 miles!!! Holy Mackerel! But I greatly appreciated the thought of “running my own race.” As a naturally competitive person who strives for perfection, it’s easy for me to let all the stuff get in the way of running my own race. As I begin to put the pieces together on what’s going on in my life right now, I’m going to strive to keep the thought of running MY race, or should I say God’s race through me, to the fore.
Congratulations on your races. I personally think the North should be your choice, but I’m prejudiced. It is nice to know that other people in their 50s, myself included, are getting out there and doing very athletic things. I think the busier I am the healthier I am – no time to get sick or time to think about it.
We’re so glad you continue to run the race of “getting this newsletter out” ! It’s a joy and a fix…for something positive, about which to think in the coming week (s).
Bob, what a great article. I generally have a lack of enthusiasm in regard to running marathons. I usually can’t make any sense out of why a person would want to do this with their life. But your article was great. The sense of “running your own race” really made sense to me. It’s something I have been struggling with for the past 5 years or so, as a single woman who does not follow the prescribed path of financial security, waiting for retirement, being one-half of a pair, thinking of myself as the “weaker sex”, etc. Your way of handling this project was charming and encouraging. Thanks a lot for sharing it.
Hats off to you, Bob 😉 Glad to be reminded that we should be mindful of our own journey. Someone I know died very suddenly in a car accident late last year. I’d only known her for the last few months of her life and when she passed, I looked back at those months for clues that she had run her own race. She did. It drove the point home to me that sometimes when the paths of others cross ours, they need not necessarily conform to ours nor ours to theirs. We do what we do to run our own race and should be fair to others and give them the space to run their own race. I enjoyed this Provision. Thanks.
Truly Inspiring Bob! Thank you for sharing your experience last Sunday at the Shamrock. You are an inspiration to me and I look forward to coaching again with you in the future. I look forward to waking up Sunday morning, flipping on my Blackberry, and reading thru the Provision. This one was, to me, the best.
Congratulations on this wonderful race through marathons and life! There was the dance we talked about earlier. Unfortunately, it seems that the audio connection has not been updated since provision 449. In other words: the past 6 weeks there has not been an update, or so it seems. In particular I would have been fond to HEAR (tone of voice) you telling about your latest experience in provision 455. Is it possible to receive an updated link? (Ed. Note: Thanks for the nudge! I will keep them coming.)
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC
President, LifeTrek Coaching International, www.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformation, www.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coaching, www.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time, Online Retailers
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