About a week ago, I completed the second live (virtual) training in the process of becoming a Certified Professional Coach through iPEC. Once again, my mind was blown! It reinforced for me that virtual workshops can, and do, work, and, in a lot of ways, I prefer them to being in person — no traffic or parking to deal with, during your lunch breaks you can eat what you want versus what’s nearby, not to mention wearing more comfortable clothing.
There were too many takeaways from this recent training to name them all in one blog, so I’ve consolidated my top three learnings below:
1. Vulnerability Is a Strength to Be Celebrated
Our group of roughly 40 people focused less on studying new skills — although there was a lot of that! — and more on integrating our previous learnings into live coaching practice. Believing you have to “live it to give it,” the program is structured so that you are undergoing coaching as you are coaching others. So, during the live trainings, you get the experience of coaching someone while you are observed by a group of your peers.
I definitely felt vulnerable, and a little exposed, receiving feedback on my coaching style, as well as being coached, in this live public forum. But, it presented me with an opportunity — what if, instead of turning inward in a moment of fear and vulnerability, I shifted my focus onto others and more deeply connected with them? Whether you are coaching or are engaged in another type of dialogue where you are experiencing vulnerability, shifting your attention, and focusing on others by tapping into feelings of gratitude, awe, and joy can change your emotional state, alter your experience, and enable powerful connections with others.
To get out of my head, and better connect with my heart, I shifted my attention away from myself and more onto others — to the person I was coaching, or if I was being coached, to my coaches. I discovered that where there is vulnerability, there is power in connections and community — even virtually!
2. My Definition of Change Changed
In one form or another, we’ve all likely heard the quote, “The only constant is change.” It’s even captured in our tagline at Thought Ensemble — “Change is inevitable. Transformation is intentional.”
The word changed for me during this recent training event when we explored our personal definitions of, and associations with, the word “change.” Usually, when I hear the word change, I immediately think of change management — the area of specialty that helps individuals, teams, and organizations prepare for, and move through, changes, such as implementing a new tool or altering reporting structures. And in my corporate experience, we seek to manage and control change.
But what if, instead, we viewed change not as a hard turn but as a gradual evolution of what was already within us? The continuation of what we were already in the process of becoming? To me, I have often boiled down change to be about beginnings and endings, the start of something new, and the end of something old. But in viewing change as the flow of life —instead of the disruption to it — I experienced a softening around these hard edges. Change doesn’t come in fits and starts, it is the process of becoming — and we are always, in all ways, in this process.
3. There Are No Mistakes
I have heard this maxim before, and usually, it’s followed by, “because you can always learn from your mistakes.” But what I’m talking about here is different — this is radical.
Think about the last time you, “made a mistake.” What was it? When did you realize it was a mistake? Was it after the “mistake” had happened? The label and judgment of a mistake are applied after a thing happens — no one sets out to make a mistake. You act based on the knowledge that you have at the time. Furthermore, if you had succeeded with whatever your intention was, you wouldn’t be viewing that situation as a mistake.
To give you a real-life example from my world, my husband and I are dog-foster parents. A couple of weekends ago, we brought in a new foster who initially seemed to be a good fit with all of us — our dog included. A little later on when it came time to introduce the foster dog to the communal beds and crates, he bit our dog pretty hard in the face and wouldn’t let go. We were all shaken up by this incident, the foster dog included, and unfortunately, he had to be placed with another family. Was this a mistake? My dog might say so. But I was acting based on my past experience where we had been successful. I was doing my best based on the information that I had. There is no one to blame and no reason to pass judgment on this situation.
For me, this was the most important part of the training. It completely changed how I see myself. So, now I ask you if you fully embraced the belief that there are no mistakes, what would be different for you? How would things change?
With this training module completed, I’m heading into the second half of the course. Since joining the iPEC program back in July, my worldview has radically changed. I am thrilled to see what comes next!