Your To Do list is long. So is your client’s. What gets your attention? Usually, we think the raging fire needs the most water.
Look at your To Do list from another perspective: What story is it telling about you? Mine says “I have a lot of little tasks to accomplish.” Some days the story screams “You’re not making meaningful progress!” Rarely does my list say “This is what your life means.”
Meaningful progress only comes when the bigger story of my life is front and center. I lead a movement of coaches. Every conversation should have elements of helping someone discover how what they can develop someone else. That’s what coaches do. The story my life tells centers on meeting those people and finding where they make that impact. But my To Do list revolves around running my business, paying my bills, and all kinds of other things.
Getting down in the weeds matters, but so does stepping back and seeing the big story. Growing relational generosity is the first thing I lose when I play too small. Your story is real. And active. And ever-changing. But it’s also going somewhere. And you get to pick where! Write it down. And read it to yourself on a regular basis.
My story is one of investing. My values build out faith, character, relationship, generosity and long term impact. When I’m focused on those, it’s a great story. When my attention (and intention) waver, the story takes a different turn. What about you? What’s your big story? Write it down!
Your clients are in the same situation. What if you helped them tell a big story with their lives?
Coaching demands attentiveness to the bigger story. Your clients don’t come to you to figure out how to be more efficient with the tasks that make up their schedule. More significant narratives motivate most coaching engagements.
Intellectually, it’s tempting to say “coaching conversations frame out what’s possible so clients can rise to the occasion.” How consistent is that approach? But helping clients find a story of how change happens, and watch the momentum build!
Concepts are essential, but stories lead to change.
Think about the leader who draws strength from hearing what someone else did in a similar situation. Or the parent who knows what to do with their kids because of a story from one of their peers. Or the confidence that can come from remembering something you did in the past. One account can be all it takes.
What’s your story? Understanding your own story helps you focus on your client’s pursuit of theirs. What have you learned about yourself? What surprises you? What do you want to share with the people around you?
When you look at your client list, what big story does your coaching tell? What could you do to connect with that story in your next session? Or future coaching relationships?
Better yet, what story (or stories) do your client’s lives tell? How could you help your clients line up with that bigger story? What kinds of questions could you ask to discover that epic tale?
Connecting with the bigger story of your life (and your coaching) opens possibilities for your clients. Dividends come from the discoveries and capacities you unlock. The results matter during the current conversation AND change the client’s future.
What’s your story? What could it be?
Imagine that story. Coaching changes everything.