It was a cool morning of November in Ahmadabad. The weather was changing from hot ,humid to dry and cool -rather a pleasant one. Rays of sun were entering through the curtain gaps in the drawing room of our apartment. I got up and started for my morning walk.
The road was relatively calm. Very less traffic. It looks nice when you see the path from a high-rise building as it is covered with trees on both sides. So, the atmosphere on the road was slight chilly with sun rays filtering in – creating a Tyndall effect. I was walking in the freshness of the morning in my slightly jutted Nike walking shoes. Suddenly, I heard a shrill cry of a bird. It mesmerized me and touched me somewhere deep. I was not able to identify the bird , where it was and its voice. But hearing the bird sing touched me deep inside. I felt beautiful , rather joyous. The joy was not of excitement of something new but of serene quality, which I am unable to describe in words. Suddenly, a car honked behind me and I was startled back to reality. What was that serene joy? How come it touched me? Probably, it was because I could not identify the bird or it’s cry and was not able to categorize it. The “not knowing” created those few seconds of serene joy. I was just able to listen– listen to the voice, which I had not heard nor was able to know the source of. I was able to experience joy because of “not knowing”, if only for a moment. I thought to myself- wow, ignorance is bliss. Is it not? I have been wondering ever since, on how to inculcate this quality of “ not knowing” and being fully present in the moment.
I know the importance of meditation and practice it religiously. A relaxed pose for sitting and paying attention to breathing the air in and out . I have been asked repeatedly,” Does it help?”. My answer is always the same,” You will know if you try”. You just have to create conditions to make it happen. Another great advice is, to be mindful or aware. Aware of what is happening around your surroundings, in your body and in your mind. Noticing the happenings around you, your body movements, your mental reactions, emotions and every-thing. I strongly feel, the ability of being aware, makes a person observant and in-turn a patient listener. And that listening, is a great facilitator in coaching conversation.
In my early coaching conversation, the client was not sure what she wanted to pursue in her career/life. She was speaking out and I was listening not knowing what to ask. My silence and pauses made her think and she was able to direct her thought process towards the goal she wanted to achieve. When I reflected back, I realized I hardly did anything. Rather, I was at loss of what questions to ask . However , her feedback emphasized that she was able to speak out her mind, because I listened to her patiently. So what was my role, in her thought process? Probably, remain in that land of “not knowing” and not anticipating how the coaching session will unfold. Can we cultivate this type of observation, listening?
Chad Hall’s second prescription to being non-judgmental is “ Going to a movie”. What a strong metaphor! He advises to treat the coaching conversation as if you are watching a movie where your client is the hero who achieves victory in the end. Reminding yourself, that you are going to hear, the movie of a hero, who incidentally happens to be your client, seems like a practicable advice. You are not the director of the movie, you are not writing the story, nor are you acting in it. You are a spectator. Definitely, an observant one! Probably you are just helping the client to act in it fully. This example is really the most well-suited metaphor for being a Coach. The only warning is not getting too emotionally involved in the movie! I think this should take care of the listening advice: To not being judgmental! And I am enjoying the journey of achieving just that!