As a professional coach, I often view coaching as a fairly formal activity— I set time aside in my calendar to have coaching sessions, to have buddy coaching practice, and to navigate and research coaching-related information. However, one day when my 18-year-old daughter asked me a question, I discovered that I’d been missing the coaching opportunities presented to me in everyday life.
My daughter was struggling with a difficult decision: after a rigorous interview process, she was offered an impressive opportunity, but was anxious about whether or not she should take it. She wasn’t sure if it would ultimately benefit her future career. Distracted by a project, my answer to her was, “Follow your interest and passion,” then I returned to my work. My daughter fell into a deep thought and looked even more lost. I was suddenly aware that I hadn’t helped her at all.
“What is a mother?” I asked myself. As a professional coach, why did I miss that this situation could benefit from coaching insight? Within our daily conversations, my daughter and I discuss everything from academics to personal interests. By taking advantage of the interactions I have with my two young adults at home, I can make coaching part of my everyday routine. Most importantly, I can improve the quality of my interactions and strengthen our relationships.
I put off all my work immediately, quieting the thoughts in my head and turning away from the notebook, and gave my full attention to my daughter. My girl needed guidance and support not just from her mother, but from an attentive coach. After giving her my undivided respect, conscientiousness, and interest, she was able to clear out her puzzles and move forward.
In this incident, I figured out how to shift my everyday interactions into coaching moments. Not necessary all interactions are coaching opportunities, but many of them can extend beyond our routine and enhance our lives in many ways. Be sure to look for these opportunities everywhere: in careers, academics, or even within relationships with family and friends.