How paper lead me to coaching

NYU Catalog Cover

NYU Catalog Cover

I really love paper.  I really miss paper.  I have let my Kindle go idle in return for the weight of a book in my hands and the tactile feel of turning a page vs clicking forward.  I need an easy way to see how many more pages till the end of the chapter so I can close my eyes and go to sleep.  17% complete?  But how much more until I can close my eyes?  (I know – I am too goal oriented)

Back in the day of paper catalogs NYU produced beautiful covers for its School of Continuing and Professional Studies catalogs.  For me, its seasonal arrival was almost as exciting as the old Sears catalog at Christmastime.   I spent hours fantasizing about who I might become by taking a particular class – real estate mogul, interior designer, writer.  But, as a Type A all-business working Mom, I didn’t allow myself to be distracted by whimsy. I was intent on figuring out what my next career move might be.  After 20 something years with the same company, I knew that at some point I’d be jumping ship (if only I could find the courage to leap).  As a Girl Scout I knew that preparation was everything.  And as Oprah told me – I couldn’t wait for luck and my future to present itself because luck is not a strategy.  Luck is simply the point where preparation and opportunity meet.   I needed to get ready.

And so this beautiful catalog wooed me.  For many explainable and unexplainable reasons, I chose a coaching class.  At the time, the program was undergoing a significant reinvention with esteemed leaders in the field co-developing the revived program.   I was fortunate (not lucky!) enough to be taught by the king and queens of the international coaching scene – David Rock, Meryl Moritz and Elizabeth Guilday.  (Google them, or just trust me – they are industry leaders).  My timing was great – I was hooked!  It wasn’t just about touchy feely stuff – there was real science and real processes behind the coaching paradigm.

David Rock’s theories and teachings brought neuroscience in to the arena of personal development.  His research on how the brain works and how change is created has become a standard.  When you watch him coach – it is amazing how quickly and seemingly easily a client gains insight.  Check out this video and see how he does it.

David Rock coaching technique

He uses (and taught me) some really simple but powerful techniques to get to the point.  Notice how he helps the client clarify the significance of her current leadership challenge:

On a scale of 1 – 10 how are you doing?

How important is this change to you?

How long have you been thinking about this?

Watch and listen to how he helps the client to her own conclusions:

What part of this should we focus on?

What can you do to improve?

How would it be different?

And in just a few minutes, the client walks away with insight and planned actions.

And so these beautiful catalog covers called me to this profession.  They invited me to see what was inside, to take the catalog seriously, to savor the time spent thinking about each course, to imagine my future.  I miss those paper catalogs.

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