Being Open to Coaching Moments: An Essential
5, Issue 1– January 2004
By Heather Hinrichs, IWL Account Manager and Coaching Coordinator
There are thousands of coaching moments each day if
we are open to and aware of them. Each one can help us learn about
whom we are being and help to reveal from what context we are operating.
Given that a leader’s most important job is to
reveal and shift context, starting with our own, it is essential
to be open to those moments - they can often come from the most unexpected
I recently had one such context-revealing moment as I was going through
a bridge tollbooth. After sitting in horrific traffic and rain I
was not in the best of moods as I approached the tollbooth. The
attendant had a beaming smile and an emphatic greeting, “I love
you too much! I love your friend too much! You just have a wonderful evening!”
Despite what I imagine might be an uninteresting job, his humor and positive
enthusiasm were infectious. He made my friend and me laugh and sent us
on our way a little happier than when we had arrived. His animated greeting
served to pull me out of my internal discontent about the traffic and
gave me the opportunity to realize that I was being grumpy about the traffic
and weather, things I had no control over. Then, I saw that I
had a choice about whether to be grumpy about it and wish I was
already home, or accept it and enjoy the conversation
with my friend while appreciating that the slow traffic gave me more time
to visit. The circumstances hadn’t changed (I was still
sitting in traffic) but I saw I could choose how to react to it, I could
choose my context and who I was being.
A coach and/or coaching moments provided by the Universe, have much the
same affect that the tollbooth driver did for me – not telling us
what to change, yet offering the opportunity to reveal the context. The
tollbooth attendant did not tell me to be happier or tell me to appreciate
the time I had, but by being joyful and playful, he helped me recognize
the opportunity to shift something that I might not have otherwise.
Living with greater awareness and curiosity is the biggest opening
I have found for revealing context. We can increase our leadership
capability by being more aware of the moments that reveal our context
and provide us an opportunity to keep it or trade up. Who are
you being at this moment? How’s it working? Is it a ‘keeper’
or shall you trade up?
Heather Hinrichs (
) is an IWL Account Manager and Coaching Coordinator.
One of Heather’s goals is to help others understand the line of
sight between who one is being, what one does and what that will allow
for elsewhere in the company as well as in the community at large. Heather
holds a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of New Hampshire
and a Masters in International Business from San Francisco State University.
Possessing a life-long interest in cross-cultural communication, she has
also participated in international educational programs in Nepal, Mexico,
Bali and Denmark, and is conversant in Italian.
FYI: IWL offers follow-on coaching to program alumni and clients. ~ IWL