I have always thought that I was doing what I wanted to do. I always had a mission. So for me, it was never a matter of “having” to do it. It was a matter of “wanting” to do it. My “mission” helped me get to where I am today: a coach for almost 20 years and a developer, along with my cofounder Mika Morinishi, of the Whole System Coaching program, an ACTP-accredited coach training program in Japan.
Several months ago, I felt some changes in me. I was feeling less courageous, less daring and had less energy. It was strange because I had enough energy to enjoy hiking and even recently climbed the famous Mount Fuji in Japan. So what was the problem?
I sat down, took a deep breath and took a good look at myself. Then, I realized that I was in conflict within myself. I was in a state where I thought things were being “done” to me, that others’ needs were taking up all of my time. I was doing things only because I thought I had to do them. Here was the conflict: I was listening to the passive voices within me (insisting that things were being “done” to me), while I was behaving as if I (positively) WANTED to do them.
Wow, why did this happen?
We say that coaches are practitioners of what they say. We walk the talk.
As coaches, we often use the active voice. And, we also use “WE” whenever we can—to create a sense of togetherness. The revelation about the passive voices in my head surprised me since I presumed myself to be living in the world of active voices and behaving according to them—never being “forced” to do anything. I thought I was my best cheerleader. But, no, I was NOT—at least not for the last 12 months or so. I finally understood why I had been so exhausted and why I had been losing my drive. I had not been working as a “whole” system. I had been divided within myself.
Just as when we work with our clients as a team, it is important for our divided selves to also work as a team.
As coaches, we work together with clients to help in the creation process for the client. And yet, like my revelation above, where I needed to become “whole” within me, this creation also needs to emerge through a “whole” (or shall we say, “WE”) system—a “co-creation” that takes place between client and coach. Co-creation is the most powerful point of coaching, and this is where coaches can contribute to their clients the most. Yet it is not enough for coaches to think what OTHERS want or need. It is vital that this process (this co-creation) involves BOTH what the coach and the client wants. Harmony is key.
This is true in working with teams as well. What the individual “I” wants to do in the team won’t lead a team to its success. Rather, what the collective “we” wants to do as a one team is where harmony and success begins. One corporate client was having a difficult time managing their project teams and asked us to work with them. Once we helped them shift into the active voice and talk about outcomes in terms of “we” and not “you” or “I,” amazing changes took place. Their sales outcomes improved, their team dynamics improved, and a new culture of communication arose.
Processing things consciously and subconsciously, saying it and doing it in harmony will lead us to success and happiness. As Mahatma Gandhi says: “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” In Japan, this idea is commonly practiced in the art of “SHIN, GI, TAI”—the harmony of “mind, skill and art, and body.”
What is “Shin Gi Tai”? And, how is this approach to coaching influential, not only in our coaching, but in our personal lives as well? This is a concept that we can explore in greater detail in our upcoming workshop with playful exercises and discussions. We’ll take a look at the deeper meaning of harmony and see how “letting go” through this perspective can benefit greatly.
– – – – – –
To learn more, join Sachiko at ICF Converge 2017, where she will be presenting the session “Harmony: How do We Create It?” on Friday, August 25.
ICF Converge 2017: The Intersection of Coaching & Potential is ICF’s first global event since 2012. It is taking place August 24-26, 2017 in Washington, D.C., USA at the Washington Marriot Wardman Park.
Connect with the conversation on Facebook and with the event hashtag #ICFConverge.
Sachiko Ikushiuma is a coach and trainer of coaches specializing in leadership development, team building and change management. She is president of COACH ING Inc., a board member of the Japan Coach Association’s Osaka chapter and co-owner of Whole System Coaching, which delivers an ICF-accredited training program.
The views and opinions expressed in guest posts featured on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the International Coach Federation (ICF). The publication of a guest post on the ICF Blog does not equate to an ICF endorsement or guarantee of the products or services provided by the author.
ICF is the largest worldwide resource for professional coaches, and the source for those who are seeking a coach. Formed in 1995, today ICF is the leading global organization, with over 20,000 members, dedicated to advancing the coaching profession by setting high professional standards, providing independent certification, and building a network of credentialed coaches.
Visit our website.