“Experience is not what happens to you, it is what you do with what happens to you” – Aldous Huxley
Professional coaching is of course many things, but forced to encapsulate it in a sentence for me Huxley’s would make a great starting point. Experiences are the raw material for making sense of life, but our characteristic to follow the path of least resistance often means that the opportunities experience provides us to move forward, is lost. Instead we say to ourselves ‘tick, job done’ and move on.
Coaching should provide the opportunity and discipline to reflect on the journey and nail down the personal and professional learning before using this new knowledge to scale the next challenge.
Imagine an athlete or sports team simply going home and failing to reflect on the previous time they stepped into the arena. The idea is ludicrous, visualise the triple jumper who steps out of the sand pit and before they do anything else (with the exception of getting the sand out of those hard to reach places) walks straight over to their coach for debrief and analysis.
Yet as individuals and teams how often do we do this in our professional arena and routinely move on without a backwards glance? Is what we spend most of our working week doing somehow less important?
What still excites me about my coaching work is helping to convert that experiential raw material into learning and growth for others and yes, taking my own medicine, for myself as well.