SIDE EFFECTS OF COACHING
- Aug 12th 2019
Side effects typically carry a negative connotation, like the side effects associated with medicines or the ones associated with too much caffeine. However, when it comes to coaching, the coach is likely to experience some side effects that are life enhancing. These side effects can vary from one coach to another, so I will stick to sharing my experiences and invite others to share theirs.
The biggest impact of my coaching has indirectly been on my wife, as she has started noticing some changes in my behavior. Of course, she reserves the right to decide whether she likes the changes that she sees or not.
A few months into my coaching sessions, my wife asked me why I was talking to so many men and women these days whose names she had never heard from me before. I told her that these were my new friends who are my peer coaches or my clients, and that I am fortunate that my network is expanding beyond my existing friends and colleagues at work. I have met people of different ages, background, professions, interests.
One other topic of discussion with my wife over the years has been my habit of buying books. She is of the opinion that a home is not a library to fill it up with books. At her insistence, I had slowed down on buying books in paperback form, but after talking to people on so many varied topics, I have gone back to my habit of buying books on topics I had never read before.
One habit I have been guilt of is not listening to what my wife is telling me, especially in two scenarios, one when I am reading and second when I am listening to music. But over the last few months, my wife confirms that I am listening to her far more actively that ever before. In fact, I listen so intently at times that I forget she is waiting for me to respond.
I have always been an introvert and not very open about my feelings. But lately, during my conversations, I am sharing more and more of what I am thinking, feeling.
It is wrong to list the next change so late in the article, but it a huge one. My wife has often caught me dishing out advice in the past, even when I am not eating my own dog-food. But that’s now in the past. Now, unless some one is coming to me explicitly for advice on something I know, I generally encourage them to think more on the options they can come up with themselves. It sounds like a cliché, but it is certainly better to teach fishing than give some one a fish. It is more important to be able to influence than use the authority of your age, experience, job title.
Right from the time when we got married in the 80’s, I have told my wife that she and I are two completely different human beings and I never understood why it is so. Nowadays, that realization has donned on me that we are all unique in many ways and for the same event, our thoughts, our emotions and our actions can be very different. One of the biggest insights is that even if two people use the same words, they may mean some thing different.
I marvel at the beauty of creation, there is no one like me and vice versa. While we are different, it is still possible to put yourself in other person’s shoes. Sure, your feet may hurt if their shoes are smaller or bigger, but you can get used to it with practice.
One day, I sensed my wife was in a good mood and I asked her to list down 6 changes that she has seen in me in the last 6 months. Here is her list (I have omitted some I did not like to list)
- I am less selfish
- I don’t act like I know everything
- I do not talk much about the past
- I understand the non-verbal communication better now
- I do not pass judgement on others as often
- I am a better husband (this one takes the cake)
Could there potentially be some negative side effects of coaching? Well, I am currently in the honeymoon period with coaching, but hoping that there are no serious side effects.
Do share insights from your own coaching journey, would love to hear from you all.
Rajat is a Master Certified Coach (MCC) with over 18 years of industry experience and over 2500 hours of coaching experience, helping people and organizations attain maximum effectiveness. His background includes working with CXOs, senior managers, managers and board of directors of small private companies to multi-billion dollar publicly traded organizations.