Coaching Wisdom From Prague


Last week I attended a global conference for coaches held in Prague, Czech Republic. I knew it was going to be one heck of a learning journey when my head was already popping with new ideas from the conversations I had at the opening reception, before attending any learning sessions!

My own talk on day 1 (Accessing Intuition in Coaching) exceeded my expectations. I was in the zone! The auditorium literally vibrated with energy as I facilitated 50 simultaneous coaching circles in application of my ideas. What a blast to share my wisdom for sake of better coaching!

For the balance of the conference I was on the receiving end of learning. Sometimes it was an inspiring keynote talk, other times a hands-on clinic or a leading-edge researcher who challenged what I thought I knew, and often it was the reflective hallway conversations with fellow participants. I left every interaction feeling more and more full of ideas and new wisdom.

On the long plane ride home, I filtered my notes for action items and takeaways. One of my commitments was to share some of my learning with others, so I’m starting with my tribe!

10 Points of Wisdom from the Global Coach Conference

The following ideas jumped out at me and got me thinking and excited to share. A few of the following ideas have attribution, but most are my own synthesis of what I grokked from the speaker. Please, take what resonates and leave the rest!

1. Today is the slowest day you’ll ever experience for the rest of your life. We say this as though it is some surprise that we’re just discovering. But think about it: if you are alive today, this has been true every day since you were born. You already know how to do it, to live in a today that is always faster than yesterday. So, when are we going to stop arguing the point and simply relax into the ride?

2. Know when to say No. To survive and thrive in the world you must establish and maintain strong boundaries for yourself. Boundaries are essential to manage energy, relationships, and focus.

3. “We can be better“ starts with “I can be better.“ This is a modern version of the famous Gandhi quote, “be the change you want to see in the world.” When you point a finger at others, notice the three pointing back at you.

4. A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. This feels so true today, yet versions of this sentiment have been around for hundreds of years. We think we are unique, but human beings have always been this way 🙂 <see attributions here>

5. Rationality and Emotionality are not separate. Every thought we have is emotionally influenced. Neuroscience and research continue to show us that neutral decision-making or “we don’t do emotions” is absolutely a fiction. Thinking and feeling are inextricably interwoven. Thus, it is critical to recognize and manage your own and others’ emotions.

6. Complaint: I don’t know what to say. Response: So, ask a question! The era of anyone knowing everything is ancient history. Most of the time, in most situations, you’ll have access to only a fraction of “knowledge.” The future belongs to those who master the skills of Inquiry.

7. Systems depend on our willingness to keep silence. When you sense injustice or inequity, speak up. Recent history has proven to us that speaking aloud is both dangerous (for those who are first) and incredibly powerful, for once light is shed it is impossible for good people to look away and pretend any longer. Be the light.

8. What is it you think you need that you don’t have? This is the essence of coaching. Whether you are a professional coach or a leader trying to support someone on your team, coaching is about helping people name the gap then close that gap.

9. The brain’s main job is to manage resources in service of getting oxygen and glucose to your cells. Everything else that has evolved in human beings serves that primary role. Period. Every dimension of who we are as humans comes down to our survival as beings at a cellular level. Lisa Feldman Barrett’s presentation was one of the most mind-blowing of the conference for me. She challenged us to think WAY beyond EQ and the body. I ordered her book, How Emotions are Made, before I even left the hall!

10. Words make Worlds. Speaking is a generative action.