One of the common themes that occurs in coaching conversations is that of perspective. It’s easy to see why. When people reach out to a coach or a mentor they often want a different perspective on whichever issue they have committed to resolve. Coaching can help clients to see things differently and a good coach is able to ask questions that facilitate this. It’s all about perspective.
I was reminded of this last week when we took a family trip to the observatory at Jodrell Bank. The main attraction is the Lovell Telescope, an incredible feat of ingenuity and engineering. Of course it has to incredible because, after all, it is an integral part of Manchester University’s attempt to play its part in unlocking the mysteries of the universe. So it’s massive. Huge. People visit and stand before it like the monument of science, physics and astrology that it is. I know this to be true; I did exactly that.
And it was with reverential tones that others spoke of the telescope’s size. Children exclaimed and read aloud signs that proclaimed how many double decker buses could fit inside the giant bowl pointing at the sky. Throughout the whole of the viewing area hushed voices delighted when the enormous structure started to turn, to move, to track who knows what however many eons away.
But of course, this is just one possible perspective. It’s all too easy to fall into line and see what others see, or to observe what you are expected to observe, and to say the right words in the right tone of voice. Shift your perspective and it’s plain to see how absurd the whole place is: there is a sign when you enter that asks the reader to consider the age of the universe, some 14 billion years. In the face of such information the telescope is insignificant; it’s a speck so infinitesimally small that it is ridiculous to suggest otherwise. Indeed, it is only by acknowledging the absurdity of a tiny metal structure pointing at the stars that the value of the work completed there is brought into focus. The brilliance of the place lies in the fact that it reminds us all that our perspectives are human, they are fallible, sometimes broken, and often just the result of accepting things at face value.
Through coaching conversations clients have the time, space and opportunity to evaluate the things that they are currently accepting without question. Coaching works because it utilises the skills of the coach in bringing into a different focus whatever issue is besetting the client. Coaching works because, like the wonder that is the Lovell Telescope, the answers are less important that the willingness to ask the right questions.
If you’d like to discuss how coaching can be of benefit in your life, you can get in touch. I’d love to hear from you. You can click here to find out more.