Saturday, January 29, 2005

Circle of Influence

"A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." -- Henry Brooks Adams, Historian

John Pistorius sent me this quite a while ago now. It’d open it up, read it, think about it for a while, knowing I’d love to write a blog around it, and so many thoughts and ideas would fly through my mind, I’d close the file again as I didn’t want to be writing a blog the size of a book! One book on the go is enough thank you very much!

And here I am, starting up a school. Every time I do what my friend and colleague Andrea calls a brain dump to get as much information down about what it is I do before it flies right out of my mind, I think of this quote. My goal is to teach concepts, process…. ways of being. The latter, the ways of being is what a Shadow or ontological Coach does. We work with a client’s way of being, language, body and emotion all tied in one.

Last night Andrea posed a question to help her with a project she’s working on. The question was “Where are you coming from?” She was looking into Coaches putting their own spin on what they think is right and influencing a coaching session with that bias. My immediate answer was “It’s not about where I’m coming from. It’s where my client is coming from and where he or she wants to be”. I quickly added that to my class brain dumping notes.

Much of what I do is instinctive. I have been working as a Shadow Coach for so many years that I have fined tuned a great deal of my craft and do my work without much conscious thought. I just do it. In creating the school and needing to document, be aware and be able to teach my model with a logical flow, I needed to take notes; mental and physical notes. And as I am constantly working on reinventing models and approaches, this facilitated the process in both directions. In effect, I’m shadowing myself in action.

I have many goals with regards to my teaching. One is to be able to create a community of like-minded Coaches to finely tune a model that is proven to work and work well. Another is to increase awareness in Coaches so even if they don’t choose to shadow Coach, they will be more mindful and aware of their clients’ subtleties. And for those who do decide to adopt this model as their own, to become so good at it, so instinctive, that their clients achieve their personal level of excellence. The ripple effect in this instance goes way beyond the participants in the program. It goes to each client they coach and those around them.

This quote will keep me on track. A keeper : ) And just as it’s a reminder for me, so is it a reminder for everyone who is in a position of influence, who mentor and help others grow. There are many ways to teach; by word, or example. But when you do both together, that ripple effect will be more powerful than any of us could ever imagine.

I leave you with a favourite quote of mine. "You are the centre of a circle, the diameter of which is determined by your circle of influence. You will never know just how wide that diameter will end up being".

Donna Karlin

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