One of the things I would ask somebody who isn’t ready to get a coach but is willing to explore is to consider who inspires them.
The first thing for somebody who’s interested in coaching is to question themselves: “Who inspires me or interests me? Or who has a quality of life that I would like to have for myself?” and then be in some conversation or some learning around that person. How do these people affect me? What is stirred when I read this or that? What is stirred in me to be a student of their own experience more than just reading what somebody else is thinking.
And then I would encourage them to informally or formally study with such a person; so this question almost of mentoring. When I became a lawyer, I was in a small government agency and we were all young, we were all twenty-something-year-olds, and there was a paralegal that came through the door as our paralegal, and she was 40. Well, you can just imagine, we didn’t even know what to talk to her about because she was forty and we were only in our twenties. And she was not a lawyer, and we were very mindful that we were lawyers and she was not.
So we sent her to a public meeting and we said, “Go and determine whether there was a quorum and then what the vote was, so come back with that.” Well, after a while she returned to the office, we assembled in the conference room, and she reported both on those two points. But before she did, she talked about the mood in the room. She talked about who the leaders were. She talked about how people influenced each other and what was under the agenda that was spoken there. And I was dazzled. I was just dazzled that she could see so much in that room and that she had the ability to describe what actually happened there. And so I decided that I was going to be, in some way, her mentee. I would simply observe her doing different things, talking with different people. And over the years, now 40 years, I remain her close friend and she, my teacher. She’s now in her eighties. She’s teaching at a community college, and at age 70 got her Ph.D, With Distinction, from the University of Pennsylvania. So in every respect she’s worthy of being a teacher, but she became a teacher for me when I was in my twenties and she had a quality that interested me that I wanted to in some way have for myself.
It goes on and on. There are also, of course, wonderful resources to read, depending upon your interest.
Parker Palmer is a great champion, as far as I’m concerned. He does beautiful work. Parker Palmer, out of the state of Wisconsin; an educator, is a deep and wonderful resource. http://www.couragerenewal.org/parker
Richard Leider, himself a coach–The Power of Purpose—is a man who has deeply influenced me. http://www.richardleider.com/
Richard Strozzi Heckler, who integrates the body and the mind and the spirit in leadership work, has deeply informed me. http://www.strozziinstitute.com/
And then finally Robert Johnson, a priest and Jungian psychologist who has written powerfully on many topics, and so my clients often read his work. http://www.jerryruhlrobertjohnson.com/