Coach’s Challenge for 8/1/11 “Phone Therapy”

Good day, team.

Last week, I wrote about love and the importance of it in our private and professional lives. In response to the challenge, my good friend and fellow coaching associate, Kate Dwyer,* sent me the following wonderful poem. This week’s challenge is within her message:

“This poem reminds me of how my best coaching works and why — especially the last stanza. Of course, it’s an extreme example. But we often make tiny self-destructive decisions all day long, and the coach is there to help us choose something else, to choose something more creative, intentional, bold, openhearted. On a tiny scale, it’s like choosing life over death.”

Phone Therapy

by Ellen Bass

I was relief, once, for a doctor on vacation
and got a call from a man on a windowsill.
This was New York, a dozen stories up.
He was going to kill himself, he said.
I said everything I could think of.
And when nothing worked, when the guy
was still determined to slide out that window
and smash his delicate skull
on the indifferent sidewalk, “Do you think,”
I asked, “you could just postpone it
until Monday, when Dr. Lewis gets back?”

The cord that connected us — strung
under the dirty streets, the pizza parlors, taxis,
women in sneakers carrying their high heels,
drunks lying in piss — that thick coiled wire
waited for the waves of sound.

In the silence I could feel the air slip
in and out of his lungs and the moment
when the motion reversed, like a goldfish
making the turn at the glass end of its tank.
I matched my breath to his, slid
into the water and swam with him.
“Okay,” he agreed.

Your challenge this week is to reflect upon the times you offer your coaching skills to your teammates. See if you can find ways to do more of it. Think about the times you offer advice to help others be more creative, intentional, bold and openhearted. See how the coaching transforms them and opens up new doorways. Find ways to have a positive impact on others. Explore new ways to help them see the same set of circumstances differently. Be the steady hand for them when they’re suffering with a problem at work.

Nothing is more meaningful than tapping into our ability to help others. This week, like the woman on the phone, be the person on the other end who is a lifesaver.

Have a good week!

Kathleen

* Many thanks to my wise woman friend and colleague, Kate Dwyer, for this week’s challenge.

“Phone Therapy” by Ellen Bass, from Mules of Love. (c) BOA Editions, Ltd., 2002. Reprinted with permission.

© Copyright 2011 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search Inc., all rights reserved.
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