If we were to choose one doctor over another equally-qualified doctor, chances are it would be because of how they made us feel. We would talk about ‘a great bedside manner’ or try to explain that this particular doctor makes us feel relaxed and confident. This is an example of the difference that who someone is being—how they occur to us, our experience of them—can have on a situation.
It’s just the same when we are mentoring, coaching or supporting someone. We can say very little, and yet, the person being coached or supported can gain a lot of value from the experience because of how we made them feel. Our job as a mentor or coach is to create the ‘space’ into which others can step—to help others feel that they can openly share their thoughts.
Our emotions, drivers and decisions reside in our limbic brain, which has no capacity for language, while our reasoning, logic and language capability reside in our neocortex. One goal as a coach is to help others work that interface between limbic and neocortex, to connect emotion and logic, feeling and language. Who we are being plays an essential role in that.
Who we are being fundamentally affects the outcomes we achieve. And that includes our interactions with others as coaches, leaders, mentors, or just dear friends.
So, if you feel you’re not making progress, consider that who you are being may be impacting who the other person is being. Are you focused, present, in the moment, and in service of that person? Or are you distracted, thinking about what you have next on your to-do list, and in service of yourself? What space are you creating? Is it open, authentic and generous? Or is it challenging, limiting and judgemental? And, when you sense that your interaction has gone really well, what do you now notice about who you were being?
Be intentional about who you are being … you may be surprised by what and who you find.