Wednesday, October 17, 2007


The other day I found myself triggered by a friend's choice to, from my perspective, fart their ideas into my space. I put it that way because it is both humorous and, from where I sit, accurate. Farts often occur without consciousness -- simply happening, kind of like when we know something or think we know something about what is going on and we just blurt it out.

From my perspective, my friend did not have permission to coach me. What that means to me is that before someone offers advice, they would ask if the listener (in this case, me) wants to hear it. There are many reasons for that, including (and not limited to):
  • the person may not be looking for your opinion or ideas
  • the person may simply be venting
  • the person may just be sharing their experience and only want to share without receiving in that moment
  • the person may be closed, generally speaking
  • the person may be closed, specifically to the person offering the coaching
  • the person may simply not want to switch context (ie, sharing/speaking/opening/venting/whatever to listening/receiving)
  • so the person offering said "advice/coaching" isn't impressing their
    values on the other individual. (I take this very seriously, not just with respect to what I say, but also with what is said to me.)

  • This idea of permission is why I use the phrase, "Can I offer something?" so frequently because I do not want to be coaching someone who is either not prepared for it, not interested in it and/or in some way not open to receiving that which I have to offer.

    I understand that in friendships there is a place where we offer ourselves to each other that, in some ways, seems like it should be apart from the idea of asking permission. That may be so for other people and my world generally speaking does not operate that way.

    When I'm confused about this sort of thing with other people, I ask the person speaking what they are looking for from me -- to hold space, to offer coaching, to share my own experience, and/or whatever. These days, I'd like to think I don't really offer coaching without permission (though please call me on it if I do) except in the domain of where I am the explicit current "coach" (as in class and as it relates to poi, and at that, only sometimes since I am so sensitive to not wanting to trample on people's own development at their own pace).

    Perhaps it is a subtle distinction that I've picked up working with and being friends with coaches in transformational communities for many years on end. What I know is I do not feel honored when someone puts things in my space I'm not interested in having there. For me, it occurs like clutter that I have to move around/through/over/avoid.