The latter, Seung Chan Lim (Slim) wrote: Many of the kinds of things you say are identical to the kinds of things the best art directors would often say to designers when they are helping them resolve the composition. Art directors don't know what design is going to emerge. If they did, what they're doing would not be "creative." They don't direct in the "telling other people what to do," sense, they direct the designer's attentions to what they see, how they feel, etc in relation to the object being designed.
I love this notion of "resolve the composition", especially as it is done through emergence and experimentation. I am increasingly convinced that the resolution to people's issues or questions in coaching is already present. What emerges in coaching is a manifestation of a developmental process that is already underway, not something we need to make happen. It is about letting the proverbial muddy waters clear through our radical presence. As noted above, our role then is to invite people being coached to attend to what they see in new ways, to notice more deeply what they feel, and to make new associations between the pieces of their stories and their desired aspiration.
In this sense, resolution is about bringing what is already there into sharper focus not (re-)solving a problem (though this often happens quite readily as a fortunate byproduct of the process). When people make their way to the crux of the matter this way, they are in a much better position to engage with the other meaning (and pronunciation) of the word, "resolve": "to decide firmly on a course of action." This speaks to the practice of fierce compassion and I find the results from narrative coaching are more lasting often because of the way the process helps people make shifts at their core level.
Questions for today:
• What do you need to resolve by bringing into greater focus?
• What do you need to resolve by bringing closure and letting go?
• What would resolve on its own if you stopped trying so hard?
• What do you want to apply your resolve to in your work/life?
As we say in this work, "Everything you need is right in front of you." "Drop into the experience whilst serving as its most fiercely curious and compassionate advocate. Bring attention to what seems essential."
Here's to your journey to let it be so . . .
When was the last time you experienced utter quiet... even for a few moments? Within yourself? With another? With your environment? There is something quite powerful in silence, a state we often think of as "nothing". Yet it is from this fertile place that we can discern what is most important, return to our essence, tap in to more natural rhythms, and take more conscious actions. Without it we are, over time, worn down by the relentless noise.
I came to appreciate this a few years ago after teaching a graduate class on coaching for a dear colleague in southern Germany. Once we were done we headed into the mountains for a walk in the early winter snow. At one point we found a clump of pine trees on an outcropping and sat there in complete stillness. Resting against each other, everything but our breath and the wind in the trees fell away. The experience was so restorative that there was no need to speak to it when we got up to continue our walk. It reminded me of a line in my book: Think of listening as receiving and noticing what is already present, rather than as something you have to do to make things happen.
As Max Picard (2002) writes, “When language ceases, silence begins. But it does not begin because language ceases. The absence of language simply makes the presence of Silence more apparent” . . . Silence is a place in which your restless mind, internal chatter, and fragmented attention can find the stillness you need to listen well. It is from this stillness within yourself that you can be radically present to the people you coach. When you are still, the non-essential drops away, underlying truths surface and we can more readily move toward right action.
Dr David Drake is the founder of the field of Narrative Coaching.