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[Coaching Essentials] Who are you?

[Coaching Essentials]  Who are you?
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I still remember one simple question from a great friend of mine who is also a psychologist named Harlene Anderson. The first time I met her, and even the second time I had dinner with her, she asked me the same simple question: "What kind of person are you?"

It sounded like she was checking my background. I gave her my usual prepared answer. She listened, and then asked me again.
"Tell me more about who you are."
Then I asked her.
"Why do you want to know about me?"
She quickly replied, "Because I am interested in getting to know you more."

I knew immediately this is not about fulfilling her curiosity only. She was interested in getting to know me more than just my experience and knowledge.

At that moment, I also got more curious to know her beyond her experience and knowledge and I asked her, "Where does your interest in me and people come from and how do you keep it alive?"

"I am always trying to figure out how to hold a sincere interest in people.

"What else?", I continued.

"I start with the belief that what they say has value."

I got more curious and asked "How did you get those?"

"My parents had compassion and sensitivity for people. Children perceive the world through their families, so I think my parents had a big influence on me."

"If people don't have parents like yours, then they can't have interest in people?", I continued.

Harlene replied: "No, I think if someone sincerely admits that they see people through their colored lenses, then they will be able to hold more interest in others."

I saw her asking my other staff the same question and they all looked very pleased conversing with her.

This experience stayed with me for a long time and I believe it is a great feeling to be treated by someone with pure interest and without preconceived notions of oneself.

(Extracted and translated from "Small Teams Change Organizations: Ten Rules for Native Coaches," by Mamoru Itoh)

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