Back when I organized software conferences, one of the questions we would ask ourselves regularly was how we could create safe spaces for everyone at our events, not just bro-dudes in hoodies.
It wasn’t until this week that I started asking this question in regards to coaching.
How can I create a safe space for everyone in coaching?
I was talking to my new coach friend Laura about this yesterday and I asked how they did in the company she works for. She shared that they created an environment where there’s no right way or wrong way to coach, just different approaches. When they discussed each other’s group coaching calls, they spent time getting curious about the choices that were made and asked how else they could have approached things. There was no judgement, only constructive feedback.
That blew my little mind a bit. You don’t have to judge?!?
Hearing this was really helpful for me because for the past few weeks I’ve been reviewing coach applicants at work and the whole process felt icky to me.
At one point I commented to my boss, “Dang, I don’t know if I’d hire me based on my standards!”
By focusing on what was right or wrong in other people’s coaching, I was holding up a mirror to what I think is right or wrong about me. No wonder I felt terrible.
Now that I’m training one of our new coaches, I can see that my thought on repeat has been, “She’s watching and judging me… I better not fuck this up.” That made me feel self-conscious and lose all confidence in my coaching.
After talking to Laura, I let go of the need to judge our trainee and instead introduced curiosity to the learning process and felt so much better.
I thought I was creating a safe space for other people, but what I didn’t realize was that I was actually creating a safe space for me.
I created the safety I’ve been looking for all along.