Locked In the Box
It was homework time, and my 14 year old daughter was uncharacteristically cranky about her assignment. The students were all supposed to create a resume – easy right? She had recently completed hers during an acting workshop and only needed to update a few things. She loved her resume and was motivated, engaged, and excited about her work. Unfortunately, her acting experience resume fit the criteria for submitting resumes in the acting world, but not the criteria her teacher had laid out for the class. This resulted in the assignment being returned with the expectation that it would be redone in the “correct” format. It wasn’t long into the conversation with my daughter before I heard the frustrated and rather poignant words, “She put herself in a box and locked me in there too!”
Climbing Out of the Box
Mike Byster has a simple and clear definition for out-of-the-box thinking: “You take the same information that everyone else has and look at it differently, often finding a better way to solve problems.”
I’m thinking, wait a minute! That’s coaching! Mike’s definition of out-of-the-box thinking is the essence of what the field of coaching can and does offer clients; a pathway to thinking outside the box in life, relationships, work, problem solving, etc.
Getting Rid of the Box
While I wasn’t thinking about or communicating the benefits of coaching in quite this way until now, I believe this is the core reason when I first discovered the field that I was SO sure it could be a profound and life changing approach to working with students; those from solid backgrounds, and maybe even more so for students from hard places.
Living life from a coaching perspective and mindset is truly a different approach. You literally take information (a client’s coaching topic) and help them look at the issues in a new light by shifting mindsets or perspectives, aligning decisions with personal values, or helping them tap into motivation, etc. Once a client has a new way of looking at a situation, it’s time to help them create empowering and exciting actions to move toward living and leading in a way that uniquely and individually fits them as a person.
There is nothing quite like helping someone see true possibilities when they were either sure there were none, or what was on the surface was completely uninspiring.
My next client coaching session is in a couple hours – I can’t wait to get going! I think I have the coolest job in the world; helping people help themselves by learning to think outside the box.
Thanks for checking out my blog! I am an ICF certified Academic Life Coach and train youth advocates in the Academic Life Coaching 1.0 coach training program. I’m also an adoptive mom, youth advocate, and a licensed therapeutic foster parent. For more information about this program for the student in your life or on how to train as a coach, please contact me here.
What a cool privileged to serve others by helping them think outside of the box. I definitely believe that one reason that coaching can be so effective is because it allows someone from the outside to look into the situation with me. It can be tough to think outside of the box when you’re inside it. Thanks for all you do to serve others!
You are so right, Jessica. It can be very difficult on our own to get out of the box. So helpful to have help gaining a bigger picture look at what is going on. Agreed, it is a cool privilege to serve others. I’m really thankful for the opportunity.
I agree that it is so helpful to have someone to help you see the possibilities you have and how to reframe them to make it great. Great article!
Thanks Jennifer, I really appreciate your comments. Reframing is a great coaching tool to have to help people move forward.
I loved the image at the top. Drew me in right away. And I agree. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing someone else succeed, knowing that our coaching and encouragement helped make it happen
Very true, seeing someone else succeed is incredibly rewarding. Glad you like the graphic and I really appreciate you stopping by.
What a great article and terrific perspective on coaching. Indeed, it is all about thinking out of the box and helping others get there. I love coaching people to greatness!
Thanks, Tandy! Coaching is fun and rewarding for the coach and client. Love it!
This explanation of coaching so works for me. When people asked me what I did as a career counseling I often said, confusion reduction. As coaches, counselors we listen and approach the issue from outside the issue and help the client see things from a new perspective. I loved my 30 years as I know you do too.
I like that, “confusion reduction.” :)Being outside the issue is immensely helpful. What I love about coaching tools is anyone can learn them and then apply them, whether they are in the middle of the situation or outside of it. It really comes down to self-awareness and choice once you learn the skill set.
You know, I never would have thought of it this way! I also like Roz’s explanation above about “Confusion Reduction” lol!!
It is a fun way to think about coaching!
I so see what you mean by this post. Sometimes without even realising it, people “pigeon-hole” themselves believing they have this one set belief or understanding. Shifting one’s own perspective is as important as trying to change the people around you. Excellent post and great graphic too!
Hilarious… love your daughter already. But part of life that we have to follow the rules and sometimes in the box of other folks, sadly!
Very true. She ended up doing the assignment again and I am happy to share, she had a great attitude and ended up pleased with the final outcome. It helped that her teacher gave her some fancy paper to print the new resume on – a fun way to keep a little creativity in the mix. 🙂