February 2013 Newsletter

Out of the Box: Here a Choice, There a Choice

"Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice." Wayne Dyer

Isn't it great to have the power to choose our thoughts, feelings, and actions? We even get to choose how we wish to show up each day. And not only that, we get to choose how we wish to handle challenges and which options or opportunities would work best for us.

Here's the kicker though, in order to make choices (i.e. how to overcome a challenging situation, what career path to take, etc.), it's important to have clarity and clarity can sometimes evade us. It is particularly elusive when we are in a state of overwhelm or fear.

So what can we do to create clarity?

Here are a few ideas...

First, recognize that we're all human and being human can sometimes be a messy process. (We can learn a lot from our messes.)

Second, be willing to ask those powerful questions that support deeper discovery and awareness.

Third, don't force the clarity. Sometimes it takes time for an answer to appear or a choice to present itself.

Fourth, work in bite-sized pieces or as we say around the Coaching Out of the Box® halls, make that elephant into elephant steaks. This will cut down on the overwhelm.

Just remember, the power to choose is YOURS!

Team Talk
Learning From Challenging Situations

by Amy Ruppert, MCC
Chief Learning Officer

"Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know." Pema Chodron

Having coached many people over the past 15 years, I've witnessed my fair share of human struggle. I've had the honor of walking with many as they navigate their way through life's challenges - the good, the bad and the ugly. As a result of these many experiences I've had with my clients, I have come to the conclusion that, while painful, confusing and downright frightening some of these challenges can be, they force us into consciousness of our strength and potential. They are the things that truly let us know who we are and what we are capable of. But how do we coach someone who is tormented by worry, heartbreak or total confusion into seeing it as a growth and learning opportunity? Here is a bit of a checklist to help coach someone from tormented to enlightened.


This means the coach has to be patient and have the ability to sit in the discomfort of it all with their coachee without pushing for solution and resolution. Just being with someone as a calm, still presence can be the most helpful thing you can do to help them move forward. Listening with just silence and nods can be a gift beyond measure when someone is in a state of confusion or fear. It's important that the coach holds, within themselves, the belief that there is a way out, around, over or through all this and that the coachee will find their way to it when the time is right.

Acknowledge and Do Nothing

There is nothing worse than someone blowing sunshine in your face when you're tormented with difficulty and in a state of fear or confusion. I've seen this mistake in coaching many times. Pushing for positive thinking without acknowledging the difficulty leaves the coachee feeling alienated and alone with their challenge. Saying things like, "This must be so difficult for you" or "I can't imagine how scary this must be for you" let's the coach know you SEE them in their challenge. In the same vein, pushing for the coachee to 'do' something by moving in to action planning too soon robs them of just sitting and 'being' with the struggle. It's in that "being" state that the gifts of rich learning occur. Acknowledge the difficulty your coachee is having and encourage them to just 'be' in it and be present with them in that uncomfortable stillness.

Proceed Gently

When challenged, even the strongest personalities tend to be bruised and delicate. It may be masked behind anger or bravado, but delicate none-the-less. This is not the time to ask questions hoping for that big "aha" moment. Instead, ask them to guide you by asking questions like, "How can I best support you right now?" or, "What's the best way I can coach you right now?" Let them know that you are completely there for them AND they are the ones in control of where the coaching will go. While proceeding gently, the coach needs to dial up their listening skills to hear if the coachee is ready for more. If you think you're hearing them ready to move forward, ask them, "Are you ready to look at ways to move past this?" or "Are you saying you're ready to make some decisions about this?"

Mining the Learning Nuggets

Often coaches will move on with their coaching once the crisis or challenge has passed. Solution found - coaching situation over. Without taking the time to help the coachee learn from their difficulty, the coach is merely coaching for solutions versus helping the coachee evolve. Most people are not able to learn from challenges until they are near or well into hindsight of a situation. Up until then, they are just trying to navigate their emotions and the situation and are dedicating a lot of energy towards resisting what is happening. When the coach begins to hear the coachee has moved past that resistance and into some sort of acceptance of the situation or the situation has resolved itself, that is the time to start asking questions like, "What has all this taught you?" or "What was the gift you'll take away from all this?". We partner with them until they find what they needed to know.

Quote of the Month

"The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said." -Peter F. Drucker

What Would You Do?

You have a coachee who has been working on a list of professional and personal tolerations for the last month. The coachee has expressed that during each session they wish to continue to work on the tolerations and nothing else until that list is gone. The coachee comes to the next session visibly upset over something that happened with a colleague, (this has never happened before)...what would you do?

Licensed Trainers Website Listing

There's a section on our web site where all of our Licensed Trainers are listed. If you have completed your certification through Coaching Out of the Box® and would like to have your profile listed on our website please complete the following information and send it in a separate email to listing@coachingoutofthebox.com or dotty@coachingoutofthebox.com.

Name (first and last):
Certifications (initials behind your name):
Bio (max 300 words):
Email address:
Phone number:

If you wish to include a photograph with your listing, please send it as an attachment to your email. Do not paste your picture into a word document as we are unable to process them.

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