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ISSUE 049 | 02 February 2022

One person, many hats

Park bench squashed under fallen trees
Assessing the storm damange
Hello Emma

We’ve been weathering another storm here in the north east over the past week. We’ve had more trees down in the parks, and roof tiles, walls and fences blown down. And once again flying debris and unsafe goals made the pitch unplayable for my hockey match on Saturday resulting in an unexpected day off. We chose to use our free time to go to the cinema. It was just like the old days.

What would you do with an unexpectedly free day?

Enjoy today's Gathered Thoughts and as ever just hit reply to let me know what you think.
A few weeks ago, I was posed this question by someone who is developing their coaching practice:

When, if ever, is it appropriate for a coach to give advice?

My immediate response, as with most things was... it depends. Here are a few examples I shared that day.

I’m working with someone at the moment who can help me both as a coach and business adviser/mentor. He will switch hats depending on my need. The crucial part of this is that we’ve previously agreed (or contracted, in coaching terminology) to this arrangement. He makes it clear when he’s in which role, and seeks my confirmation that is what I want in that moment.

When I’m coaching and I feel I’ve got some advice to share, I keep in mind the question: Does this serve me, or my client? It’s a difficult one to answer, but it gives me time to pause and think what to do next. I don’t feel it is in service to them if I hold back something that I observe or information I have that they don’t. However, I will always ask whether they’re ready to accept me putting a different hat on to share that, even if it’s only for a minute.

What hat I’m wearing is something I also think about when a friend or family member comes to me with something that’s bothering them. Sometimes, I need to remind myself to keep my coaching hat off my head. In these situations, it’s a case of asking whether they want someone to listen and empathise or to help them problem solve. Two other hats that I keep in my kit bag.

I’m curious, what different hats do you wear?
I haven’t read many, if any, articles since I last wrote to you. I’ve slowed down my reading somewhat preferring to focus on the many books I own but have not yet read. So instead of the usual links, here are a couple of passages I’ve highlighted in my latest non-fiction read Do Pause by Robert Poynton...

we associate pause with delay and distraction, not deliberation or wisdom.

The idea of ‘work-life balance’ doesn’t help either. It sets up work and life as opposites, squabbling over their fair share of time... The sharp distinction between work and life misrepresents both. On the one hand, any work worth doing has some kind of life or liveliness in it and no amount of time off can possibly make up for ‘deathly’ work. On the other hand, there is plenty that we have to work at outside the office, in the intimate space of our own lives

When people burn out, it is crippling, but at least it is dramatic enough to demand attention. It forces reconsideration... Less extreme but more insidious is the slow, suffocating smoulder. As we constantly push from one task to the next, we can become our to-do lists. Little by little, we learn to live with less of ourselves.

A pause is an opening. It acts as a portal to other option and choices, giving more dimension to your experience.

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