For the last couple of years, I felt I was living a double life. One half of me lived as a cellist and cello teacher–creator of the Virtual Summer Cello Festival and the Bridge Online Cello Studio, as well as Suzuki faculty at the Bermuda School of Music. The other half of me lived as a professional business coach, working with clients 1:1 or through my group coaching program, Profit Pivot.
Half the time I was explaining phrase structure, key signatures, and bow distribution, and the other half I was strategizing around launches, social media, and messaging.
I am further ahead than my students on the cello, and so I can share knowledge with them that they don’t yet have. I am further along in business than my clients are and so I can share knowledge with them that they don’t yet have.
But that’s just a shortcut for them. The truth is that there’s nothing I am telling them about those facts that they couldn’t find on the internet. Whether it’s a simple google search or a youtube video away, it’s there for the taking, and all for free, too.
What patterns can you see when you think about different key signatures? How does this key make you feel? What color matches it? Where is the most exciting part of the piece? How can we use the instrument to make it sound more exciting?
What is important to you? What are you thinking about these days that no one else seems to be talking about? Who needs to know it? What would happen if they knew it too? Where do they hang out? Which skills do you already have that you can use? Which skills do you need to learn?
Because each of us already knows. Deep down, my 15-year-old student KNOWS how the music should go, and deep down, they know what they need to do to achieve it. And deep down, my clients KNOW what they want and need to do to live their most fulfilling lives, and they know what needs to happen to achieve that too.
So, it begs the question, if a person can get the factual information from the internet for free 24/7, and they have the answers to the bigger and more subjective questions within themselves, why the hell do they need to hire a teacher or a coach?
By holding space, treating the student or client as an honored being, and making the space safe for them to think, explore and wonder. Free from fear of making a “mistake”.
By asking the right questions, at the right time, and in the right way, they are guiding you to find the answers that you might not have otherwise known how to access.
By bearing witness to our next planned steps. By having the next session on the calendar. By wanting to share a win or progress, or get help when we feel stuck.
It is magical to me to serve in this role, and magical things happen in my own life when others serve in this role for me. The more I have learned about coaching from my brilliant teachers, the more tools and confidence I have at my disposal, but serving people in this way can be beneficial on even the most basic level, and anyone can do it.
• When your spouse is experiencing an issue at work, what would happen if you replaced giving advice with simply encouraging them to say more about it.
• When you’re chatting with a friend, instead of interjecting your similar experience, ask them deeper questions about it.
• When your child is having a problem at school, imagine how powerful they would feel if you guided them with questions until they came up with a solution instead of taking over and solving it for them.
Even in this basic, simplified way, this concept of listening and questioning rather than interrupting and advising, I’m willing to bet you’ll feel a more genuine connection. Feeling like we’re truly being heard, truly seen is a rare occurrence these days, and it’s an incredible gift both to give and receive.
I would love to hear about your experiences with this! Leave a comment and tell us what it was like.
Have a great week!
P.S. You can still join us for Thrive Fest: Holiday Edition. Sign up to receive daily bite-sized tasks to keep you on track and thriving in all areas of your life, even during this crazy busy season! November 15-January 1st. Feel free to jump right in! You can join here