Curiosity: A key element of the Coach Approach

by Pamela Richarde

Think about what we do as coaches: We listen. We ask questions. We clarify. We reflect the essence of what we hear/observe so that a client can see themselves. And then assist in moving to desired results. What we do is truly brilliant and helpful work.

And, what we do is not enough. Who we are being while coaching, is as important as what we are doing. This highlights an important guiding principle in our work as coaches: Curiosity. We must be curious Simply, if we are curious, we actually stimulate discovery, new awareness and ultimately results.

Assuming this is true, how can be learn to be more curious? Ciskszentmihalyi stated in his book “Flow”, that…..”…..we can develop our curiosity (and fight boredom) by making a conscious effort to direct our attention to something in particular in our environment.” So, if we direct our attention fully to our clients and become explorers, curious as to what we will discover together, this will actually enhance our ability to even BE curious!

Bottom line, building your capacity to be curiosity is a must for excellence in relating as a coach or in using a ‘coach approach’ in any situation.

Hear are some tips to building your curiosity muscle:

  • Be a learner (be curious about things you absolutely don’t know about….and even more about what you believe you already know!)
  • Be comfortable saying “I don’t know” (being in a state of not knowing can naturally stimulate curiosity and exploration)
  • Seek, and be open to, other perspectives (ours is only one way of looking at the world)
  • Model and reward curiosity (inspiring others to reach into new perspective and ideas, simply by ‘being curious’ yourself)
  • Ask first, versus tell (exploring outside of your own thinking, solutions, beliefs, ideas)
  • Try new things (stretch into exploring outside of your present knowing and experience)
  • Stop, look, listen and have FUN!

Curiosity is a ‘key’ that can unlock the inherent wisdom that is part of every being. It nurtures inquiry and self reflection. It is the food that is offered to the seeds of greatness in the soil of our psyches. So work to remember what it is like to be a curious as a young child. Practice being curious in all that you do. And of course, as noted above, have FUN doing it!