One-Hand Clap

“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” – Aldous Huxley

Have you heard the sound of a one-hand clap?

A litany of concerns often precedes the one-hand clap. It sounds like complaints wrapped with emotions and presented as outrage. There is, frankly, only one advice: do not engage. Smile and nod your way out.

Coaching agile leaders is a fulfilling profession for me. But occasionally, the universe presents a unique challenge. Over time I have learned to smile my way out of the situation because some situations are not fit for coaching. You can tell that there is no desire to receive coaching when:

  • Everything happens to them because of others’ mistakes
  • Conversations with them are a series of deflections away from reflecting on their contribution to their challenging situation.
  • They know everything, and the situation will improve only when everybody else does what they want.

I am inclined to try to help, and I know that venting can help people with letting go. I have benefited personally when friends, colleagues, and coaches allow me to express my frustrations.

And then I hear the yearning for the other hand. We all arrive at that place at our own pace.

How do you know that coaching is not going to be helpful?


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