One of the things they teach you at Coach School is the immense usefulness of the phrase “How interesting!”
Training yourself to automatically think “How interesting!” is a very good way of learning to suspend judgement.
Passing judgement on one’s clients is a HUGE no-no and one of the things a lot of coaches find very difficult at first. We live in a world where people are constantly judging each other and finding each other wanting – you only have to look at the way the media carry on to see that.
So learning to remove your own opinions and judgements from the scene is a critical skill. Once a client knows and trusts that you’re not going to be judging them, it enables them to be honest about their thoughts and feelings in a way that many people feel unable to be in “real life”.
So when a client says or does something that presses all your buttons and makes you want to punch them really hard, it’s far more helpful (to both of you) if you can, instead, notice how you’re feeling and think to yourself:
“How interesting! I wonder why I am reacting so violently to what they’ve just said/done?”
and to say to them something like:
“How interesting – I wonder if you could explain a bit more about what you mean?”
Your reaction will quite often be nothing to do with what they’ve actually said – it’s more likely that they have in some way reminded you of something from back in your own past and flipped one of your trip-switches.
Likewise, when faced with the sight of someone doing something that appears to be the height of idiocy, it’s only going to be useful if you can think to yourself something like:
“How interesting! That appears to me to be an extraordinarily idiotic thing to do – I wonder what reasons they could possibly have?”
which translates into
“That’s interesting – can you tell me a bit about what you’re doing?”
Removing the rush to judgement is useful in everyday life, not just within coaching conversations, and it’s something we could all usefully apply to ourselves as well.
For example, the next time you find yourself automatically resisting a suggestion from someone, notice that resistance. Find it interesting, and ask yourself what’s really going on.
Are you actually resisting the suggestion or the person making it? Are you making assumptions about their suggestion that are leading you to resist or is there something else going on?
Becoming curious about your own reactions to things will give you an increasing amount of insight into the workings of your own mind, and the more you do it the more you’ll find your relationships with other people, and with yourself, improve.