30 August 2010

What happens when you just get stuck?

Last summer, I was in western Kenya.  Outside Eldoret, it had been raining after a long dry season so there was deep red Kenya mud everywhere.  We were following our host to his home, when suddenly he turned off the paved road across a steep muddy ditch with out a bridge or culvert.  I attempted to follow, but without his momentum, my van just began to spin.  The harder I revved, the faster the wheels turned and the more the mud flew.  But try as I might, I just got deeper in the mire.

I revved; I tried; I gunned it. But we didn’t go forward.

And I’m a good driver.  I know how to get out of mud.  I know how to cross ditches.  I know how, because not only have I done it many times before, I’ve helped others through the same predicament.

Sometimes people – good people, honest people, visionary people – end up spinning their proverbial tires and getting nowhere.

They are stuck.  The more they try to go forward, the more energy they exert, the more frustrated they become.  They just aren’t moving.  What is supposed to work just isn’t working. The way it’s supposed to be, just doesn’t happen, so they end up caught in mire – not of their own making, but a mire nonetheless.

Here are some ideas of how to get unstuck:

    • Take some time to silence your mind… sometimes thought patterns are whacky when you get frustrated…
    • Reevaluate your approach to the situations you are in...
    • Listen to new ideas in your head and heart that might move you forward...
    • Get a strategic outsider to listen to your dreams… Stuck

Coaching is about moving people forward, not just about getting the wheels spinning.  The coach is the strategic outsider who comes with a new set of eyes and ears – not to tell the “stuck-ee” what to do and not to analyze why they are stuck, but to help them realize a way forward.  The immovable person knows how he got there, he wants a way forward!  And the coach makes it his job to see that he does!

Coaching is not about getting the wheels spinning.  Most anybody can do that.  Coaching is about providing better traction to ideas that the “stuck-ee” has already.   A coach helps the one who is stuck to rethink and move forward.

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