This week we are exploring the concept of self-coaching and then teaching others to self-coach themselves – ideas I’ve been exploring with my coach, Dr. Daniel Friedland.  At the same time I am sharing these ideas with you, I am also working on putting these ideas into action myself.  We are on this journey together.

So far this week, we’ve examined the power of: (1) asking questions and (2) starting with purpose.  

Today, we add a third power: trusting in the power of emergence.  

Which is slightly different than our standard go-to: self-reliance.  You know: when the going gets tough, the tough get going!  What if instead of muscling our way through, as coaches self-coaching ourselves, we focused on asking ourselves a question?  

What outcomes matter most and why?

What’s been most successful in the past?

What are our current strengths?

What is our vision for success?

Or even: What is the best question I could ask right now?    

Asking powerful questions opens up inspired thinking, unleashes incredible energy and creates new possibilities.  

In Reinventing Organizations, Frederic Laloux, shares two metaphors for how organizations operate.  

First, the organization as a machine.  Leaders and consultants design strategies which are implemented precisely according to the plan.  The goal is to optimize the parts so the machine will run more efficiently.  We humans are resources to be deployed.  The organization hums with energy and motion, but for some may feel soulless and dehumanizing.  Also, while this type of organization works well when conditions are stable, it does not adapt easily because there is distance between the decision makers and where business is happening on the front lines.   

The second metaphor is seeing the organization as a living, breathing system or organism.  It evolves and changes as conditions evolve and change.  By asking powerful questions about what matters most, leaders inspire growth and unlock potential and capacity.  There is dynamic connectivity throughout the organization.  Instead of incremental change, quantum change is now possible.  

Which speaks to the power of asking questions, starting with purpose, and trusting in emergent thinking.


Reflection:  Do I view my organization as a machine to be optimized or as a living, breathing organism?  

Action:  Have a conversation today with a colleague about an envisioned future for our organization.

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