Coaching and art-making




Provocative conversation.

Hanging in.

Getting it done.

These are essential elements of coaching. And of transformation, story, creativity, innovation, breakthrough.

Coaching happens in a variety of ways. Traditionally, a coach and an individual or team come together in real time (face to face or by phone or digital space). To focus, make a path, get clarity, challenge perspectives, persevere, make something happen.

Coaching also gets done in less formal ways.

Wisdom-packed communities and dedicated tribes may achieve focus, direction, clarity, perspective, stickiness and completion together or in support of a leader or individual members.

Motivated individuals sometimes develop an active relationship with a book or a blog or a forum that provides the inspiration, structure, or process they needed in order to get from focus to final celebration.

Particularly introspective or insightful people may learn to coach themselves, often after or alongside a coaching experience with a professional coach or coach-like mentor.

I coach creative people: executives, change leaders and  emerging leaders, as well as groups and individuals who are art-makers (whether or not any of these people work in a traditionally creative field or form, or even call themselves creative).

Art-makers create new ideas, attitudes, relationships, solutions, teams, theories, supports, strategies, processes and products that go into the world to make it just a little bit–or sometimes a lot–better.

Art is something useful and pleasing that didn’t exist, or at least not quite in that way, before. Art is inspired and inspiring, whether for a few or for billions, for a brief time or an era. Art is necessary. Art is human. Art is what we all do at our best.  Art makes us feel more like who we really are.

The people I work with have some art to do, whether that is in their own lives, their influence in the world, or the products they contribute. All of them itch for a change, either personal, organizational, communal, or global.

If you have laser-like focus and a vigorously-pursued path to a clear, sharp vision, you have done some fine work already.

If you also have the  stimulus and feedback required for fresh insights, creative re-directions, and energy re-charges that will carry you to the happy conclusion of your project or dream, you probably probably have found or created a coaching environment (whether or not you call it that) with a great fit for your work style and your goal.

What is coaching?

It’s easier to say what it is not. It is not telling you what you should do or how you should do it. It is not fixing you or your project. It is not making you do this thing, or telling you why you should, or doing it for you. It is not finding out what is wrong with you or with anyone else around you.

Coaching is a collaborative conversation, a joint project and a relationship of equals. The coach, whether the professional coach in a formal coaching engagement or another voice that you engage with in one of the informal modes of coaching, is a facilitator who knows how to elicit greater focus and clarity and insight and to draw out from you options, paths, motivations, and new ways of thinking.

The coach sticks with you until you are done and putting your creation into the world, whether that is a new career or a new way of approaching your work, a new piece of aesthetic art or a new solution to the problems in your field, a new culture in your team or a new ability to build bridges between teams.