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BLOG: Parables on Coaching 1

“Today is another gift of life. Make it special”

Angus McLeod.

Days come and go. There are routines which we more-or-less fall into. And, there are things that go adrift and we may beat-ourselves-up about: we take the car to work but have to go back home because we forgot needed papers; we look forward to the weekend, or to a holiday some weeks or months ahead as a mechanism to keep going through the laborious work periods.

It is, as if a mist has come down slowly overnight. In our haze of preparation for activity-based existence, we fail to notice the density of the mist. Its all pervading, masks our vision, muffles the quality of sound, detaches us from the honest projection of ourselves in the world. We are small-scale within the zone of mist. In fact, we put real living off for another day, another context, another time. If we are lucky to survive, we may have that day. Or not. Maybe, after all, ‘it is written’? Could we be so powerless?
When we are able to live more fully in each moment, the mist has gone. The quality of sound and communication are better. We find it easier to show our honesty and to present ourselves as more integrated, aligned and authentic to a wider circle of people; we can make bigger differences to the people we interact with.

I will often see a server in a shop at a terminus, airport or underground station. Typically, they have started their day hours before me and their work, and their existence in these hours is a string of actions. They no longer interact with customers but see them as having ‘needs to be met’. Alongside this are the needs to stock and present the goods appropriately, close the till, mop the mud off the floor. I will often make it my aim to engage and facilitate them to smile. Even lined, grumpy faces lighten and shine and the swing of expression from grumpy to beaming is more pronounced. I leave feeling lighter, fruitful. Their next customer is engaged with them and they also leave with a lighter step. There is a cascading lightness of being from one small act of care.

This process is also the work of the off-duty coach – a coach who is still ‘being the coach’ but also being a fully-engaged human in the rest of their living. We can bring this same outlook into work.

A dear friend of mine was given a desk plaque at work as a gift. It reads, ‘sing like no-one is listening‘. She often sings short song phrases, sometimes in situations where it brings a relief or the words themselves say something funny and revealing about the situation and broaden the context, adding value. She is hugely valued by her CEO and Directors as a safe-pair of hands, able to deal with equanimity, sensitivity and in hard situations that others will not, or cannot, handle adequately. She brings her humanity to work.

About two years ago, I started an initiative called ‘Human at Work’ and have written a number of illustrated blogs to support the philosophy. When we are human, we extend ourselves authentically into the individual and team dynamics of work. We bring qualities that oil both the process and the psychology of productive work. More than this, the ‘Human at Work’ will make sure that outcomes are sustainable for all those that carry out the actual functions of work. The ‘Human at Work’ is both performing AND behaving in ways that are co-creational, healthy and supportive of the talents of others.

Being (more) human does not have to compromise performance. On the contrary, I aver that the ‘Human at Work’ encourages broader productivity. More than likely, when there are Humans at Work, there will be encouraging endorphin-related biochemistry including DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) creating aroused but calm psychological states that are ideal for productive work. This productive arousal is opposed to the alternative, stressed work-environment where hormonal reactions are more likely to come from adrenaline and cortisol, causing irregular heart-beat and increased anxiety. Human interest, caring, laughter and even bursts of song all contribute to work-places that are harder to leave and which are more productive!

Which psychological state will you choose today?

©Angus McLeod, 2013.