The best part of coaching are those magical moments.

We’re engaged in dialogue, the conversation is flowing and I’ll point out important information based on what the individual is verbalizing.  

So, what exactly is the magical moment?

After I share my thoughts, I ask, “Ok, so what did you hear me say?”

The best thing happens:  they don’t repeat what I said!

This is the magical moment!

I now get to hear what’s fundamentally important to him or her.

POINT #1:  “What did you hear me say?” is the invitation to help you express your personal thoughts from your lens and your own insights.

What I said is mainly irrelevant, to a degree.  Why?  Because the most important person in that moment is you and the most important thoughts in that moment are yours.

“What did you hear me say?” pulls out very valuable insights.  For example, I was asked by a couple to coach them in the way they communicate when in conflict.  Here’s part of the conversation. (I asked permission if I could share it with you.)

KT:  “Disagreements and conflict are normal.  How we respond in those moments will be very different and unique.  Know how you respond and what you’re comfortable with.  Know how the other person prefers to respond and is comfortable with.  And most importantly, not be offended by each other’s style!  This way, you’ll have a better chance of resolve.”

We chatted a bit more and then I asked, “What did you hear me say?”

Here’s what they heard:

HIM:  “To learn to appreciate each other’s opposite parts and yet at the same time realize that we don’t want the other person to be like us because that is not how they’re made and who they are.  At the same time, trying to learn how to temper these extremes.  Being able to purposefully take a step back.  What we’re trying to get to is not to win an argument but be closer through this.  There’s more to it than winning.”

HER:  “Basically we want the opposite styles to be authentic to themselves, even though we don’t like how they respond.  At the same time, if they respond the same way we do, we wouldn’t like it and hate it even more.  I’m emotional and I love his peace.  He is measured and loves my passion.  And when we’re in the midst of conflict, I need to focus on my commitment to resolve this.  That’s what I want, and to say, “When can we resolve this.”  He needs time and gives me calm assurance that it’s going to be ok.”

They both heard similar things but, more importantly, they both heard different things from the same conversation!

I get to listen to two people process our conversation from their own lens and filter (a/k/a the magical moment).

What matters most is the truth that resonated within their character.  They grabbed what was valuable to them and activated it.  They heard what they needed to hear and discarded the waste.

When someone is processing their thoughts, their subconscious is communicating at a much deeper level than their words.

POINT #2:  Another important coaching principle is to help the individual define what they mean.

For example, if you say, “I was worried about his response and I’m wondering what to do about it.”, my desire is to never assume I know what you mean.  I become curious and begin to ask questions, such as:  What do you mean by worried?  Why do you feel you have “to do” something? What exactly is “it”?

One simple sentence turns into an extraordinary conversation!

By asking for more clarity on a specific word, I have a  better picture and understanding of what is going on inside you. This helps me engage with your lens in a much more meaningful way. 

The job of a coach is to explore the conversation and the thought process.  It’s not beneficial to be quick to translate what you’re saying.  I don’t want to interpret your thoughts from my own personal lens.  Who cares what my lens is!

Your lens belongs to you.  My job is to draw out the greatest attributes and brilliance of your mind and your emotions and your insights.  My lens has nothing to do with it.  My lens is irrelevant to your success.  It can, at most, be a guide for you, but really, nothing more.  

There are moments where I will share my story and how I came to my conclusions.  But they may not be the right conclusions for you.  When I do share a personal story, I immediately ask “What did you hear me say?”  What you will hear is your lens and your interpretation, this ensures the focus stays on you.  

You are the most important part of the conversation.

This is why I love coaching!


Karen Thrall

Business Coach-Consultant | Human Catalyst