You can lead a horse… wait, where’s the water?

“You can lead a horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink”, as they say since the year 1175.

But in order to lead one to the water, you have to know where the water is! And as a coach I often don’t.

And even if I think I do, I work hard to keep that piece of knowing out of my awareness. I do this in order to be able to help my client learn.

“Knowing is the opposite of learning”, as another saying goes.

So I really think it’s our job as coaches to help someone figure out where “their water” is, even if we can see a lake literally just there right in front of them.

I might get curious as to what they see when they look around. And if they can’t see what I see, I might get even more curious as to what’s happening there (for both of us). Is that particular water not relevant to them? Does it not qualify as water? Is it the wrong kind of water? Might they have water-deficient vision of some sort? Perhaps they never thought to stop and look around? They didn’t realise they were thirsty. Or it may be my particular perspective that allows me to see something they can’t. Have they possibly not got a concept for what water is

Whatever the reason, if I were to just tell them about the water that I see, I take away a LOT of valuable learning. And chances are it’s a distraction to where they need to be.

And it’s also SO much more likely that someone chooses to drink from the water that theychose themselves. Rather than the one recommended to them.

All that said, if you meet someone who’s severely dehydrated and at risk of serious harm, do point that shit out! Working with a coach, or wearing your coaching hat, is not necessarily the best approach depending on what the situation is. That’s why coaching is even more valuable when life’s going okay, compared to when there’s a crisis.

Now did that make you thirsty? 😉


New Content – Notes from the Lab


Yozana, Jan and Ambika have been working with me to create lots of new content this year, and I wanted to give you a few insights into what we want to put out there. Since most of my content is long-form and takes a while to sit with, we figured that it’d be really helpful to draw out some of the Nuggets, and I wonder what you think about this format:

  • Here’s one where Quinn Simpson (Lab #34) invites her client to focus in on a goal for the session by getting out of her head and into her body.
  • Another one where Spiritual Coach Mamoon Yusaf (Lab #30) talks about the importance of being present and the grey area between coaching and therapy.
  • And here’s one where integrative Coach-Therapist Caroline Strawson (Lab #10) is setting up an emotional processing technique.

Over the next weeks we’ll be getting these and lots more like them out on LinkedIn, my Facebook page, and on YouTube, so if you wanted more content, more often, and much shorter than usual, those are great places to keep an eye on.

Grab it before it’s gone!

The public launch of the next evolution of the Coaching Lab is imminent. So this is your last chance to grab (or pass on to a friend or colleague) your 30% discount on memberships. Feel free to pass this on to a friend. You’ve got until Monday, after which the discount code “NUGGETS” will cease to bring the joy.