Possibility is a Paradigm-Shifting Proposition
“I dwell in Possibility—
A fairer House than Prose—
More numerous of Windows—
Superior—for Doors” ~ Emily Dickinson
Welcome to the new office of the Possibility Agents located at 1226 ½ State St. in Santa Barbara. It is fun to share this office with another certified coach, Ingrid Sarrat.
In my professional career as a social worker, I have been committed to being an agent of change. As a leadership coach, I have elevated that commitment to being an agent of possibility. For me, this is an energizing shift. While both perspectives are about helping organizations and individuals be the best that they can be, the prospect of change is scary. Possibility, on the other hand is exciting.
Possibility, of course, is not a new invention. It has always been lurking in the shadows of change. The only difference is that now I have chosen to shine a light on it, in my work as a Certified Personal and Executive Coach.
So, how do you unearth possibility out of the bedrock of change? In the book, The Art of Possibility the Zanders describe “stepping into a universe of possibility.” We all are immersed in the contexts of our lives. It is hard to see beyond the boundaries created by those contexts. As coaches we help you to visualize what lies outside those bounds.
Sometimes this process involves shifting from what is natural, acting in survival mode—to a life-creating mode. When we make that shift, we realize that there actually is no risk, even though it feels fraught with danger. In fact, we only stand to gain when we make that shift, because we are creating new possibilities.
One of my executive coaching clients is in the midst of a challenging organizational change. I am helping this client to understand the culture of his organization and his place in it. He definitely is in survival mode. It is indeed an alarming world that he inhabits. I have suggested to him that he is in a foxhole—dark and scary with confining boundaries. His response to being in his metaphorical foxhole is that he is hyper vigilant and suspicious to the point of being almost paranoid. He lacks trust and his self-confidence has been compromised by the tension in his organizational world.
Faced with a perceived slight from his boss, he was “insulted and angry”—understandably so. We talked about it for a while and it was clear that there was little to be done about it between now and Monday when he planned to talk to his boss. I was concerned that by the time he walked into his boss’s office, after stewing about the situation all weekend, he would more than likely be red-hot. The chances of the conversation going well seemed unlikely.
I asked, “How else could you interpret what is going on?” We discussed how busy his boss was and considered that his boss may have been klutzy in his effort to get a lot done in the fast pace that is the organization’s current reality, but perhaps his boss had not actually intended to insult him. He agreed that this could be the case.
I asked, “What would it be like for you to give your boss the benefit of the doubt?” He agreed that it felt a lot better and he acknowledged that he had nothing to lose. In fact, he realized that he had a lot to gain: the conversation that he planned to have on Monday had some chance of creating a better relationship between him and his boss if he took that perspective. If he didn’t, he probably would end up having an even more difficult relationship with his boss than he has now.
In an instant, he shifted from survival mode to life-giving mode. Suddenly the situation was fraught with possibility.
If you would like a complimentary session to discuss how coaching might help you to shift to possibility mode you can schedule a session at the website of Dr. Lynn K. Jones.
p.s. I always am interested in what you think about these discussions. Please post your thoughts on the blog…your constructive criticism and support is appreciated!
Dr. Lynn K. Jones, Certified Personal and Executive Coach
Your Mojo Maven