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October 2012

Future Moments

"The trouble with the future is that is usually arrives before we're ready for it.”

… Arnold Glasgow

Here is a simple question for you. What is the future?

I am not asking you to answer this question in terms of your future. Rather I am asking you to generically define the meaning of the word "future". Many of you will not have even considered this question before. After all, the future is simply the future. Some of you may hold a definition of the future as the time that lies before us, and this is a valid distinction of the future. Yet in a very fundamental way, holding such a general belief about the future is limiting.

Why is this? Well, consider a general view of the future in terms of change. To create a change within myself, I have to declare that I want to break an old habit and create a new one. For example, I could say that I want to change my eating patterns. A general view of the future leaves the future largely undefined. This means the future is like a fog into which we constantly step. As such, at this moment, I may want to change my eating pattern and, depending on the strength of this declaration, I may well do so for a period of time as I move through this fog. However, the way I am supporting this change in habit is somewhat weak and likely to dissipate over time. Hence the failure of most New Year resolutions! It is hard to keep the momentum of change going.

Now consider a different definition of the future. As you read this, you exist in a moment in time. Indeed, in a practical sense, we could look at time as a continuous series of moments. Using this idea, the future can be seen as a series of "future moments". The importance of this idea lies in the value of "distinctions". Human beings use distinctions to separate one thing from another and to understand why they are separate and how they interact. For example, I know that a car has an engine. I can open the bonnet of the car and point to the engine. However, that is as far as it goes for me. I am not able to distinguish the different parts of the engine and how they work together. As a result, I am not able to repair a car engine when it stops working. I know it is not working but do not have the capacity to repair it.

So it is with the future. If we see the future as simply time to come, we treat it as such. On the hand, if we distinguish the future as a series of "future moments" then this opens up new possibilities about how we deal with it. As a result, we can ask different and more powerful questions.

How can I anticipate how I will act in a future moment? What strategies can I apply in that moment? How will I have the awareness in that moment to not fall into my old pattern and make a different choice to create a new pattern?

This idea of the future goes beyond myself. If I am leading others, I can ask similar questions in relation to those I lead. How would I like people to act in future moments? What can I do to create awareness for them in those moments? And so on.

Our ontological approach to coaching embraces these ideas. Lasting change does not simply happen because we learn something new (get a new distinction) or decide that we will change. It involves the creation of new patterns at a neurological level. To do that requires that we take different action, not once, but multiple times until new neural pathways are created. By thinking of the future in terms of "future moments", we can put structure in place to help us take that different action repeatedly and create the habits we want in life.

If you would like to find out more, please write to us. We would love to hear from you.

Pause for Possibility

"We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future."

… Frederick Douglass (1817 - 1895) US lecturer and author

Given our topic this month, we would like to invite you to think about your future and how well you set up future moments.

If you would like to read more on structures to create awareness, you can read our article on this very subject by clicking here.

If you are on FaceBook you might like to check out the Pause for Possibilities Project by clicking here.

Insights from a Master Coach - Jacqui Chaplin

Jacqui is an Accredited Master Coach with ANZI Coaching. As part of their webinar series, "Insights from a Master Coach", Jacqui was interviewed by Megan Leeds-Williams in April 2012 about her work and her thoughts on the world of coaching. If you want to listen to Jacqui's interview you will find it below.

If you are a coach or an aspiring coach, we encourage you to go to the ANZI Coaching web site and find out more about the value of belonging to ANZI Coaching.

Webinar - The Coaching Leader

How to lead engagement, accountability and productivity through coaching.

Jacqui and our American colleague, Denver Hudson, will be presenting a webinar, "The Coaching Leader", at the HR.com virtual conference, Developing Organizational Leadership Capabilities, to be held in late January.

This webinar will highlight the importance of "The Leadership Cycle", look at the parallels between leading and coaching and include some practical coaching applications that can be readily applied to leadership.

More on this in our next edition.

The Monthly Diversion

This month, let us play on words...

What's Irish and stays out all night? Patio Furniture.

Where do you find chili beans? At the North Pole.

When a clock is still hungry, it goes back four seconds.

She broke into song when she couldn't find the key.

When a marathon runner had ill fitting shoes, he suffers the agony of defeat.

How do you define a will? It's a Dead Giveaway.

Your debt will stay with you if you can't budge it.

She had a boyfriend with a wooden leg, but broke it off.

What do you call a train loaded with toffee? A chew chew train.

How do chickens dance? Chick to chick.

What kind of tree do fingers grow on? A palm tree.

What did the Mexican fireman name his twin sons? Hose A and Hose B.


"What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning."

… Werner Karl Heisenberg (1901-1976) German physicist


Talking About Coach Training - The Coaching Leader

ANZIOur coach training program is not just for people wanting to become a professional coach. Currently, there is a very strong focus on leaders as coaches and this program is ideal for anyone who wants to move beyond the surface approach of attending a training session or two and dive into the depths to develop a highly constructive leadership style.

There are three obvious challenges for leaders in today's organisation:

Engagement, Accountability and Productivity.

A constructive leadership style leads to the creation and maintenance of willing followers. To do so, requires the application of the "Leadership Cycle". Based on Talking About's effective conversations model, the cycle is focused on creating engagement and generating and managing commitments to ensure accountability. This leads to greater productivity and achievement demonstrating the value of the shared meaning and thereby closing the loop. Without this closure, leaders may be able to initially create willingness in their followers but struggle to maintain it. There are many parallels between coaching and leadership. LeadershipCycleEffective coaching requires high levels of trust, so does effective leadership. Effective coaching involves a good understanding of the human condition, so does effective leadership. Effective coaching involves a high level of expertise in communicating with others, so does leadership. The key difference between good leadership and good coaching lies in whose agenda is the most important. For a coach, it is their client's agenda. For leaders, it is their own agenda balanced to some degree with that of their followers. If you are someone who is attracted to the idea of leading others through the use of coaching techniques, then we can tailor the program to suit those needs. If you wish to undertake our Professional Coach Program with a view to becoming a "Coaching Leader", in addition to learning the ontological coaching skills and having the opportunity to gain a Professional Certification through ANZI Coaching, you will also learn how to be a constructive leader through:

  1. An understanding of the Human Synergistics circumplex and how this relates to leadership;
  2. A deeper understanding of how create authority through trust and its role in influencing others;
  3. The differences between leading and managing people; and
  4. An understanding of the "Leadership Cycle" and how your patterns of being and conversation can support and nourish this cycle.

Finally, one of the great benefits of undertaking our program is that, in addition to all the learning, you get your own coach for the period of your enrollment in the program. Added together, we believe that this program can be the ideal way to develop you as a "coaching leader".

We are very proud of our program and the quality of the graduates we produce. So if you are interested in finding out more then we invite you to visit our web site or write to us at info@talkingabout.com.au.

Want to Read More?

Since the formation of Talking About in 2005, we have published our e-zine every month. Before that, Chris wrote regular newsletters and e-zines with Gaia Consulting dating back to 1995. If you would like to explore more of Chris' ideas then you can access our e-zine archive and view any newsletter written since 2005 by clicking here or to look at all the articles Chris has written over the years simply click here.

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