question-mark  Just as a computer glitch can scramble data, the experience of being human in today’s world can affect your curiosity, distorting it from its original purpose.

For example, many children learn to be more curious about how to please the adults in their lives than about how to express themselves fully. The schools I attended as a child taught me to be really curious about how to ensure I had the Right Answer when the teacher called on me.

As I recall, during high school years, I became quite curious about how to get a certain boy to like me. Later, in the corporate world, my curiosity still slanted toward gaining approval, at this point from higher ups in the food chain.

Curiosity about who I am and what my gifts are….this curiosity was not allowed to surface and flourish until I was well into adulthood.

Based on what I observe in training and mentoring coaches, I am SO not the only one.

Why this is a critical conversation for us as coaches: Unless your curiosity goes beyond survival and comfort, beyond reassurance and the remediation of pain, you are at risk of getting caught in chasing results in your coaching.

Your curiosity and resulting inquiry will be limited. You will put outcomes ahead of what is present for your coachee in the moment and miss opportunities for you and your coachee to learn from the path to those outcomes.

You want your coaching to provide lasting value, don’t you? Then be more curious about what’s alive and true for your coachee than about the shortest line from a to z. Be more curious about how your coachee thinks, processes and learns, how s/he perceives and feels, than about what they can DO.

Be really, really curious about what stirs inside you in response to your coachee’s thoughts and emotions.  Then be curious about how to meet whatever that is inside you with open heart and eyes so you can learn from it and apply that wisdom in your work.

Notice if your curiosity has you wonder, How do I get my coachee to xxxx, or How do I move him/her….? These questions are indications your curiosity has, in fact, been corrupted and needs to be debugged. Or at the very least, opened to a wider channel that goes beyond fixing, resolving, ending pain, gaining approval and reassuring you that your work (and by extension, you) has validity.

If this article speaks to you, you’ll likely enjoy the October, 2014, Heart and Soul of Coaching program Truly Transformational Inquiry: Questions That Change Lives for concrete tips and techniques to ensure your curiosity is uncorrupted

Members of the H&S community can find the link to this recording in the post-call email. If you are not yet a member, join us here for this and other programs designed to support your evolution as a coach.

Oh, and did I mention: Fully functioning curiosity will unlock lives and worlds. The more you embody wide open, uncorrupted curiosity, the more likely your coachees will, too.

And that’s what I call a powerful outcome.

In celebration of your questioning heart!