I hit a bump in the road last week, while traveling on my personal Connected Coaching journey. It was actually a bit more than a bump… Maybe I took a wrong turn somewhere and got a lost for a little while. Ok, let’s be honest here. I think I may have skidded off the road entirely, ended up in a ditch, and needed someone to pull me out! Regardless, thanks to an amazing community of leaders and learners, I think I’ve found my way back. :)
I was really upset when I ended up in that ditch. I felt like I was the only one there, while everyone else was cruising merrily down the Connected Coaching highway. I was sure I was the only one who didn’t “get it.” I wanted to shut down. I started thinking that maybe Connected Coaching wasn’t for me. Holy cow – Is this similar to what my students feel like when they face struggles in their learning??? It was amazing how quickly my confidence was shaken. I was much like the students I teach – so wired for grades, performance, and success that “failure” of any kind became unacceptable and debilitating.
I lost sight of an important fact: In any learning experience, some bumps, wrong turns, and yes, even ditches can and will happen.
Time for some reflection… But instead of asking, “What went wrong?” I’ve chosen to don some “rose-colored glasses” and take an Appreciative Inquiry approach. This is new for me, and is precisely why I ended up in the Appreciative Inquiry Ditch!! In fact, I did some research on seeing the world through rose-colored glasses, and found some interesting benefits…
So what went RIGHT, you ask? What an outstanding Appreciative Inquiry question! Here are the great things that happen when you end up in a ditch:
- You figure out how you got there. Once you’ve assessed the immediate damage, you look back and try to figure out what happened. You thought you were cruising along just fine, and didn’t realize there was something important you needed to know to stay on track.
- You cry out for help. I did this, in the form of a post on our Connected Coaches Ning page. I placed a “911” call to my learning community, and sure enough, someone came to my rescue with some resources to help.
- You find courage, support, and validation from your community. In addition to the resources I received, I also heard from folks who said they had felt the same way. I wasn’t alone! Some others held me up, and encouraged me, or thanked me for putting my thoughts out there.
- You might help others out of their ditches. Hence this post… If nothing else, I want you to know that once you get pulled out of that ditch, you’re better for it. You’re stronger, smarter, and better prepared for the road ahead.
More than ever, I want to strengthen my ability to use Appreciate Inquiry, whether with the teams I coach, or the students I teach. We can’t afford to focus on or wallow in our failures. Negativity is debilitating. Appreciating the positive aspects of our “ditch experiences” will help us to grow and use our strengths to move forward with confidence down the learning highway.