I played Scrabble with the Internet Scrabble Club (ISC) several years ago. This is a free website that facilitates the opportunity for people to compete in fast-paced, timed games of Scrabble with folks from all over the world. Once registered on the website, individuals seek games by sending a match request that includes the following: timeframe, type of challenge, and the minimum and maximum rating of a player.
I typically played games lasting from 5-20 minutes in a variety of challenges and levels of ratings. Unfortunately, I haven’t played for the past few years because of too many competing priorities and I miss playing. I’ve loved the game of Scrabble for as long as I remember! I have trouble getting people to play the actual board game with me because I am very competitive when I play. I study word lists and memorize two and three letter words, as they are crucial for creating a word when you get a terrible rack of letters.
It’s not just the memorization of words that helps me win the game; it’s my mindset during the game. Did I mention I am competitive when playing Scrabble? In Scrabble games, I sit in a place of curiosity and in silence. I sit in curiosity because I am anticipating my opponent’s next move, and silence because my competitive nature does not have time for small talk.
After becoming a certified coach, I realized I had been practicing two important skills for a successful coaching relationship during all of those games when I was playing Scrabble:
Sitting in a place of curiosity
Sitting in a place of silence
Last week, I received a call from a colleague who was giving some thought to a new business model and he wanted to chat a bit to gain clarity around his “next move.” He wanted me to provide him with coaching, so I sat in a place of curiosity and a place of silence and after listening to him talk for a few minutes I learned more about the reason he wanted my coaching. He needed to find clarity in a world of swirling ideas in his head regarding a new business model, but more importantly, he needed to feel supported, heard, and be provided with a different way to look at things as he struggled to focus and organize his ideas.
Of course a coaching relationship is slightly different than a Scrabble game and I had to forget my competitive nature during this conversation. Instead, I focused on asking my colleague open-ended questions in order to
Encourage him to consider a different perspective
Provide a safe place for him to brainstorm ideas and his possible options and resulting actions
Acknowledge him for what he is capable of creating
Throughout our conversation, I asked open-ended questions, which are generally considered to be more effective in generating self-awareness, discovering potential obstacles, and creating solutions rather than closed-ended questions which require a yes or no response.
What do you do when you are thinking about your “next move” in any aspect of your life?
Are you considering the growth in your current career? Are you considering changing careers? Are you looking to grow your personal and professional relationships? Are you thinking of changing your business model? These questions will help you plan your next move.
What’s going on right now?
What is the big picture?
In the big picture, how important is this?
What are your options?
Are there other things to consider?
What can you do to have a better outcome?
What is useful about this?
What resources are available?
What does the person need from me?
“When you were just getting in the groove, now you're faced with something new. I won't waste another day, with all these things swimmin' in my brain. There's no giving up now.” ---Lyrics from the song, “No Giving Up” by Crossfade.
I wish you days of gratitude, curiosity and compassion. Let me know how I can help you.