Coaching at the edge
Wright, N. (2020), 'Radical - Coaching at the Edge', Coaching and Life, 23 May.
‘Sanity is the downfall of man.’ (Pete Claxton)
We are standing in a queue outside of a shop. I look around and see her beside me, looking up and pulling funny, comical faces, yet without saying a word. ‘’Erm…what are you doing?”, I ask, quizzically. She points to a security camera ahead of us, mounted high up on the wall. “Imagine how boring it is for the person who sits and watches the queue all day. I’m cheering them up!” It makes me laugh too. And yet there’s a serious side to this. This amazing woman continually looks outward, with empathy, and takes every opportunity to bring love, light and life into other people’s worlds.
I interviewed her recently for an international leadership network. She’s a grass roots activist in the Philippines, a radical change agent, a passionate follower of Jesus, who lives and works among the poorest people and communities. Her t-shirt is emblazoned with the playful, provocative statement: ‘Well-behaved women rarely make history.’ It is so fitting. By contrast, I’m sometimes too sensible, too cautiously professional, too caught up in my own internal world of thoughts, feelings and ideas. By the time I’ve worked out a concept-principle-approach…she’s already been there – and done it.
“If you want to see radical change”, she says, “You have to be willing to be radical too.” She speaks with a smile and yet with fiery determination in her eyes. Something about that look, those words, the actions they imply, inspires and scares me. Radical, in her ethic, calls for intense commitment, exceptional humility and courage, great risks, willingness to self-sacrifice: and all that for people who are often strangers. As a coach and consultant, I ask myself: Am I willing to put everything on the line? Am I willing to do whatever it takes? Am I willing to count the cost, and pay it?
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