Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The value of a mirror

Mirror Mirror by Matetex
Mirror Mirror,
a photo by 
Matetex on Flickr. 
We coaches often use the metaphor of a mirror to describe one of the major values of a coaching relationship.  Let's talk about what that might mean to you.

Why do you look in the mirror?  To see what you look like, of course!  Early in the morning it's nice to know that you're still fogging one (still breathing), and fog can be your ally in concealing the early morning bags, 5 o'clock shadows and bed head.

Once you have had the opportunity to spruce yourself up, the mirror affirms the value of your efforts.  You see yourself all duded up, shiny and ready to face the world.  You can magnify the image on some mirrors, to allow you to fine-tune your appearance.

It's said that the mirror doesn't lie.  That could be true unless you are looking into the funhouse variety, one that intentionally distorts the image to give you and your companions a good laugh.

The true value of the mirror is not the image itself, but the opportunity that the reflection opens to you.  The mirror shows you the places that you can improve, and later it shows you the progress that you have made.  The same goes with the coaching relationship.  Your coach can - and will - provide feedback to you and help you notice for yourself actions you have taken, habits in which you engage, and strengths and limitations.

Although the reflection is static, the purpose of the reflection is to inspire action. The important thing here is the connection between your current reflection and your goals.   It's not about who you are and how you look right now, but rather about who you can become and how you have the potential to look given some intention and attention.

Sometimes when you look in a mirror at yourself, your attitudes and preconceptions of yourself create fog around your image - you might not be seeing yourself as others see you.  If your prior experiences and mental baggage are significant enough, you might even see a funhouse image of yourself, and this time it's not for laughs.  You might be underestimating yourself and your potential and thereby unnecessarily limiting your success.

Being involved in a coaching relationship is embarking on a guided process of renewal, discovery, and development.  A coach can help you clear away the fog from your mirror.  A coaching relationship can help you identify the preconceived notions and habits of thought that are distorting your own mirror's image.  And a coach can hold you accountable to the actions that will create the reflection you want to show.


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city said...

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