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The Answer

Posted by Cheryl Robinson, ACC | October 20, 2021 | Comments (0)

I learned to dream by reading fairy tales. I cannot remember the exact tale, the hero, nor the villain, but I do recall understanding that darkness, uncertainty, and a seemingly insurmountable task would vanish with the insight, curiosity or action discovered in the answer. Sometimes the answer was delivered by the fairy godmother, the handsome prince, or the ugly toad. No matter the delivery, the answer brought relief and enabled the tale to continue. 

My tale began with parents and teachers, who I could always rely on for answers about what to do and how to behave. The answers were simple. Be kind, honest and truthful, and always treat others as you would like to be treated. 

It was not long before I turned to my peers for answers. My friends knew how to treat each other, how to dress and the places to be seen. 

Next it was my workplace that provided my answers. How to behave, appropriate work attire and how much time was to be allocated to each task on any given day. 

Motherhood necessitated answers of my own. Remember to politely say “thank you”, share your toys and eat your vegetables. 

My sons grew, and so did their ability to answer their own questions. I smile as I hear them delivering answers to inform the next generation of children and students on how to behave, how to treat each other and to remember to politely say “thank you.” 

I gained more answers from that next generation as I embraced my first grandchild and embarked on university study. Here my quest for answers intensified. I turned to books, articles and professors of psychology, sociology, anthropology and business to shape the answers most relevant to the needs of those in today’s world. 

I cannot remember the exact moment I realized that the needs of those in today’s world could not be met by answers alone. Perhaps it was as I trained as a coach. Perhaps it was as I sought mentoring for my Associate Certified Coach (ACC) credential from ICF or as I studied for my coach knowledge assessment (CKA). No matter the delivery, it was as I began to evaluate, understand and comprehend the true essence of the  ICF Code of Ethics and Core Competencies that I began to reflect, grow and assimilate my answers as a coach. It was as I learnt to embrace stillness, curiosity and actively listening that I began to reconstruct my answers. 

I cannot remember the exact moment that I realized that a reconstructed answer has, at its core, a powerful question. Perhaps it was when I noticed a deeper and more thoughtful answer emerging as a result of a thoughtful question. Or perhaps it was when I perceived that my answers and questions were beginning to morph, evolve, interact with each other, and work together. No matter the delivery, I understood that powerful questions synergize with powerful answers so that together they bloom and mature to tell the tale and enable the dream to surface. 

I do not remember the exact moment when I realized that it is questions that have enabled my dream to surface. Now as a newly ICF-credentialed coach, I have re-committed to an ongoing journey of partnering with clients to explore how to maximize their personal and professional potential. This means that I commit to seeking questions that empower them to embark on their own journey of learning and discovery as they seek answers. Together we learn, dream, embrace curiosity and remain open-hearted.  

You see, we do not need to remember the exact tale, the hero, nor the villain. We can evoke insight, curiosity, or action, so that darkness and uncertainty and a seemingly insurmountable task can vanish with the discovery of an answer. It does not matter whether the answer is delivered by the fairy godmother, the handsome prince or the ugly toad. No matter the delivery, the answer brings relief and enables the tale to continue.  

As my tale continues and I go about my day coaching and partnering with my clients, my work is very satisfying and fulfilling -in fact, it does not feel like work at all. I have finally found the answer that enables us all to live the life of our dreams. The answer is the question.

Headshot of Coaching World contributor Cheryl Robinson.

Cheryl Robinson, ACC

Cheryl Robinson, ACC has more than 30 years of workplace experience, encompassing employment, contracting, consulting and business ownership. This first-hand involvement ignited her quest to learn more about how to amplify personal and professional potential. Cheryl studied Psychology, Organizational Studies and Employment Relations at University and is an ICF-credentialed coach (ACC).   Cheryl invites you to connect with her on LinkedIn and partner with her to expand your potential and become committed, confident, collaborative and coachable in this living laboratory we call life.

The views and opinions expressed in guest posts featured on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of the International Coach Federation (ICF). The publication of a guest post on the ICF Blog does not equate to an ICF endorsement or guarantee of the products or services provided by the author.

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