Inviting the whimsical into our coaching relationships
I enjoyed poetry at school but experienced shame as I never had the ‘right’ interpretation according to my teachers. I got through high school learning poems by rote, having them in my head and never feeling them in my heart.
Some years ago, I completed a year long leadership program where poetry was used as a vehicle to express to what was bubbling in the heart. That blew open my world and I fell in love with the form. Since then, I’ve collected poems like little pebbles and I read and re-read these poems whenever I need encouragement, nourishment or inspiration.
There are a few lines from Dead Poet’s Society (Robin Williams) that sum it up for me:
“We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”
Poems can articulate with such beauty and simplicity what I want to say. I want to offer the possibility that poetry can be a tool you use in coaching your front of room roles in training and team coaching.
If you’ve not done this before, it may feel edgy to invite poems into our spaces. Many of us take a stand for inviting the whole person into the coaching relationship, and what better way than to connect our clients to ‘what we stay alive for’. The first step is to find a handful of poems that speak to you. Read, and re-read them. Read them out loud. Allow them to land in your body. Then trust yourself to bring them into the coaching work when you feel the call to do so. Below, I’ve included a poem that could become part of your collection.
Out Beyond Ideas
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.
~ Rumi translated by Coleman Barks
From Essential Rumi