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June 20, 2003

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK
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"I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief."
-- Gerry Spence
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ASSUME LESS, INQUIRE MORE 
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I love the process of coaching, because it often leads me to discover a new way of seeing.  Part of what I do is to "re-frame" a situation, and sometimes, in that happy moment of trying to help someone shift their viewpoint in order to discover new solutions, I gain insight as well.  Today I came upon another "pearl of wisdom," thanks to a couple of my wonderful clients.  At first, I thought it was about how we communicate.  Now, I realize it applies to so much more. 

We all have the unconscious habit of making assumptions -- about people, situations, ourselves, practically everything!  We believe that someone dislikes us, or is lazy, or won't help us, or doesn't care.  We expect that we'll receive poor service, or that the new boss will be closed to our ideas.  We "know" that we don't do well at parties, or that we'll never be able to give a speech or learn to swim.  There are two sides to this coin.  Sometimes our auto pilot is set on idealization. We assume that someone is honorable, even when the evidence proves otherwise.  We don't ask the tough and uncomfortable questions before we enter into a business deal or relationship, believing that "everything will work out for the best."  We allow others to take advantage of us because we feel guilty or sorry for them and believe we are obligated to help. 

What would happen if we assumed less and inquired more?  How would our behavior, mood, outlook, attitude, actions, decisions and relationships be effected if we invoked curiosity instead of expectation? 

By Nancy Gerber, Professional Certified Coach
President of SteppingStones
http://www.sstones.com
Copyright 2003 by Nancy Birnbaum-Gerber
All rights reserved.  Used with permission.
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COACHING CALL TO ACTION
ASSUME LESS, INQUIRE MORE
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Consider a challenging situation that is currently causing you concern.
 

1.     What automatic expectations -- either gloomy or
        glamorous -- are coloring your view?  Try to shift from
        assumption to inquiry.
 

2.     What do you need to check out? 

3.     What facts are important to learn? 

4.     What happens when you become neutral and curious?

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