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Seeking Ethical Maturity Through Curiosity And Continuous Learning

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There are different ways a coach can support their continued learning and development of ethical maturity.  Some of these include reflection and reflexivity through solo written work, coach supervision (please see ICF definition below) or in conversation with others, (Lordanou et al 2017).  They describe one approach, which could be used with any of the above approaches, as a continuum that we move along as we begin to reflect on past actions, building understanding through enhanced self awareness.  As we become more self aware, we create a deeper understand of and connection to our values system so we are able to begin to challenge our assumptions, attitudes, prejudices and habits/skills.  This is the place where we begin to explore shifting from reflection to a deeper place of reflexivity, which creates a deeper level of understanding where we examine what transpired and also the possible underlying factors that contributed to the perceived interaction and outcome.  This exploration helps us discover new ways of being where we learn at a deeper level and develop ethical maturity.

I believe the easiest way for us to immerse ourselves in this self discovery is through the use of curiosity, a skill we all have as young children that for many of us disappears as we mature.  I propose we re-introduce ourselves to curiosity and use it to further our learning as we develop a reflective practice and that through a more consistent use of curiosity we can deepen our learning and bring reflexivity into our lives so we can thrive and be our best.

Here are 7 strategies that help us bring curiosity into our lives:

  1. Be present: Most coaches understand the concept of being present and focus on ensuring they are present in all coaching conversations.  This also applies to our reflective practice where we stay in the moment with heightened awareness of what has transpired, what we want to reflect upon.
  2. Absorb: Listen to ourselves with a mind that is focused on what we are saying, tone of voice we use, without letting our mind wander.  No multi-tasking allowed!
  3. Be Open: As thoughts come into our head, be open to them, continuing to explore what could be behind them.  As we stay open to what we are thinking, we are able to begin to understand at a deeper level so we can challenge assumptions etc, creating a reflexive practice.
  4. Stay focused: It can be challenging to stay focused on what comes up for us, instead drifting off in various directions that cause us to avoid the very thoughts that support our learning and deepen our understanding.
  5. Be Non-judging: It is so easy to judge our thoughts and thereby judge ourselves.  This does not serve us or support our learning.  Creating awareness around our self talk and judging of ourselves helps us change the conversation.  Become curious around this awareness helps us draw attention to our judging, blaming and shaming negative thoughts about ourselves, thereby changing the conversation to one that is more open and curious, filled with possibility and learning.  Showing kindness towards ourselves and forgiveness about things said or actions taken supports our learning and continued growth.
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