I adore my sweet dog, Bailey.
She is one of my favorite companions.
She prefers to be in the same room that I’m in and is a regular podcast producer and coaching support.
Her very favorite thing in this whole world is to go for a walk.
She does not walk, though.
She does a leisurely tour of the neighborhood by smell.
Oh, a blade of grass! Sniff.
Ooooh, a street light! Sniff.
Ooooooooh, amazing, a pile of sticks ready for bulk waste removal! Sniiiiif.
We do short walks because long walks tire her mature hips.
So it will take us 10 minutes to travel past 10 houses. Sniff.
I, on the other hand, prefer to walk at a lively clip. But this is not the pace with sweet dog Bailey.
One day, I was walking her and musing on life while she sniffed joyfully.
She pulled over to the side of the road in pursuit of a particularly exciting smell.
And I had the thought…
When the leash gets stretched and I pull on it, she resists.
When I loosen the leash, we both relax and she’s more open to persuasion.
It made me think about coaching.
What does it take to change a human’s mind?
When the connection grows taut, tugging another person or even our own habitual reaction is likely to invite resistance.
A good example of this comes up in each coaching session.
Maybe my client needs a moment to follow an idea. If I tug on the conversation to pull them back on track – or at least what I might imagine is on track – I’ll enact their healthy, protective mental resistance.
Same thing happens to me.
Some people can get tugged to and fro without complaint.
And some people resist. Rebel. People prefer to go at their own pace.
When you are working to influence change in yourself or with others, check how tightly you are holding the lead.
Are you pulling where you think things should go?
What happens if you loosen the leash?
Or even…what happens when you stop feeling the need to lead at all?
The walks I take with Bailey are for her. The purpose of those walks are for me to give her access to what she loves best.
As a coach, the purpose is for me to help my client create an amazing relationship with themselves so they can create whatever they want to experience in their life.
I am simply there to offer support.
Think about this analogy the next time you are in a conversation with a relationship partner…or a debate at work…or trying to persuade your kids to do, well, anything.
Are you supporting, keeping the connection loose with room to maneuver?
Or are you holding a tight leash that invites the other person to resist?
Practice choosing a loose connection and see what happens!
P.S. I invite you to fall in love with the “Less Stress, More Fun” podcast. Subscribe today! Each week’s episodes offer smart, fun ideas to reduce stress and boost your sense of playfulness.
P.P.S. Bailey says, “Walks are great and outside smells are the best! Try that, too!”