As a life coach, I know that one of the most important things in our work is the ability to listen and listen well. It is referred to as “active” listening, where you want to catch every word and hear exactly what is being said because it is essential to your work and the client you are serving. On National Indigenous Day, I couldn’t help but think about what could be different if only we listen.
If listening skills are employed from the beginning, then the nuance of the Indigenous people’s stories can teach us so much more about who they are and how they show up in this world. What I “hear” is, that the Indigenous peoples have the ability to step into a Coach Position in almost anything they take on. Within their unique culture, amidst all its diversity and resilience, they replicate several of the tools used by a master coach.
Indigenous peoples skill for patience is something that has been handed down over years of big picture thinking when it comes to things like the environment and its management for future generations to be able to care for and sustain their children. They recognize the power of selection and taking only what is needed for life to continue.
Self-questioning that promotes intrigue and self-reflection mirrors the solution focused approach and solution problem solving. Indigenous peoples tend not to tell, but to ask what is next, how can this be different, not unlike a Coach helping a client become empowered to produce positive outcomes from inside of themselves. They have always demonstrated a curiosity, which gives them a creative edge that looks forward in a joyful way.
While most of us rush through our lives looking “busy” and being heard loudly, we think that translates into self fulfillment and productivity, our Indigenous neighbours are completely comfortable in the quiet. Knowing when to be “silent” is another tool required to be an amazing Coach. When you allow yourself to think or reflect as opposed to having to react, a flood of ideas can be realized. We may feel like we are afforded little time to be silent, yet if we were to incorporate this as a habit then we would soon learn that being with ones self in silence has a therapeutic effect and can increase healing and resolution through reflection.
One of the biggest triumphs that I honor with Indigenous peoples is their dealing with fear through incredible bravery. Coaches, especially us who work in the Trauma and healing of trauma, know that the one thing that is needed to survive and create new ways of moving through life is the ability to face fear and change without recoil. The indigenous people have demonstrated this over decades. They have faced the unknown, their stories are filled with bravery and resilience. They have risen up time after time and survived all that has been dealt to them. With the awareness that National Indigenous Day brings, my hope is that this time we listen, and listen deeply to support our fellow humans in their healing, identity and presence.