I've been studying intimacy lately in preparation for launching my Life Partner Coaching Program. Defined as "a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group." in Dictionary.com. It's a word we most often associate with our life partner, our soulmate. "Intimacy" often conjures up images of physical intimacy.
Intimacy is not usually a word we apply to our workplaces. I think though that we've been robbed when we limit our thinking about intimacy to thinking about lovers.
What if we had the skills to create truly close, caring, very accepting and genuinely loving relationships with co-workers? What's the downside? Some would say that it's harder to give difficult feedback to people we are friends with. Hmm. I know I'd rather have feedback from someone I know cares about me, appreciates who I am and believes in my potential.
When we speak of someone having an intimate knowledge of something we mean that they are very familiar with that subject. They understand the values associated with it, the nuances surrounding the subject, the history and the significance.
What possibilities would open up in our businesses if we understood, more deeply, the values, the passions, the dreams, the fears and the hopes of our colleagues? What if we had the skills to listen at a whole new level? What if we learned to notice and not judge behaviors in our co-workers? If, instead of trying to fix and change we did more accepting and believing in? If we had the tools to more intimately know our colleagues dreams, passions, barriers, and fears how could we support them more effectively?
At the core of coaching is a belief in the strengths, wisdom and resilience in the human race. The opportunity to be coached or learn how to coach both allow us to see hear and understand in deeper ways. This safe place of acceptance, a kind of intimacy, is a springboard for creativity, for thinking bigger and for bringing down barriers.
Coaching cultures, created in organizations that equip their people to have coaching conversations, become safer, happier and more productive environments.
"The practice of coaching as a tool for work force and leadership development has gained popularity in recent years. In theory, coaching asks supervisors to spend more time giving constructive, individualized feedback on performance..." http://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/the-benefits-of-a-coaching-culture/
The International Coach Federation, in collaboration with the Human Capital Institute published findings in 2014 on successful coaching culture. Reported key components were collected from over 500 professionals. http://coachfederation.org/coachingculture
I believe that intimacy - the enjoyment of a close, personal, affectionate and familiar relationship with another or a group - can and does transform our workplaces into happier, more sustainable and more productive places.
What is your next step in creating a better coaching culture in your organization?