If you had asked me while I was living in France whether people are more alike or more different, I would have definitely said more different. It seemed to me that people have such vastly different ways of thinking, acting, eating, drinking, sleeping… that the commonalities are very few.

This perspective could be helpful in coaching because a coach is like a journalist–our job is to be the dummy who asks all the questions to get at the heart of the matter. So having a lovingly distant and healthy curiosity about another person is a key skill. Not assuming that I understand–but assuming that I need to test it out until the client tells me she feels understood.

But now that I’m living in Kenya, I see many more commonalities. Even though outwardly we may be quite different–I put my kids to bed at 7:30, and others let their kids stay up until 10:30; I eat lasagna and someone else eats ugali and sukuma wiki–I see clearly that the internals are very similar.

Every person wants to be recognized for their accomplishments. Everyone wants acceptance rather than rejection. None of us wants to be put into a box and told what to do. We all want to grow and learn and be our best selves. We all have fears, doubts, dreams.

This perspective is also useful for coaching. No matter how outwardly different you may seem, I can hear you and understand you when I get to the internals–what makes you tick. I think that coaching diverse people will be one of the most exciting parts of coaching. Getting to know the real you–whether you seem like me outwardly or not.

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