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Why I'm Inspired by My Dog

Photo by Suzanne ElNaggar

As regular readers of my articles on Medium know, I am the proud dog parent of an adorable Rottie. She's a loving companion, intelligent and playful. Although she's only been with my family for six months, she has become a family member whom I count on for a warm greeting when I return home, eagerness to walk or play, and quiet affection when we're relaxing in the evening.

My Rottie has become something of a role model for me, too. I know it sounds strange to say that my dog is a role model, but she exhibits traits that I'd like to keep front and center.

She's Ever Curious

My sweet pup sniffs, watches, and listens, taking nothing for granted. It rained last night? Well then, the pavement, plants and soil have all released a cacophony of aromas that had been dormant, and she wants to investigate them all. The street shines, the trees glisten, there are shiny drops of water on the grass. Cars going by make a swishing sound as they pass through puddles. The world smells, looks, and sounds different when wet and she is curious to learn more.

As a coach, I am open to whatever is communicated during coaching conversations. Curiosity is paramount for me. Curiosity guides me to ask deep questions and listen carefully to the answers. It also guides me to observe facial expressions and body language, to hear cadence, tone, and volume in a way that helps me to truly understand what my client is trying to convey.

She's Consistently Congenial

I've been pleasantly surprised at how invariably sociable my Rottie is with other dogs. She even keeps up her usual friendly behavior with older dogs who don't enjoy the puppy energy and growl at her when she's too playful.

Maintaining a calm, open demeanor is key in coaching. Regardless of how upset a client may be, it's important that I remain objective and not match the emotions on display. Of course, I care, or I wouldn't be a coach, but caring does not have to mean getting sucked into the emotional vortex.

She's Not into Grudges

Every day is a new day for my pup. There are new sights, sounds, and smells to explore. Yesterday has passed and, if it wasn't as good a day as we would have liked, we have another day to learn and enjoy our time together.

This is about resilience. As an entrepreneur, it's important for me to keep my energy up and not allow yesterday's setbacks to set the tone today. If something didn't work, try something new. It's the focus on what's to come that drives forward progress.

She Says Yes a Lot

My Rottie gets excited about most activities. Whether I suggest that we go outside in the backyard to train or play, walk around the neighborhood, go for a ride, or explore a new park, she's all in. Because she agrees to participate, she ends up having fun and learning.

In my coaching practice, I've found that each client comes to coaching for very different reasons. My clients have helped me to envision coaching anew, and practice differently, with each of them. Saying yes to trying new ways of working has helped me to grow as a coach as much as it has helped my clients to get the benefit they desire.

Continual Learning

By following my pup's lead, I'm becoming a better coach. I'm grateful for her inspiring spirit and looking forward to the future lessons I'll learn from her.

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