One of the common terms used by coaches is “Aha” moment. Well, as coaches, have we ever figured out what do these “Aha” moments of our coachees look, sound, or even feel like?

As a coach, I witnessed this “Aha” moment when my coachee:

♦  had long silent moment before they continued to speak

♦  had emotional break down

♦  sparkling eyes

♦  rolling eyes movement between left and right, sometimes top and bottom

♦  blank for a long while, before they continued to speak

♦  both eyes looking far and beyond

♦  jumped up unexpectedly

♦  shouted out loud (and, at times, coupled with a loud “YES”!)

♦  slapped the face and said, “oh!”

♦  had a long sigh

♦  and the list goes on …..

  • What about our coachee? As he exhibits any of the possible behaviors above, what is he experiencing in his mind? Is there one thing in common all of them has during this “Aha” moment?
  • The “Aha” moment has something in common, it is a shift of energy. A shift of energy which varies in terms of intensity, portrayed behaviors, energy type or even focus. It gives coachee a mental shake when the exchange of energy happens, which allows possibilities to flow in effortlessly.
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1.”Why me?” vs. “What do I own now?”

“Why me?” is not a question, it is a blaming statement disguises as a truthful judge. It is a self support mechanism which helps us to feel comfortable for a while, for not owning the situation. However, prolonged and repeated question of “why me?” forms a thinking and habitual pattern for us to escape, rather than facing the situation with our authentic self. It spirals inwards further and deeper, hence, makes “falling up” more challenging.

“What do I own now?” opens up possibilities and resources for us to own the situation. It steers our thinking and emotion towards the resource we possess, thus, lit up the light at the end of the tunnel. Another asset of this question is we take back the ownership of the circumstance, and put ourselves be in charge of the situation.

2. “How should I get out of it?” vs. “What emotions am I experiencing now?”

Intense emotions we experience while we are facing challenges are a form of energy, if use it wisely with awareness, it helps us to transform into a powerful resource. The critical line between going forward or moving backwards from it is “ACCEPTANCE”.

Be Aware, Acknowledge , and Accept are the 3 main ingredients needed in the “to be” list when we are experiencing devastating mental state during hard time. Instead of reacting like a strategist to find ways out from the situation and ask “How should I get out of it?”, it will be self-healing if we allow ourselves to touch and accept that feelings. Hence, asking ourselves “What emotions am I experiencing now? acts as the first step for us to make peace with this emotion of us, which we are uncomfortable with at the moment. Continuous exploration of our feelings leads way for us to make peace with it and accept it as part of us.
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A little story, or rather, secret of mine, happened many years ago.

As we were planning for our annual sales and business plan, I was challenged as the Head of Business Development by a vocal sales manager to drop the “conventional way” (according to her) of setting individual target for each sales manager.

She said, in a confident and committed way, “I feel our teamwork is at the peak now after all the challenges we have been through together the past 2 years. And, I could feel we are such a cohesive team, who are committed to make this company grow further from where we are now. I think it is timely for us to only focus on one sales target, and all of us work together towards that one laser-focused company sales goal”.

I agreed fully with what she said about the teamwork we had. I also felt she and other sales managers were sincere and committed. But, the truth was, her proposal was something I never tried before.

And, another truth was, I was fearful and uncertain, supported by an extremely loud voice drumming in my ear, which said, “what if there were no accountability and clarity, if we drop the individual target”.

At that moment, I decided to let her and the team lead, and we focused the rest of our business planning session on co-creating plans to make this work. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made as a leader.
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As a coach, (or, shall I say a fanatic coach?) especially when I was first certified as a coach 20 years ago, I coached everywhere and every moment. It may not be a full complete coaching session every time but, the skillset and mindset of a coach, is always something I hold very closely to my heart.

The story

When my girl was just a toddler, I used scale question to help me get clarity.


When she was in pain, and unable to verbalise the severity of it at her age, I asked her to show me by her hand gesture.

Closing both palms together means no pain at all.

Opening up both her hands wide to the maximum means very pain, that I need to send her to hospital immediately.

And, in between are the different levels of pain.

We had been communicated like this for a while, and it helped both of us so much in finding a solution if we needed a quick assessment of the situation.

There came a night, she wanted something so much, and was abruptly turned down by the father. Her face turned red as she pulled her hair, she started to cry.

As a mother, it was such a struggle for me to see her in such state. Another emotional struggle I had was the anger in me of the dad, whom I “analysed” and “judged” him in mis-handling the situation. My first instinct was to go to my baby girl, calmed her down, and gave her all the comfort I could.

But, that night, I did something different.

I went to her, gently hold her hands, and asked her softly,
“Show me with you hand gesture, closing both palms together means you are not angry. And opening up both of your hands means very angry, where are you now?”

Without any hesitation, she swiftly opened and stretched both of her hands wide. Interesting, she took a pause after that, looked at both of her hands, puzzled and seemed not satisfied, as if it was incomplete.

It was then swiftly followed by A FEW HUGE, QUICK and FIERCE TURNS.

As she was doing her MAD-Go-Round, I smiled and whispered in my heart….
“Let’s celebrate this MAD-go-round ride moment!”
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