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What does “Aha” Moment look like?

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.

Prof. John Kotter places great emphasis on Step 1 of his renowned 8-Step Change Process, which is Create Sense of Urgency. It is something cannot be achieved if we focus solely on the head, and not the heart. All of us experience different feelings while we undergo change, i.e. fearful, confused, excited, angry, uncertain, …etc. These feelings are energy of different forms and intensity. Along the way, when there is a change of energy while the feeling shifts or changes, “aha’ moment takes place, and turns into actions. I equate “Create Sense of Urgency” to “Create Aha Moment” in Coaching, as I see it as a moment of shift of energy, which translates into immediate actions. Taking another Change Leadership Principle by Prof. John Kotter, moving from the “Have to” to the “Want to”.

If so, what meaning does it serve for us as a coach then? It complements from just coaching our coachee to find solution from content perspective, but, coaching our coachee to have a shift in their energy. It extends the focus of the coach from just listening to the content, to observing the energy of the coachee shown by their body language. It gives no ground for coach to judge the right or wrong, but paying attention to the coachee’s energy which is neutral.

That switch of energy is well expressed and witnessed by the different ways the coachees utter the word, “Aha”.

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