Whenever I get stuck in my coaching business (yes, coaches are not perfect beings!), something always reminds me of how useful experimentation is for me, my clients and my business. I was stuck trying to decide between two business offers that I wanted to add to my coaching packages and the ‘something’ this time that got me back into my experimenting brain was talking through my options in an Association for Coaching (AC) co-coaching forum.

What images does experimentation conjure up for you? Frankenstein’s monster, test tubes, bunsen burners? What about thought experiments? Language experiments? Focus experiments?

How open are you to experimentation with what you’re trying to work through in your job?
What experiment can you run for yourself, over a limited time (a max of a couple of weeks) and then see what results you come up with for yourself?

When a client feels completely stuck in a session, I’ll invite them to experiment. This might be as simple as getting up from their chair (zoom bad backs anyone?!) and having a big old shake of their body or a dance break. It might be using a magic metaphor box in Mural to focus on a question using images and colours. It might be switching the call to phone and both of us having a ‘walk and talk’. It might be switching the session from all action points to a free flow of thoughts out loud. It might be setting themselves a task that’s completely different to their usual day-to-day and then reporting back on it in our next session – these are experiments.

Different experiments work for different clients.

Our brains do try to work against us in daily life – your brain might pick out the one negative thing that happened in your day and then focus on it to the detriment of everything else that went swimmingly that day.
Your brain might keep trying to keep you safe (from those no longer existent woolly mammoths) by having you follow the same routine, day in, day out, everything’s safe, everything’s FINE.

So, how do you change and learn and grow? I love the idea of experimentation as you can experiment in ways that aren’t going to crash your whole world around you (although do remember you don’t have your finger on a nuclear button anyway!). Nobody else needs to know you’re experimenting.

If you’re seriously fed up with the way your CEO talks to (at) you, what experiment can you run for a couple of weeks to change that dynamic? Is it the setting for your meetings? Is it the way you prepare for those conversations? Is it changing your words? So much of management and VP roles involve ‘managing up’ so how can you change that relationship?

If you want to change jobs but don’t know where to start, what experiment can you run for a week that will help you find out more about other jobs?

If you’re terrified of giving your next presentation, what part of your talk can you experiment with? Your planning, your presentation style?

Grab your imaginary lab coat and give it a go!