An Ode to Quotes: What possible applications in coaching?

By Nadege Esteban-Frutos

What are your favourite quotes? How do you use them into your daily life and into your coaching practice?

I love quotes. I even keep one file on my computer where I collect the quotes that I like. As far as I remember, I have always loved quotes. I started with this one when I was about 12 years old: “A day without laughter is a day wasted” (Charlie Chaplin) and it is still at the top of my collection. And then there was this one, “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run” (Babe Ruth). For many people, it may not mean a lot but as a huge baseball fan, it does a lot for me! And there was another one and then many more. I don’t know if there is a specific word for those who build a collection of quotes, like the word “philatelists” for those whose hobby is to collect stamps, or “numismatics” for those who collect coins, but if there was one, I could add it in my list of hobbies on my profile!

Every time I apply the same modus operandi: I register them in my quotes collection and stick the top ones everywhere. Twenty years ago, it was on my time table and my diary, now they are on my phone, on my desktop, on my Facebook and LinkedIn wall and profile, on my fridge and even on my mug for my ritual morning tea times. There are plenty of ways of finding them: either on a website specifically designed for quotes where you can make a research with a key word (www.brainyquotes.com), from your best authors, coaches, trainers in their newsletters (like the ‘Notes to inspire’ from Simon Sinek), in the social media pages (LinkedIn, Facebook) and even in online newspapers (Forbes etc.).

This habit of collecting quotes and sharing them has not faded over the years. And I have found these ‘pearls of wisdom’, as I like to call them intimately, very beneficial for my coaching practice and my daily life.

In my collection, there are the ones that I use to get and stay inspired everyday: “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed”. (Michael Jordan) or this one from Napoleon Hill “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve”. Well, I believe that as a coach if you are inspired yourself, you are more likely to be able to inspire your coachee as well.

There are the quotes that help me to stay grounded and centred “Yesterday is the past, tomorrow is the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present” (Bil Keane), the ones that makes me feel vibrant: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people have come alive” (Howard Thurman).

I use some of them to motivate me to take action, “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen” (Michael Jordan) or Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do” (Bruce Lee).

I have noticed that they also have the power to uplift my mood, and just in few words by the way: “Change is hard at the beginning, messy in the middle, gorgeous at the end” (Robin Sharma).

They are also of a good help when it comes to make a decision. Like for example, as parents, there are lots of opportunities to be angry to our kids and sometimes it is even tough not to lose our temper. Well, when I feel that I have been triggered by my kids (my signal is in the jaw when I feel them too contracted), I just stop and remember my favourite parenting quotes before saying something that I would regret after that. I just tell myself: “The way we talk to our children become their inner voice” (Peggy O’Mara) or my own one –yes, why not creating your own one! – “Every mistake that my children do is an opportunity for them to learn and grow, and for me to facilitate this learning, so what would I like to teach them at that time?”

I have found some quotes which were really helpful for reframing my mind, for example, about fears: “Successful people don’t fear failure but understand that it’s necessary to learn and grow from” (Robert Kiyosaki), “Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try” (Jack Canfield) or “Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” (Les Brown). Very empowering….! I also like to use this one from Anthony Robbins: “People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals – that is, goals that do not inspire them” (Tony Robbins). I confess that when I was facing lazy people I was feeling a bit exasperated, and well, as a coach, that reaction was not helpful… but whoa, when I read this quote, it has completely changed my mind and I am now more willing/opened/and in better conditions to understand and to help them. It has redirected my attention and actions in a way that is more helpful and compassionate.

Some quotes will sparkle my curiosity about the author, his work, the topic. Like this quote from Steve Jobs that has triggered some personal researches about intuition: “Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect”. More in my next article… J

Other quotes are specifically helpful for opening my mind, expanding my horizons or providing a new perspective. “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten” (Anthony Robbins). Yes, when you need to come up with a creative solution, I personally use these 3 possibilities: take a helicopter view, see the situation from another/opposite angle or from another point of view (from a child’s or customer’s perspective for example).

I also use quotes as a compass for my daily actions as a human person “Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value” (Albert Einstein) and as a coach “The moment that the internal dialogue moves from the question ‘What’s in it for me?” to the question ‘How can I serve?”, we begin to rapidly move in the direction of discovering our mission in life” (Matthew Kelly).

Some are particularly linked to my values and my purpose “Success isn’t just about what you accomplish in your life, it’s about what you inspire others to do”. This one has even become my personal motto.

Some reminds me of what is really important in life: “Your time is limited so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let be the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and your intuition. They somehow already know what you truly wants to become” (Steve Jobs). They also remind me that the most important things are happening NOW: “The future depends on what we do in the present” (Gandhi Mahatma) and that it will greatly depends on your mindset and attitudes: “Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life, not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens” (Khalil Gibran)

I like to use them as a prompt for my daily journaling or writing activities because quite often they are thought-provoking and will trigger off a long reflection and sort of brain stimulation.

Some of them are even part of my personal mantras that I consciously repeat to keep it in mind either at the beginning of the day or at the end:”I am enough. I am full of sparkle and compassion. I genuinely want to make the world a better place. I love hard. I practice kindness. I’m not afraid of the truth. I am loyal, adventurous, supportive, and surprising. I make mistakes, but I own them and learn from them.” (Molly Mahar). I sometimes use them during my daily meditation practice or couple them with my visualization practices.

I also have in my collection the ones that I find fun:”Laughing is the best medicine, but if you laugh without any reason, you need medicine” (Anonymous), just when I need some entertainment.

And finally, I keep some of them just because I find them beautiful and they directly touch my heart : “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart” (Helen Keller)

So there are plenty of opportunities and benefits for collecting quotes. As a coach, it can help you to stay inspired, committed, motivated, grounded and centred, stimulated, uplifted, open-minded and focused. And I do agree with Robert Burns when he says: “I pick my favourite quotations and store them in my mind as ready armor, offensive or defensive, amid the struggle of this turbulent existence.”

By sharing with your coachee the ones that seem more relevant to them during and in-between the coaching sessions, it can also help the coachee in the same way. Some can be used as examples, or to reinforce a point you have made or even as a coaching question: “If today were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today?” (Robin Sharma).

And the great thing about quotes, is that it doesn’t take long time to read it!

Your turn now!

For those who are interested by adding a quotes collection to their coaching toolbox:

    • What is the first small step you are going to take right now to build your quotes collection?
    • And when are you going to do it? J

Because, at the end of the day, don’t forget that “Words may inspire but only action creates change” (Simon Sinek).

For those who are as crazy as me about quotes:

    • What are your favourite quotes and how do you use them into your coaching practice and your daily life?

Please spread inspiration by sharing with the coaching community in the comments below!

Nadege Esteban-Frutos

Wise Mind PLT Founder and CEO

www.getintothewisemind.com

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