A Real Conversation With My Coach

Be Crisp & Concise

“Charlie, ask me a really hard question.”

I threw my coach a curveball after four coaching sessions.

After all, we have worked through how to let go of a team member, deliver hard feedback, influence senior leaderships, and polishing my performance review. Plus, great coach asks great questions. I couldn’t be more excited.

Which is why I was on the edge of my seat beaming to take the hard question, as a preparation for an open-floor Q&A I’m going to do soon. Now I’m about to share a snippet of what we talked about in the coaching session.

“Charlene, you are balancing so much. You have LivingOS and a challenging job, managing difficult stakeholders, at Google. You’ve just started. Just curious, how much experience do you really have doing both of these jobs?”

That’s the question.

In that question alone, he mentioned the thing I cared the most about, the day job I spent a non-trivial period time on, the key challenge I was managing that day, and the balancing question I often got asked.

Before you read on to my reply, I want you to take a moment and think of your own answer.

Here’s what I said…

“How to balance a challenging full time job and a passionate hustle?

Prioritization. Being really clear about my priorities, how much time I spend on each of them, and how I could use one to fuel the other one as I switch over.”

How is your answer different from mine?


Before I jump on to analyze the structure behind my response, Charlie gave me another question:

“Do you feel like you have been able to give the right attention and coaching to your people in LivingOS, considering that they are also trying to find their way and you are also trying to find your way?”

Another question I love.

Again, before you peek at my answer, take a moment to come up with your own response.

Here’s what I said…

“How do I maximize my coaching to my LivingOS team and students?

Empathy. I’ve been there. I’m still in the process, so I know how exactly they feel. I know the struggle and how I could offer a framework that works.”

Do you see what I am doing here?


How to be crisp & concise in Q&A?

  1. Listen (without rushing to think about the answer). This is what active listening takes.
  2. Repeat & Rephrase (without saying “the question is”). I caught myself starting the response with “the question is…” three times.
    When I started the answer with “How to balance a challenging full time job and a passionate hustle?” and “How do I maximize my coaching to LivingOS team and students?”the response became much more powerful.
  3. Lead with the Answer (with one word or two). That’s how you lead the audience with strong confidence and credibility.

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