Vigilant Compassion in Coaches, Facilitators, & Your Best Self

Avalokitesvara, One Who Hears the Cries of the World

My pal Michael Bungay Stanier of Box of Crayons posted this thoughtful piece on Fierce Love about coaching. He writes,

This is what rings most true for me at the moment, a mantra of service.

Fierce reminds me not to get too comfortable in the conversation we’re having.
To push myself to be as bold, as courageous and as vulnerable as I can when I engage.

Love reminds me that I want to fully champion that person, help them on the journey to be the best version of themselves that they can, regardless of what we’re working on.

His question follows up directly on what we discussed with The Right Stuff of Great Teachers & Facilitators. Michael’s fierce love echoes a term that came to me a couple of weeks ago while coaching a client: Vigilant Compassion. Even though I used the phrase in the context of how I suggested she speak to her best self, it’s really my working mantra of service these days. Vigilant is the soul who keeps a watch out for our best self. Who keeps a light on in the dark. Who is unwavering and persistent and diligent. It’s the “dedicated server.”

Compassion is not the sugary-sweet quality of grandmothers but the audacious swiftness of a goddess’s sword. It’s feeling the other’s pain point in my own cells and sinews and then mustering the wit, courage, and sweat to act authentically and in relationship.

At least, that’s what I’m feeling these days in my service to others and in service of my best self.


Let me re-pose Michael’s question: What is your mantra of service? With what quality do you want to serve others and your best self?

See you in the woods,

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