• Kim F Vaughan

From 'Yes, but ...' to 'Yes, and ...'

I was reminded last week of a simple way to lift my thinking. Stop saying ‘Yes, but …’ and say ‘Yes, and …’ instead.

As I reach the end of the formal training that has consolidated my coaching practice, I have been welcomed into the International Coach Federation, whose UK Chapter held an online conference last week.

Speakers and topics were rich and varied, and I took many notes of things I am definitely bringing into my coaching practice. One of the simplest ideas is not new, but crystallised for me where I had managed to silence my self-doubts and taken my first step towards change.

Catch yourself if you find yourself thinking ‘Yes, but …’, and think of all the possibilities in ‘Yes, and …’.

Responding to the Covid-19 lockdown, the UK ICF had moved everything from one day face-to-face to four afternoons of Zoom sessions. Not for them the statement ‘Yes, but it will be too hard’. Instead, they said ‘Yes, and that will mean we can reach 100 people instead of only 400!’

After months of training and several weeks lockdown, I was ready to take in some new ideas and get involved in this vibrant community. As a former PR and Communications professional I am normally on the other end of such conferences, setting agendas, recruiting speakers, stressing out behind the scenes to pray about technology and get a global audience engaged. Moderating awkward Q&A sessions, and enticing speakers and participants to make video clips added to the preoccupations that turned delivery of these events into a huge sigh of relief when they are over.

To attend as a delegate was a real treat. To be a delegate in a community who love to communicate made it even better. The chat box overflowed and the questions kept coming. The virtual café sessions were lively.

Reflecting on my own isolated contemplations over recent months, there are many reasons not to make a change. Yes, but I might fail. Yes, but it will be difficult. Yes, but what about the cost? Yes, but I don’t have the time just now. Yes, but I need to do this, that and the other first. Yes, but we are in lockdown because of Covid-19.

Saying ‘Yes, and …’ leads to positive - visionary even - conversations. ‘Yes, and …’ opens the door to possibility and breakthrough thinking.

What I heard last week started with what we could do when lockdown is lifted (go for a walk) and became a full scale party in the park as the participants said ‘Yes, and …we can have ice creams, we can invite all our friends and families, we can play music and dance, we can speak about it all in a conference…’.

Well, here it is, my moment has arrived. After years of indulging in blue-sky thinking, talking about ‘what if …’, and then allowing ‘Yes, but …’ comments to fill my mind with doubt, the time has come to simply begin.

As I launch myself as a coach, it is ‘Yes, and …’ all the way for me.

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