Starting a business is hard. Harder than I ever imagined. There are so many times I lose sight of the big picture or get stuck with no idea of what to do next. My friends and family (filled with ombuddies and ombuds supporters!) have been beyond helpful. I didn’t think I could gain more support from them than I already was. I also didn't think I could have a deeper appreciation for ombuds work… until this weekend.
Let me tell you more about this.
As many of you know, Ombuds Institute is about to release an online, asynchronous course, The Ombuds Field Guide. It will teach the skills and stages of coaching an ombuds visitor 1:1. My goal in this course is to accompany each skill with practical and helpful examples and activities to support learners. One of the most powerful learning tools is to observe others - to see or hear it in action. So, I asked 3 ombuds friends to coach 3 of my personal friends through a work challenge they were having, record it, and let me use snippets from the call to highlight certain skills in the course. They all enthusiastically agreed. I set them up by matching times and sending zoom links and they were on their own.
As I listened to the recordings this past weekend, I could hear familiar voices discussing their struggles. All three of these friends I have known and been close to for over a decade (and even over 2 decades). I know them. I care deeply about each of them. I was happy they were getting some insight from someone new!
I also heard the amazing techniques, styles, and skills of my 3 ombudies. I was blown away! What a give they gave to me, to this course, and to all of the learners who will get to hear them!
And then… I realized… The biggest gifts my ombuddies provided weren’t about the course or showing their skill. The greatest gifts were to my dear, dear friends on those zoom meetings. In all three cases, as they moved from storytelling into idea generation, I could hear the ease and relief in my friends’ voices. I could hear them taking in a new approach, a new view, and perspective, a new idea. How they thought about, understood, and processed their situation expanded as a result of the care and consideration the ombuds provided. I could hear them relax and feel hopeful.
And tears welled in my eyes. I felt such joy to know my friends were getting support and were feeling better.
As a friend, who knows them each so well, it was incredible to observe these shifts from this unique and new position. I experienced the impact of this work from an entirely different vantage point. I now had a new level of appreciation for ombuds work.
As an ombuds myself, I can tell when visitors are feeling more at ease or when they have a new perspective or idea. And it is just another day on the job - a good day - but a day. I don’t have personal relationships with the visitors. I was taking the impact an ombuds can have beyond the visitor for granted.
Every visitor an ombuds meet with has friends, has family, has people who care about them. So, not only are ombuds impacting the visitor in front of them, they are impacting that visitor’s world.
How many times have you heard, “That is what my friend/partner/mom keeps saying but somehow, it sounds different when you say it,” or some variation of this? How happy do you think that person is that their loved one is getting the support they need, even if it isn’t from them directly? When you care about someone, you just want them to be happy and at ease. And anyone or anything that helps with that is worth their weight in gold (or cryptocurrency - whatever you value these days). And when there are people helping those we care about with their struggles, it helps us too.
I write this blog with a renewed sense of appreciation for the ombuds role. A new level of gratitude for the work. I also have a new level of enthusiasm and excitement for the up and coming course, The Ombuds Field Guide. Learners in this course will get to hear these expert ombuds while growing their own skills to impact visitors as well as the visitor's world. (Join the waitlist to receive updates on this upcoming release!)
So - Thank you! To all of my friends for getting me here and beyond!
I’d love to hear from all of you! What does this bring up for you? What gives you enthusiasm and appreciation for this work?