In one of my early childhood memories I am playing on the floor in my grandparents’ livingroom and my grandmother walks towards me and says: ‘here’s the backery bringing what you ordered!” She offers a small plate underneath the armrest of the big chair and puts it on the seat of the chair. I am sitting at the other side of the chair and pick up the delivery from underneath the other armrest. I pay her with imaginary money and enjoy a small cone, filled with a buttery cream and topped with chocolate. She always buys these children size cones for us, her grandchildren and this afternoon I feel so special, because it’s just her and me.
This early childhood memory with her continues in my teenage and student years, she keeps being the most nurturing and loving grandmother one can wish for. She always senses what I need, not only in terms of cookies, but merely in terms of the exact right amount of attention, tuning in if I want to share my stories or be left in silence with a magazine if that is what I need. I learned from her what it means to listen from the heart.
The other day I went through a box with letters that we received when travelling in Asia back in 1997 and one letter from her said: “you’ve always given us so much joy after we lost our youngest son” and I think I’ve always felt that. When she fed us with cookies, it was really the love that we tasted.
Today I realise how the listening from the heart and the ability to love is playing a big role in the work that we do as coaches and as much as I use the skills I am trained in and I train others in, it was my grandmother who taught me the essence of it.