I spent most of my life asking myself, Who Am I?
Who am I to be a coach? Who am I to teach others? Who am I to be a leader? Who am I to write a book? Who am I to marry a beautiful woman?
Truthfully, the voice in my head that uttered those words to me, so often, sounded much more mean.
And they came out more like, “Who the f**k are YOU?”
The secret fear that I’ve carried since being a young child is that I’m ‘worthless’—which meant I constantly showed up trying to ‘prove’ myself.
It didn’t matter who ‘you’ were, I did whatever I could to attain your approval. I tried to dress the right way, say the right things and do what it took.
Except it was painful.
I rarely got the approval I sought.
And even if I did it felt yucky because I wasn’t being myself anyway.
SEAN KICKS MY BUTT
One day I shared my “Who Am I?” question with my friend Sean Stephenson.
And he said, Well, who ARE you?
And he blew my mind.
Time seemed to stand still.
Because I knew this was my moment.
The insight came.
I got it. In an instant.
All I had to do was to answer his question and claim who I am.
And I was afraid.
Because this wasn’t about proving myself.
This was about owning who I really am.
Sean didn’t give a shit about my answer. I knew that.
I didn’t need to ‘prove’ myself to him. I knew that.
He had me see that Who am I? wasn’t a rhetorical question. It only had power over me if I DIDN’T answer it.
So in that moment, I went there with him.
It was edgy. I had to put humility to one side. I had to own my power, not hide from it.
I told him who I am.
No holding back.
I owned the powerful man that I am.
I owned the impact I have in the world.
And I owned the difference that I make.
And then I paused.
I looked into his eyes and the bastard was smiling at me.
And we laughed out loud.
UPGRADE YOUR QUESTIONS
Wow. I thought I understood the power of questions.
After all, the mission of a powerful coach is not to answer the questions that our clients are asking – it is to help our clients upgrade the quality of the questions they are living into.
I’d just missed that it could be even more subtle than that.
Who am I? is a question that has held me back for most of my life. It’s had me play small. It’s had me look for ‘heroes’. It’s had me feel less than and trying to ‘prove’ myself.
A tiny change of emphasis on the second word, to Who AM I? enabled me to answer that question MYSELF, for the first time, instead of seeking validation
The key to becoming a better coach and a better leader is not in our training, our skills or our education but in our self-awareness.
It’s our blind spots that hold us back, not the things we already know we need to improve on.
Our clients show up believing they live in a world with ‘hard edges’. A world where some things are possible but others are IMPOSSIBLE.
Ever heard a client say, But you don’t understand…?
The best way to get to these blind spots is a powerful question.
THE MOST POWERFUL COACHING QUESTIONS I KNOW
Click here for some of the most powerful coaching questions I know. The list continues to grow.
What’s YOUR favorite, most powerful (secret) coaching question?