Usually, there are huge gaps between my coaching clients’ big goals and their present conditions, between their true star potential and their challenges, between their desired dreams and their current reality, between where they are and where they want to be.
And that is where we (coaches) are – standing in those gaps.
The bigger their goals, the bigger the challenges usually are. The bigger their dreams, the wider the gaps, at least according to our clients’ stories.
Our job as coaches is not to admire the chasm like how we admire the Great Canyon. Don’t buy the picture they’re painting. Don’t believe their stories – that’s one of our key roles as coaches.
My clients often share with me how desirable their dreams are in our first session together. They are usually quite excited, more animated and alive. As the next sessions come by, as the rubber meets the road, as dreams collide with reality, many would usually share stories of why they haven’t reach the milestones of success that we have agreed in the earlier sessions. I could feel the initial energy dissipating as they narrate their stories.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that clients “make up stories” as in telling tall tales. Whether we are aware or not, we are constantly making up the stories of our lives and living them simultaneously.
Before we try to change anything, there must be a realization. As soon as we wake up to that profound realization that we are creators of our own stories, then change becomes more effortless.
As coaches, yes, we listen deeply to our clients’ stories. We follow along the paths where they’re leading to show us something.
However, we don’t have to believe everything they’re showing us. We don’t have to believe their stories.
Don’t easily buy the excuses of why they haven’t succeeded.
Don’t be quick to buy into their “victim” stories.
Don’t agree with them that the “mountains of impossibility” are there to stay.
Don’t believe in their stories. It’s not because they aren’t true (they are true to them). It’s not because we don’t empathize with what they share – but because we believe in something far greater.
Believe in them instead.
Believe in who they are, who they can be. Believe in their true potential, their strengths and capabilities.
Our job is to uncover the blind spots, shed light in their darkest parts, and help them find their own light.
Whenever we reach unfamiliar territories, the self-defense mechanism part of our brain kicks in and said, “Don’t go there, you don’t know what you’re doing. You may get hurt!”
We all need a partner in our journey to nudge us to our true limits, and even give us permission to go pass them.
Until we go pass our true limits, we do not know them. Until we go pass our true limits, we cannot expand our capacity to new, higher limits.
The truth is we do not know our limits – we do not know our true capacity. But we often create illusory limits to protect ourselves, just like our clients often do.Who we really are is always going to be more than who we think we are. Click To Tweet
Therefore as coaches, we believe in our clients more than we believe in their stories.
Once, I said this to a client after his long sharing, “I don’t believe in your stories…… because I believe in you so much more than them….” and followed by a silent pause – a space my client was allowed to linger until he soon found the all-important realization for himself.
As coaches, we act as a reflecting mirror to help them see the truth (or lack of) of what they’re sharing.
We seek permission to challenge and shake the foundation of their stories with the power of our questions.
We lead them to the possibility of seeing their world from different points of view.
We nudge them to be free of the limited narration they are stuck in.
We empower them to take ownership of their profound story-creating ability to re-write their stories.
We actively listen, support and partner with them in their journey.
And one more thing – don’t believe the stories your clients tell, because you believe in them.