I had a good fortune of making contact with Steve Hardison aka ‘The Ultimate Coach‘ on social media over a month ago, who graciously shared with me some of his powerful knowledge in coaching, and freely gave me some e-books. While he doesn’t write his own books, he has a number of clients who wrote about the powerful shifts they’ve made under Steve’s coaching, and they happen to be top-notch coaches as well eg. Steve Chandler, Dusan Djukich.
I’ve been internalizing some of the principles from the books Steve gave me and this is my humble attempt to write on a few of them in my own words.
What is Success
What is success? In its simplest geometrical form, success is a matter of getting from A to B. A is where you are now, and B is your desired objective or goal. Coaching is all about partnering with you in the process of getting you from where you are to where you want to be.
It’s the shifts you make from the inside-out as you progress in the domain of accomplishments in the outer world.
Power of Distinctions
There are a few approaches to influence others to make the shift.
1) Tell – The most common approach is to simply tell, give suggestions or advises.
2) Ask – In the coaching process, questions are normally used to elicit powerful awareness and responses. It was Sir John Whitmore who said this: “To tell denies or negates another’s intelligence. To ask honors it.” Coaches ask powerful questions.
3) Show a Distinction – A third approach is to use the power of distinctions. A distinction is a difference to set apart, to distinguish one thing from another. Sometimes, it works more effectively than both the telling and asking approaches.
For example, a fish would not be aware of the existence of water until it reaches dry land. A rich kid would not understand or appreciate the value of money until he sees poverty.
Distinctions are simple to use and illustrate important points powerfully because of the sharp contrasts. I’m going to employ the power of distinctions throughout my points for this purpose, with the help of a few powerful questions. I invite you to take your own exploration as you make your own inner shifts.
Going in Circles vs Straight-Line
In his profound book Straight-Line Leadership, Dusan Djukich said that straight-line people know what they want and they go straight at it. It doesn’t mean they don’t face obstacles or make mistakes, it is just that they go straight at things instead of going round and round.
People who go in circles are like what Einstein said in his famous definition of insanity – doing the same things over and over while expecting a different outcome.
As I was preparing this, I was reminded of the Biblical story of Moses, how God told him to lead His people out of Egypt into the Promise Land. In a journey that was supposed to take weeks turned out to be forty years! In actual fact, most of the people never made it – they died in the wilderness, still stuck in their stubbornness, old mindsets, beliefs and attitudes that got them nowhere.
People who go in circles repeat the same behaviors, thinking patterns, belief systems and habits that don’t serve them. They move in endless circular movements.
Which group do you identify yourself with? You may be somewhere in between the two extremes (as often most people do). The distinction is to show you both ends so you are aware of where you are, and could get ready to make the inner shift.
“I believe that half the unhappiness of life comes from people being afraid to go straight at things.” ~ William J. Locke
This is a good place to introduce the concept of the Inner Stance. Before that, what is a stance? Just look at sportsmen right before they play a point, see the starting position they’re in as they serve the ball or receive the serve. Look at martial artists in their ready positions before making their explosive movements. See the powerful sprinters as they psyche themselves up as they get set, ready to go. The sprinter’s stance at the start line determines how well he flies off the mark, which determines the outcome of the whole race. It is that crucial!
The Inner Stance is the mental posture, the inner attitude that you employ. It is a way of seeing things, your belief system,your perception and worldview. It is your foundation and the all-important place you operate from to make the shifts.
Positive Thinking vs Inner Stance
In martial arts, if you have a weak stance, no amount of positive thinking can save you from a charging opponent.
Similarly, inner stance is not the same as positive thinking. It is more active than that. To distinguish your inner stance, ask these questions:
“What position am I taking?”
“How do I see? What do I see from the position I’m taking?”
“Where am I coming from?”
It’s not where you want to go but what’s your come from that plays the most significant role in shaping your destiny and outcome. Your come from provides the fuel and direction.
Personality vs Inner Stance
Ultimately, your come from has to do with who you are – how you exist, how you function in life, what you do and say, based on your self-identity.
Those who mistaken their inner stance for their personality would say they cannot change, justifying their position along these lines: “This is just how it is”, “This is who I’ve always been”, or “This is my personality”.
As you can see, some people can be quite defensive about the stances they operate from because of how deeply they confuse the stances for their personality.
Like sprinters, martial artists and sportsmen, you can change your stance at any moment. You can shift how you operate. Your inner stances are dynamic positions and postures you operate from. You can drop the stances that aren’t helpful and adopt those that serve you powerfully. It’s your choice, power and freedom to shift.
In my coaching experience of helping people so far, personality profiling tools are less useful compared to understanding my clients’ inner stance and helping them to shift. Perhaps those profiling tools confine people’s way of seeing himself or herself, but the concept of dynamic inner stances and power shifts is a more empowering way of seeing, being and operating in life.Unlike personality, your inner stance allows you to make transformational shifts toward your goals. Click To Tweet
Well, those powerful, top-notch coaches I mentioned earlier have been using the concept of inner stance for many years and have produced very successful results, so I can’t argue with them. I’ve been using that for self-coaching and to coach others and have observed transformational results as well.
In the next part, I’ll write more on the distinctions of the different stances we operate from and how to make the shift. Stay tuned!
Part 2 is now available.