I heard an analogy from Michael Neill recently that really resonated with me. It was made in the context of the coaching profession and what coaches do. But it’s relevant, I think, in the much broader context of leadership. Know it or not, though, as leaders of ourselves and others, we are all coaches. The best of us don’t tell others what to do. We tell them how to choose what to do and we help them learn where to find the confidence to actually make decisions. How do we do that? By asking powerful questions and then – here’s the key – really listening. We listen not just to the answers, but also for the beliefs and feelings behind the answers.
We reflect our insights back and help people discover the root of the issue they’re facing. Here’s what can be hard: Then we accept whatever it is that’s real for them. We may see things entirely differently, but we can’t presume to know what’s true for another, and we accept whatever is true for them. Sometimes the insights are profound, and the resulting shift is nearly miraculous. Sometimes there’s nothing.
Here’s Neill’s analogy: We are the rain; the client is the earth. All we do is rain. If the rain falls on fertile soil, then the seeds there grow. If the rain falls on parched earth, then perhaps future growth is possible, but probably not right now. And if the rain falls on stone? No change is likely.
As leaders, we are rain. Not everyone is ready to benefit from who we are and what we can bring them. That’s OK. Still we rain, confident that when the soil is ready, the growth will be nearly miraculous.
Be the rain. Don’t judge the soil. Just be wet, sweet, lifegiving, loving, nurturing, rain. Come gently or as a deluge. Bring what you bring. Be as you are, always and everywhere. What happens next is up to others.
Pete Colgan works with sales and marketing professionals who want fulfillment so they can manage stress, build thriving business and create successful, happy lives. Consider investing in yourself to truly understand what brings you joy and how you can use that awareness to increase revenue and kick your life and career into high gear. Whether through one-on-one coaching, or a cost-effective group coaching program, what you discover will help the work you do feel effortless! Click here to learn more.