A Coaching Power Tool Created by Dominique Duquette
(Entrepreneurship Coach, CANADA)
(…) the only thing stopping me is me. What’s outside has no power compared to what’s inside me. ~ Unknown
Most of entrepreneurs are strong minded and determined. They work hard and do not stop until they have reached their goals, fighting to find the right partners, investors, clients, tools, ideas of products, solutions, … They want things to go fast and be right the first time. I know what I am talking about: I am one of these crazy and competitive risk-lovers!
During the last years, I blamed others, I found excuses, I listened to other’s fears, I tried to find explanations by analysing external factors, … Many entrepreneurs I am coaching do the same and are disconnected from what’s happening inside of them. During my coaching journey, I learned we sometimes have to disconnect, stay quiet and listen to what’s happening inside to find answers and feel empowered; because there is an endlessly gift inside each of us.
Looking outside means focusing our attention on external factors to explain our behaviours and thoughts, to justify our decisions, to understand the situations. External factors are elements we don’t have power on and we cannot control, to a certain extent. Here are some examples:
- Our parents, our children, the extended family
- Our colleagues or partners
- Our neighbours
- Our boss and the boss of our boss
- Our friends and their family
- The environment, the weather
- Politics, rules, regulations, laws
- The Wifi connexion, the technology
- The airplane, the bus, the train
Looking outside has many advantages, such as:
- It is fast and easy because it is the first thing we see and rage against. We don’t have to think hard and ask complicated questions. The reasons are obvious!
- It is reassuring because WE are not the cause and WE are not responsible for what’s happening.
- It is good for our ego because we don’t question our capacities, competencies, habits, the way we think and we act. We still have all the answers and know what we have to do.
- It is not frightening because we don’t have to look at our fears, doubts, limiting beliefs and emotions. We don’t have to open the box and maybe find answers we don’t like.
- We look strong because our weaknesses are not visible. Others would not say we are too emotive, sensible, soft or spiritual.
On the other hand, focusing outside has tons of disadvantages: we feel non-responsible and dis-empowered, so we act like victims and we let external factors drive our life. We stay passive and don’t invest in our own development. Our relations stay superficial and transactional. The list of disadvantages is so long, I could write a whole book around that!
Looking inside means focusing our attention on internal factors, those on which we have control and that are under our responsibility. Here are some examples:
- our attitudes and personality
- our dreams and desires
- our competencies, knowledge, education
- our talents and passions
- our experiences and accomplishments
- what we like and don’t like
- our strengths and weaknesses
- our emotions and reactions
Looking inside of us is definitely harder than focusing on external factors. Analysing those internal factors takes courage, efforts and a desire to change. Unpacking the box may be time consuming, but it is definitely an investment for our future. It is an empowering perspective that leads us to freedom and gives us the liberty to act (or to not act).
When facing challenges, analysing internal factor allows us to find personalised and powerful solutions. When the actual situation is not viable anymore, we can design changes that are sustainable. When we feel we are in a dead-end, it allows us to find new ideas that are distinctive and unique, so as we are.
Turning our look inside allows us to discover what we really are. I think this first step eventually allows us to grow.
What’s in there for entrepreneurs?
I often heard that coaching entrepreneurs has nothing to do with emotions and what’s happening inside. It is rather life coaching! One day, a client told me: “Why are you shaking me with your deep questioning? I just want to work on my business plan!”.
Your business is a part of who you are. Since the only thing that is stopping you is yourself, the only thing that can propel you is yourself. Being entrepreneur is like living on a roller coaster of emotions, adventures, thrills, … You go up, you go down. You fall, you get up. You are afraid, you are happy. You cannot disconnect from your emotions and who you are in those conditions. Living in sync with your business makes it powerful, strong and unique.
When clients focus on external factors, they often don’t find the solution they are looking for when they decide to begin a coaching relationship. Coaching them with their story, not looking inside, will not help them in a sustainable manner.
I noticed it is absolutely essential to make them shift their focus on what’s happening inside so the magic can happen, so they find the true answers, those who correspond to who they are. Asking questions like those below could help make that shift:
- What does you inner voice say?
- What does your gut tell you?
- What resources do you have inside of you to resolve this issue?
- How your know-how and experience could help you here?
- What emotions does this situation make you feel?
- What is it in your business that you find exciting and fascinating?
- What this situation is telling you about yourself?
- What is under your control in this situation?
- What does a life based on who you are would look like?
Here are additional ways I experienced to connect the client to its inner self:
- Use a psychometric tool to identify the strengths, then discuss about it. Try to link the strengths with the business project.
- Do an exercise to find the values of the client and find how it is reflected in the business.
- Make the client visualise the life of its dreams.
- Acknowledge the client when he finds powerful solutions after looking inside.
- If the client is open to that, begin each session with a short meditation, connecting with the breath and mind.
References and inspirational readings
OUELLET, Jean-François. “Le bonheur comme plan d’affaires”, Les Éditions Transcontinental,2014.
DESAUTELS, Genevieve. “Oser le monde en soi”, Béliveau Éditeur, 2012.
BAILEY, Jennifer. “3 Questions Worth Asking to Find the Right Answer for you”, Tiny Buddha.
BARTURA, Michael. “We often hear, “To find real happiness, you need to look within yourself” but
nobody answers the question, how do we look within ourselves?”, Quora.com
FINLAY, Stephen; SCHROEDER, Mark. “Reasons for Action: Internal vs. External”, Stanford
Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2008.