Research Paper By Paul Kolibaba
(Executive Coach, UNITED STATES)
Have you ever had someone ask you the question,
If you could have a Super Power, what would it be?
Most people seem to answer that question with either, I would like to be able to fly or invisibility. Both answers are about being free. If you are free from gravity you can soar up in the clouds and look at things from a different perspective. If you choose invisibility then you are free to roam around people or places and not be detected or be bothered by other people. Some people like the ability to be around others but not have to be part of the group.
Coaching Idea: Check in with your client if they talk about wanting to be part of the group, but aren’t sure how. If a client prefers solitude ask if they prefer that and why.
And yes sometimes people want to be invisible for nefarious purposes.
But what is it like to be the hero? The person who saves the day, the person who gets the glory? Have you ever thought of what if you had to stop a bank robbery? As a hero you might be bullet proof or super strong. As a hero no one in the bank gets hurt, the villain is arrested and the day ends well with the police giving you a medal, Aww to be the hero if only once.
In the movies the hero(s) save the day and defeats the enemy all is well until the world has to fight more villain’s, often the same ones over and over again. The same way we have to deal with our same life problems over and over.
Coaching Insight: Your clients will often deal with the same or similar problems over and over again. Try to help you client adjust to each repeated incident as a new problem and help them search for a “new “solution.
Are you a hero? You might not think of yourself as one and you might not get the recognition you might be hoping for but you are a hero. Let me explain.
Every day we do things that don’t get recognition, sometimes even from ourselves, but they often save the day. As we might get mad at ourselves and reprimand ourselves for mistakes we made. We hopefully don’t call ourselves a villain, but we often forget to remember to pat ourselves of the back for the good we have done this day.
Coaching Insight: Reminding the client that even if no one else is grateful they can be happy for themselves.
The hero in the stories often leaves before they can be thanked or they say that thanks are not necessary. Huh, well-being modest is a nice trait, but it is still nice to give people the opportunity to thank you. In other words “Take the compliment!” be gracious and polite but take the compliment.
If you are like me then you grew up reading super hero comic books or watch them on TV or in the movies. The theme was always that good will always triumphs over evil, if the world were only that simple.
In the real world, we are around heroes all the time we just don’t see them or recognize what they have done as heroic. The Police, Firefighters, EMT’s, Doctors, Nurses are the heroes we most often see. The men and women in the Armed Forces are also heroes though we don’t often see them every day.
But how is the average worker in the world a hero? Well every day someone saves the day by doing little things like moving a ladder, placing a sign so people won’t slip and fall. Someone else finds a missing file so the company doesn’t go under because of a mistake. The email the boss has written is fixed for grammar mistakes that might have sent the wrong message to the client. (Be there, done that.) The things people do matter and should be recognized.
Coaching Reminder: Clients will often overlook the work they do as significant, but remind them that what they do maybe very important.
People often think the only way to be a hero is a grand gesture, but little things count as well. Have you ever done something small like hold open a door or helped someone pick up the books they have dropped and the say something like, “Well thank you that made my day” The gesture might have seemed small to you but it really helped someone who might have had a bad day. Don’t disregard the things you do every day they can mean allot to someone else. Do small things seem too small to be considered heroic? Well that is you own judgment call, but be easy on yourself. We have all made a small gesture like holding the door or waving someone through in traffic and the other person shows no gratitude or any acknowledgement and that can sting or even make you mad. How do you handle a situation like that? Does it ruin your whole day? The other person is not a villain they are just a person who forgets to be gracious and grateful.
Coaching: Reminding the client to live their life being grateful everyday can lead them to be a happier person overall.
You can be grateful to the hero who just saved your life and thankful that they were there to help you. But if you do the same for someone else do you do it because you want the glory and the praise or do you do it because it is the right thing to do? Being the hero can often be being the right person at the right time in the right location. We do not search for these situations and we certainly don’t cause them to happen but we have to react when they do happen.
I am always impressed with what people will do how they band together to help others. The human spirit is to help one another and in a crisis that is exactly what can happen. A car accident, a fire, or a flood, or whatever the emergency people just jump in to help. People in action to save each other this is heroism. There are also the people who are there to help after the fire is out to help clean up after floods who are also heroes, they are often forgotten, but they are heroes none the less.
Client reminder: Some clients will only be able to donate money to a cause and not count it as doing enough. Remind the client that money can be used to help so many and that even $5 can help.
Ok after all that you still don’t want to be the hero, how about being the sidekick? The sidekick plays a very important role in the life of the hero. The sidekick is support and backup to the hero and will step in to save the hero when the hero is in trouble. Being the sidekick is a great position and can feel great to be supportive. Unless you are the boss at your job, then you are a sidekick to someone else. Remember that the hero cannot do their job without the faithful sidekick. Sidekick equals hero with a lower case h.
Coaching Insight: Being support staff is important role and the client needs to remember that, remind them.
Sometimes being the hero is playing the villain. What I mean is that you can play a villain and let your kids be the heroes. Hero as villain can also be the person who is playing devil’s advocate to another person. The “hero” wants to do something they know they shouldn’t and you as the “villain” are there to stop them. Even playing a villain can make you a hero.
Coaching: Coaches in certain situations can be asked to play the Devil’s advocate, be careful not to give your personal views. For a Coach playing the Devil’s advocate can lead to brain storming or letting the client vent what is plaguing their mind.
You are a hero when you live by your morals and do what is right even though you may be tempted.
All heroes will stumble and fall from grace, we are the same. A hero will take their lumps and apologize and try to make a mends. You cannot always make the right choices even though you try, don’t beat yourself up to much. We all make mistakes and most of them are not going to end the world.
Coaching: Ask the client if they make choices that are in line with their morals and what it means to them. A follow up could be a question about how they feel when they choose to ignore their personal set of morals.
Sometimes just being there for another can make you a hero. Sometimes the person who needs “saving” just needs someone to listen to what they have to say. Have you ever had someone ask you to just listen; they don’t need or even necessarily want a response but just for someone to listen. Listening to those who need to be heard is another act of heroism.
Coaching: As Coaches we are often in this role as listener, it is our job. Be ready for each client and ready to listen, really listen to your client.
In society the word hero is not used very often, but maybe it should be. Hero is usually reserved for the big events that make the news. Those people who save lives are often just the average person who wanted to help and they take little credit for their actions, they are often just glad things worked out. Sometimes try as they might the actions of a-would be hero don’t work out and bad things happen anyway. Those people they are still heroes because they tried. They took a risk and went in to action and they tried. If you try something and you fail in your task it does not mean that you are not a hero. Action in the face of trouble is heroism in itself.
Maybe if you are not comfortable with the word “hero” then try to think of another word that you are more comfortable with and you can use that in the place of hero. What word would you use that is descriptive to helping people?
You do not have to give your life to be a hero; you don’t have to bleed to be a hero you just have to be you. Help others in need that is what is at the core of every hero and what can drive you to be a good person.
Maybe you are the one who needs saving, you need your own hero. Allot of people will help others but they don’t know how to ask for help. Have you ever been asked directly to be someone’s “hero” and the task is helping them move a coach or pick up their kid from Daycare? Yes, sometimes being a hero can be that simple. You don’t have to wear a cape and a mask to be a hero, but it can be fun at Halloween. Everyone one of us can be a hero and not even realize how much we have helped another person.
If you really want to be a hero, then help others when they ask for help. Being a “good guy” might just mean being a good person. A “good guy” doesn’t mean that you have to be a guy at all. Being the “good guy” doesn’t mean that you have to be young or strong, just a good person.
If you still doubt that you are a “hero” then make a list of all the good deeds you have performed for others with nothing in it for yourself. Don’t dismiss the small things that you might find insignificant. After a while you will find that list might be kind of long. The nice things about lists are that they are permanent in a way and the list of good deeds can always grow.
Coaching: I like to have my clients make lists, it is a method I employ and encourage you to try.
I was going to add the Dictionary definition of a hero, but I found it to be sexist and too narrow a field to describe the word. If you are still curious then go look it up.
Coaching Insight: I really didn’t like the dictionary definition; try asking your client what the word “hero” means to them.
To me hero is a word without the limitations of the dictionary. I am not trying to say that I have redefined the word, but I like the idea that it can mean so much to me and hopefully to other people.
You are a hero to someone else as your heroes are to you. A hero is not someone who is perfect, not someone who always makes the correct choices, just a person who tried to make a difference.
If you find yourself struggling with thinking of who your heroes are think back to your childhood. The hero may have been a real person or fictitious but it doesn’t matter. Think about what that person did, their actions and think of the reasons they did them. As an adult “Super Heroes” might now seem silly but the central message was usually the same, help others in need and be a good person.
Think back to the original question,
What kind of super powers do you want to have?
What answers did you come up with, flying or invisibility or something much better. Understanding, compassion, helping, being nonjudgmental are great powers though not as sexy as flying but just as important.
Being a hero is not about being a person with super powers, but just a person who is caring and willing to commit to action to help others in need.
You are a hero whether or not you hear that word, you are a hero. You don’t have to ask the question anymore,
When will I be a Hero?
You have been one this whole time. Rest well your work is done for the day.
Coaching Final: I hope that this article shows in some way the importance of reminding clients that they matter. Bridge up your client’s, show them support and show them how to support themselves.