A Coaching Power Tool Created by Bonnie Duarte
(Transformational Coach, CANADA)
Throughout our life we are taught to have knowledge and to collect information. In school we are taught subjects like arithmetic, language and science, and we are tested on these subject to see how much we have learned and how much knowledge we have retained. You likely have heard “Knowledge is Power”. Knowledge can almost be commodified. There seems to be a continuous battle to know more. We love being able to have knowledge at our finger tips. This is why googling has become so instrumental in so many of our days to day lives.
However, you may notice that knowledge does not always get you to where you want to go. We often say to ourselves, I know how to do it; but I still don’t do it. Or I know what I have to do, but I just can’t do it. Despite all of our knowledge we still feel stuck and cannot move forward. For example we know how to lose weight: simply eat less and exercise more. But, many of us still do not do what we know we need to do. How often have you been so certain that you known something and said to yourself: I know what will happen, or, I know what she will say. The question arises; Do you really know? How often have you been surprised by an outcome that you were certain was going to be very different? But, rather it went in an entirely different direction.
Allison and her mother had had a very difficult relationship for over 20 years. But happily, over that past few years there has been a complete turn around in their relationship. Through greater self awareness Allison had come to see the effects of her judging her mother; she asked herself; Is me being in my mothers life make her life better? Sadly, she saw no it didn’t. From there a brand new relationship started to emerge. They no longer fought or argued, but, rather there was seemingly much more love and acceptance from both parties, much more than ever before.
And then one day Allison had to tell her mother that due to her busy schedule she may not be able to call her as often, although she would still try; and her mother understood. About one month later Allison then calls her mother, but Allison felt very badly and guilty for not calling her mother sooner. When Allison’s mother picked up the call she was quite short on the call and very soon into the conversation her mother said she had to go, but said she would call back in a few days. But, she never did. Allison knew without a doubt that her mother was extremely upset with her, and why wouldn’t she be. Allison knew she should have called sooner.
Each day that Allison’s mom did not call, it was even more apparent that she was very upset and hurt by Allison. Allison then became very afraid to call her mother. She did not want to hear the disappointment, anger or sadness in her mother’s voice. She simply became too afraid to call, almost paralyzed by the fear. Christmas was nearing, and the guilt just grew and grew; but, she knew she had to call before Christmas arrived. So the moment came when Allison finally gained the courage to pick up the phone, she was literally trembling with fear. She called her mothers home, but there was no answer. Allison knew what this meant. She knew her mothers health was extremely poor and she feared she could have died or at best be in the hospital. After a bit of ground work she soon found out her mother was in the hospital. Allison called immediately.
The hospital put her through to her mother. Allison greeted her mother and her mother said, “Oh, dear it is so lovely to hear your voice” Allison said, “but aren’t you mad at me?” The mother replied, “How could I ever be mad at you? You are my angel”. Allison sobbed as she heard this. As she was so certain that her mother had been terrible mad at her for several months. Allison’s mom said, “Don’t you remember, what we told each other…If one person doesn’t call this does not mean they are mad, it just means they are busy and they love you and they are always thinking about you – This is what we promised – Remember?” And she was right this is what they promised. Allison was filled with joy and relief. Thank goodness she didn’t know. It was so great to be wrong.
We go through life knowing so much. We have such certainty about the way things are, or the way things should be. Consider that things in life are never the way we think they are – never! It could be said that whatever we think we know we don’t actually know. What we know is only a perspective, it is not the truth; maybe a fragment of the truth, but certainly not THE truth. When we are set on “knowing” something or someone, we are actually limiting our view and seeing someone or something through blinders. When you think you already know something you cannot see it in its entirety. You can only see one point of view. It would be like everyone being blind folded and touching a different part of an elephant and one person describing the trunk while another person describes the ear but each thinking they see the whole elephant. We could document all the facts about that part of the elephant, and believe we are right and we could be, but we would be missing the whole picture…the whole elephant – The larger truth.
Imagine not knowing, but rather coming from a place of wonder or curiosity. Picture what the world look like – What a wonderful place of discovery. For example, using the elephant analogy, we may each be touching a different part of the elephant and we could be curious about each person’s experience – What do they feel? How is it different from what I am touching?
How do you feel or act when you are always thinking you know what your partner will say. Now, imagine being curious about what he will say. Describe the differences? What happens when we become curious about our loved ones and start asking them interesting questions because we care what their thoughts are? What happens when we become curious and interested in them? When we are being curious about something or someone, anything is possible and we provide a space for wonderful miracles to occur.
- What are examples in your life, where you thought you knew something, but you were wrong?
- What would your life look like if you stop knowing everything?
- What is the power of asking questions or being curiosity in your life?
When a client comes to you with their perception of what they know it is essential to honor this and to acknowledge this – As this is their personal truth. But, it is essential for the coach to understand that this is not the fact. Rather more importantly it is not THE truth or the only truth. As coach we want to create opportunity for our clients to look beyond their current belief and be curious about other possible truths. Explore curiosity with your clients. Have fun with curiosity.
Some power questions for your clients may be…
- Is what you saying the only truth?
- What if what you were saying was not the truth?
- What is the evidence to support what you know?
- What is the evidence to disprove what you know?
You may even chose to take your client on a wild vivid made up journey that has extreme truths and invite them to include this in there bag of knowledge. Introduce to them that a truth is only a perspective, so knowing something leaves more to discover and be curious about than having a finite answer or perspective.
- How could not knowing impact your clients?
- How can you support your clients through this process?
- How does curiosity empower your clients?