I remember showing up at a coaching conference where I was a featured speaker. Milling with the crowd before the event, I fell into conversation with a small group. One of the women leaned forward with a puzzled look on her face and said, “I’m sorry – I didn’t get your name”.
I smiled, extended my hand and introduced myself, “Michele Woodward.”
She looked even more puzzled. “Michele Woodward?” She cocked her head curiously and said, “You sound…taller on the phone.”
I had no snappy response to that one, believe me.
Turns out she’d participated in several webinars and teleclasses I’d led and had decided I was a towering, formidable glamazon.
I’m certain my friendly, curvy, five-foot-six self was an eensy-weensy bit of a surprise.
If I had been her coach, I would have asked her to explore why she needed to make me into a mythical character. What thoughts did she have about what it takes to be successful as a coach? How were those ideas perhaps holding her back?
Sometimes we simply can’t ask ourselves those questions because we’re so caught up in our anxiety and pre-conceived notions.
That’s when a coach can be helpful.
People ask me all the time, “Why do you do what you do?” Why all this “coaching”, this writing, this speaking? Why are you not taller?
(OK, I’ve only been asked that last one once.)
When I think about my “why”, it comes down to this: People are often so close to their situation that they can’t get any perspective. They’re so close that they can’t see context and go on to create a lot of angst and worry which then saps their energy and keeps them stuck in the same endless, grinding loop – making no progress.
I know how to fix this.
I provide objective feedback, an outside eye, which breaks up the frustration of being stuck. And creates forward movement.
It works because I have no dog in your fight – I don’t care where you work, how much money you make, who reports to you, where you buy your shoes – I just want you to be fully yourself and do whatever you’re here to do.
And you can bet I’m a fierce warrior for you on that point.
A friendly, curvy, five-foot-six warrior, that is.