“What should I do?”, is arguably the phrase many Professional Coaches hear most often. High achieving folks have a tendency to believe they should be able to solve all their challenges by themselves. Most of my clients come to me with this particular belief firmly rooted in their operating system. Moreover, they believe they should solve problems for everyone around them as well.
This is an unproductive and even damaging belief, disguised as a helpful and loving one. If you really want to help yourself get past the big life questions that have you feeling stuck, then get over your ego (like I did and continue to do), and connect with someone outside yourself who understands the process of helping you figure out your own unique answer. If you want to help someone else, ask them questions to understand their “Why”, instead of jumping in with your (however wise and hard-earned) response to their problem.
This is a process, and it’s surprisingly difficult and often unnecessary to attempt alone. It’s a scientific fact that we cannot see the whole system when we are inside of it, whether it’s a car, a house, or a human being. And most of us are firmly inside of our own system of thinking, feeling and acting most, if not all, of the time.
So, what does a Professional Coach do differently when she or another poses the question, “What should I do?” If she leans more towards being a consultant, she might offer you her solution. But if she is a Professional Coach that looks at every so-called problem as an opportunity for a potential mind shift leading to transformation, she will do a version of the following 5 steps:
- Slow you down.
- Calm your nervous system so you feel safe, and are no longer in fight, flight, or hide mode.
- Ask questions that illuminate the underlying and often hidden beliefs that you are carrying around.
- Question those beliefs to mutually understand if any given belief is actually the “Truth”, or you’ve made it be “True” just for you.
- Slow you down, even more.
This is a powerful and elegant system that when done masterfully, can shine a bright and undeniable light on why the problem exists in the first place. It’s a system completely devoid of blame, shame, and guilt. Its main drivers are curiosity and compassion, 2 qualities that successful Professional Coaches embody in abundance.
But prepare to be patient, because understanding the beliefs that have often unconsciously been driving our actions, is only the beginning. Understanding the cause of our actions is a non-negotiable requirement for getting “unstuck”, but it’s not sufficient. Most of us are so excited by our new understanding of why the problem exists in the first place, and so empowered to change the old untrue and unhelpful beliefs as soon as possible, that we don’t slow down to perform the actual work required.
I’ve used the phrase, “slow down” in this blog more times than any good writer should – that’s intentional. As we end a year that feels like our whole world did nothing but slow down, let’s take some time to consciously and lovingly question our beliefs in every area of our lives. We rightly believe that taking better actions will lead to better results, and it starts with exploring, questioning, and often re-deciding our beliefs.