Last week I was talking with another coach about something I was pondering over.
With a wry smile she said ‘I’m going to ask you a really annoying coaching question’
I said – “oh I know what you’re going to say, ‘If I knew the answer what would I say?”
She nodded. We laughed.
We so often know the answer, but there is usually something getting in the way of us taking action. In my experience (for me personally and for my clients) it’s normally fear. Fear has several disguises.
- Fear of not getting it right (perfectionism)
- Fear of it not working out and all that effort for nothing. (fear of wasting time and energy on the wrong thing)
- Fear it’s not the right answer (fear of failure) Sometimes the only way to find out the best solution is to test, which involves taking action.
Talking things through with someone else helps us to clarify our thoughts that churn round in our own heads like an echo chamber.
Sometimes your listener will have an alternative solution, ideas to add or provide confirmation that you’re getting in your own way and help you to take the first step to taking action (to achieve the answer that you already know).
When I ask clients this question, I often feel it’s the worst and most annoying question ever, up there with ‘Where do you see yourself in five years time?’
And I’m wrong.
Having been asked it recently I’ve realised that it’s a very powerful question.
- It’s powerful because it gives us permission to admit we know the answer without losing face about not taking action.
- It helps us to be decisive with low stakes. There’s less pressure because we’re only pretending that we know the answer.
- It can help us explore and articulate several options, and the impact of each option.
And for these reasons this powerful question helps us to think. And typically it’s not easy to make time to think which makes this question very valuable indeed.
The next time you’re stuck, ask yourself, ‘What would you do if you knew the answer?’ and see where your thinking goes.
And if you’d like to chat about coaching or mastermind groups where you get to time to think, space to unlock answers and help to get unstuck, book a discovery call here.