Blindspots

9e9ffd60742cdc3abfb60160110036f7A common objection to coaching is the reaction people feel to the idea that they might require somebody else in order to grow. This is simply not the case.  In fact, coaches hold the opposite: you're whole and complete right where you are, and, without any outside influence, you'll move along your path.  No matter what, you will be moving through life in your process.

What we do hold is that coaching provides one of a number of options to allow you to move forward with more purpose (identifying what you actually want and empowering you to go after it sooner) and momentum (getting you moving in the right direction, and increasing the velocity with which you do so).

Today I want to talk about one of the chief reasons that coaching can create powerful change: your blindspots.

We all have blindspots.  To see, is to have a blindspot.  While some people may argue that with sufficient introspection and reflection, we can see into every possible nook and cranny in our life, I disagree.  Even the most enlightened person has achieved their state through the assistance and reflection of the people in their lives.  Their friends, their family, their spouses.. even their pets, at times.

Blindspots provide us with both the juiciest and most elusive opportunities for growth.  Because we are generally unaware of our own blindspots, it is challenging and rare that we are afforded a glimpse of how they affect our daily lives.  This fact makes it difficult to act intentionally and with purpose towards something that sits in our blindspot.  Either we lack the awareness to do so, or we are unable to see the full picture so as to determine how to actually proceed.

However, people do grow and progress, so it's clear that blindspots don't completely hinder us.  In fact, as we live our lives, moving through our process, we inevitably will encounter events, situations and people that will bring our blindspot into focus.  Often, these occurrences will trigger very sharp focus, perhaps even painfully so.  Sometimes friends and family may even point them out to us inadvertently (or on purpose).  Unfortunately, while they are often well-meaning, the message lands painfully and at the wrong time, triggering a reaction from our survival mechanism.

Blindspots often coincide with areas and issues about which we are especially sensitive.  We might have developed stories about these particular things that we are unaware of (let alone recognizing them simply as stories and a place where we could choose something different).  Given time, and enough opportunity, we will have a blindspot reflected to us in a manner sufficient to overcome our resistance, and we will take on practices toward something different.  And so we grow.

Through coaching, we work with someone enrolled in our growth.  Your coach is someone standing for your absolute greatness: you operating at your highest purpose, without being slowed in your growth and progress.  Unlike your spouse, friends and family, who will have their own agenda when want to share insight with you, a coach will reflect to you without getting any of themselves in the way (in fact, we spend a lot of time training in this area).

As an example, consider the last time you offered advice to your friend who was unhappy at their job.  While you probably had the kindest of intentions, it is likely that your own story was playing out in your advice.  Some common ones are:

  • "Why don't they just take on something new?  Change has got to be better than sticking with this?"
  • "They need to just start applying to a lot of jobs.  It's the only way they'll create what they want, even if it is disheartening getting rejected."
  • "I don't know what they're afraid of - I applied to positions with no experience and I got hired!"
When people offer us advice, one of two things can happen:
  1. It might be given at just the right time, when we are open and receptive to it.  If it also aligns with what we believe we need to do at that time, and so we take it on.
  2. The rest of the time, that advice comes at the wrong time.  Maybe we weren't actually looking for advice, but only to be listened to.  Maybe the advice makes sense to the person giving it, but isn't right for us.  The bottom line is that no matter how good the advice is, it's not aligned with where we currently are, and we simply cannot hear it.

[Tweet "To see, is to have a blindspot."]

Working with a coach, we can bring ourselves present to our blindspots and take on action that is aligned with our commitments in a way that is simply not possible when working on our own.  The immutable fact is that people are capable of more when supported.

As a practice, take on writing down what you think your three biggest blindspots are.  Then, ask three people what they think your three biggest blindspots are.  What do you notice?