These days I am obsessed with why.
As Simon Sinek illustrated in his viral TEDx talk, plenty of people know what they do and they even know how they do it. But ask them why they do what they do?
Recently, I’ve been playing with simple and direct ways to figure out your why. Testing first on myself and then on two willing guinea pigs, I think I may have come up with a new tool to do it.
And now would be a pretty terrific time to ask, “Michele, why bother?” Or, even, “Speaking of why, Michele, why in the world do you do what you do?”
Funny, because just yesterday I was asked what I do for a living. When I replied, “I’m an executive coach”, the guy perked up and said, “What sport?” ["Uh...not a sport. I help people get better at their job, or find a job they'll like better." He eyeballed me. Then said, "Think you could help me?"]
I got exposed to the coaching world in early 2004 and was drawn immediately to the work of Thomas Leonard. Considered one of the founders of modern coaching, Leonard was an innovative thought leader in the field and the more I learned about him and his work, the bigger fan girl I became.
Leonard wrote this:
The professional coach is…
Your partner in achieving business and personal goals.
Your champion during a turnaround.
Your trainer in communication and life skills.
Your sounding board when making choices.
Your motivation when strong actions are called for.
Your unconditional support when you take a hit.
Your mentor in personal development.
Your co-designer when creating an extraordinary project.
Your beacon during stormy times.
Your wake-up call if you don’t hear your own.
And most importantly.
The professional coach is your partner in helping you have all of what matters most to you.
(Excerpted from Thomas Leonard‘s ‘How to Coach Anyone’ Solutions to 68 Common Coaching Situations published by Wealthy Thought Leader)
Leonard died in 2003, so I just missed knowing him personally. However, his legacy continues today via his co-author and colleague Andrea J. Lee, who I’m happy to call a friend. She posted the above on her Facebook page the other day which happily coincided with the exploration of my own why.
Super helpful, because Thomas’ words gave me a big context in which to frame my why.
Yes, my what is coaching – I do all of the things Thomas Leonard suggested in his list. And my how? Well, I use every bit of my training and experience in each coaching session. And I’m learning more every day.
But my why?
The thing that drives me?
The thing that causes me to wake up each morning eager to work with my first client at 7:15am? To speak with the guy in France despite the time zone and cultural challenges? To connect with you in Chicago? Or are you in San Francisco today? Maybe it’s Seattle this week?
What compels me to stand in front of the room with a clicker or a Sharpie in my hand, gesticulating wildly to make a point? What motivates me to write, speak and mentor?
What’s that kind of big, honking, super why?
My why is this: I want things to get better. For you, for me, for all of us.
And I absolutely know for certain that you can have exactly what you want - things can get so much better – when you are completely clear about who you are at your best and are brave enough to live that way.
So, I help people get clear and brave.
And then lives change for the better.
Then offices change for the better.
And families change for the better.
And neighborhoods, towns, cities, states, countries, worlds – all change for the better.
Sort of way out there big picture, but I’m sure you get the idea. You do, don’t you?
Completely thought you would.
Now, I told you mine. What’s yours?