The coaching industry is becoming an established, multi-million industry. Where in the past it was almost a humiliation to admit that you needed support to achieve something, these days it's seen more and more like a cool thing to have a coach by your side.
This makes that there are 'coaches' popping up everywhere. And by now you can probably fill an entire dictionary with all the different kinds of 'coaches' under every letter of the alphabet.
And as such, this isn't a bad thing. OK, some questions might arise around the quality of the support you can get, but I'm pretty convinced that the wheat will be separated from the chaff once the field becomes fully normalised and the sexiness of stepping in the industry is beyond us.
But as said, it isn't a bad thing that you can find support for almost every little aspect of life. The challenges we face, the societal pressure we put on ourselves, and the external stimuli we constantly get, have never in history been higher than today. So, yes, I totally understand the need for support.
The big question, however, is WHEN do you actually need to reach out for support? From the moment you feel yourself struggling a bit
? Or is it a good thing to hustle yourself through some things for a while?
Keep on reading, and learn to identify the sweet spot between trying things by yourself and asking for help
The world is so fast-paced these days, that we want an instant solution for everything, right away, at every moment of the day. When you have the slightest doubt about something, you just take your smartphone out of your pocket and the big Google oracle will provide you with the answer. And thanks to the excellent 4G coverage (which will soon even be 5G), you can do this everywhere, and get your answer within a blink of the eye. Actually, you don't even have to take your smartphone anymore. You can simply ask Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant, which all have portable and home versions.
So answers are everywhere and instantly available.
Does this make that we have forgotten the art of struggling?
It does seem so.
Now to be clear, I'm not pleading for a less technological world. I use technology all the time myself, and I'm very close friends with my Alexa.
But sometimes, it is a very good thing to hustle things through, to not have an instant answer to one of your questions, to let your mind wander in every direction, and try and experiment different things to find a solution.
This is especially the case with the more personal and philosophical questions of life: What are my real goals in life/business? How can I make my team follow me in realising those goals? How do I become a stronger, more recognised leader?
Sure there are Google-style answers to those questions, but they will only direct you to a model or set of questions you can go through, which will hopefully provide you with the answers. But who says that that specific model will help YOU
? Who says that YOU
will be able to answers that set of questions? And even if it is the right model for YOU
, and even if YOU
are able to answer all the sub-questions, YOU
still have to do the work. And what about the challenges that YOU
have to go through to translate and implement your findings into a behavioural change so that your life will
There are no instant answers or solutions for those things! You still have to do the work, and you will still have to dabble through the muddy terrain which is also called 'personal (or professional) development'.
The good news, however, is that -despite the fact that you have to do some things by and on yourself- we can define a sweet spot where you don't have to ponder over things too long, but still just long enough, and don't ask for help too soon, so you miss out on the real depth of your wandering mind.
That sweet spot is an important point. Because when you don't spend enough time really trying to figure things out and ask for help too soon, then it will probably not lead to a real in-depth behavioural change that really sticks with you (for example, can you recall the answer that Google has given you 5 days ago?).
If you wait too long to call for help, you're probably stuck in your own thinking routine, overthinking things and wasting valuable time.
So where is that sweet spot?
Well, the first suggestion I can give you, is to never ask another How?-question ever again
A How?-question stops your thinking and sets you in a state of expecting an external answer to come to you, without doing any work yourself.
The second suggestion I would like to give, is to upgrade your questions
. Don't just stop at asking the question. Give context to your question: a historical overview of what you've done to get to that specific question.
Let me give you a few examples:
- Instead of asking 'How can I make my team follow me in realising our goals?', think about the following things:
- What is it that I've already done while trying to make my team follow me?
If you haven't tried anything before asking the question, you're making it too easy on yourself.
- What are my sources of knowledge that I've already had a look at to find a solution for this challenge?
Knowing where to find your answer is even more important than actually having a solution.
- What have I seen others do in similar situations?
You don't have to invent everything over again, steal with pride.
- Looking back on all the things I've already tried, had a look at, and saw others do, then what is my specific challenge?
This will formulate your upgraded question.
- Instead of asking 'How can I find and formulate my true goals in life/business?', formulate it like this: I've had clear goals in the past, now my environment and situation have changed, leaving me wondering what my next steps could be. I've already thought about doing so or so, I've even tried some stuff out, but this didn't give me the satisfaction I'm really looking for. It feels as if there is something bigger to achieve, but I'm not sure what it is, and I don't have the financial freedom to just go in all different directions and explore what that thing might be. So I'm in search of my next big step, and I need it pretty fast. What could be the next step that I can take to achieve that financial freedom to freely search my true goal?
Sounds like a complete other question, that might take you into a completely different direction than the first version, don't you think? That's the power of an upgraded, non-How?-question!
So the next time you're struggling with a more philosophical question (=one that doesn't have -and doesn't need to have- an instant answer), take some time to upgrade your question, and transform it into a non-How?-question. When you're ready doing so, then please come to me so we can even take it multiple steps further and deeper, because then you're in the right state, and exactly in the sweet spot, to really make a change!
I'm already looking forward to hearing your upgraded questions!
In case you're still struggling to find your upgraded question even after a few experiments, don't hesitate to reach out to me and I'll be happy to guide you through the maze of your thoughts towards your new and improved question.
And if you already have one, let yourself be challenged by me! I'm always in for a conversation.
Just reply to this blog, or simply grab a spot in my agenda.
Click the button below, choose the location [London, Belgium or online], choose your sparring partner, select a re-connect or Clarity-session, and claim the moment that fits best for both of us, it's that easy.
Written by Dennis Fredrickx
, Coach for Ambitous Leaders
Dennis helps Ambitious Leaders to reach more in an easier way.