Growing Into Who You Were Meant to Be

July 10, 2023

The Client's Journey

"What do I need to do to get ready to step into this role?"

My client (who gave me approval to tell his story) was an unemployed tech manager who was struggling to find a new role in a tough job market. He had a lot of interviews, a lot of nibbles that didn't pan out, and a lot of opportunities that he lost to more experienced candidates.

But all that looked like it might be about to change. He had just received an inside referral, and was staring down a promising potential new job.

The role he was asking about was one I knew well. I had trained several people into it. It required leadership, diplomacy, business acumen, you name it. But if my client were given the opportunity, I was confident that he would succeed. I took a breath.

"What exactly are you curious about?" I asked.

"Well," he said. "If I were to start tomorrow, I would want to have some kind of plan. A sort of 30-60-90-day idea of what I need to do."

The simplest thing in that moment would have been to just tell him. As a consultant, I feel like I start a new job every couple of months. I can make roadmaps for new roles in my sleep at this point. For my client, however, this would be his first new job in thirteen years. He could benefit from my breadth of experience, but some instinct told me to hold back.

"With your permission," I said. "I'd like to stay in a coaching stance for now." He grimaced; he knew what was coming next. "So let me turn it around on you. What do you think your 30-60-90 day plan should be?"

He paused for a long time. I stayed silent and let him work it out for himself.

"Well," he said. "After getting set up on their systems — email, Teams, and all that — I'd want to meet with all the stakeholders, both the program leaders and the leaders of the various teams..."

What happened over the next ten or so minutes was an experience I will never forget. I watched as my client transformed from a nervous, worried job supplicant into a capable and inspiring leader. In creating his plans for the new role, he moved himself into a better understanding of what the role required. With each new detail, he gave himself space to step into something bigger, something unexpected. In his mind he was already hired, and he surprised himself by watching himself succeed. As he wove the new position into a palpable dream state, I guided him with trivial questions. "And then what? And what about after that?" I had the distinct feeling, when he was nearing the end of his reverie, that I was talking to a different person.

He finished, and we could both feel something new in the air.

"So," I said. "Take yourself back to a few minutes ago, when you asked me for help. What has changed since then?"

"A lot. Wow. Thank you!"

"You're welcome," I said. "Great work. You're ready."

The Difference Coaching Makes

It's important to notice what did and didn't happen here. My client was able to get over a mental hurdle that was holding him back. That hurdle will be easier to jump the next time, and a few times after that there won't even be a hurdle there. That's the kind of growth that coaching enables.

But that doesn't change the underlying reality of the situation. Even with the breakthrough, my client still didn't have an offer for employment. He still might or might not get the job he was interviewing for. His physical day-to-day reality didn't change one bit.

Forget everything you've heard about "manifesting": the idea that you can imagine your dream life/job/lover and somehow that will magnetize that dream toward you, and then one day — POP! — the new thing shows up in reality. It's a nice idea, but the world doesn't work that way. Besides, there's a substantial amount of research to suggest that daydreaming your way to a better reality can actually be counter-productive. Spend enough time daydreaming, and you may well find yourself doing less practical work to make your dreams real.

But think about the next time my client steps into an interview. If he can recreate just a little bit of the magic he showed me, then he'll be just a bit more confident, just a bit more authoritative, and just a bit more relaxed. Over time, he will accrue a bunch of small advantages that will eventually add up. This isn't magical thinking. It's just that we are social animals. We respond to each others' attitudes, and we reward positivity.

By taking that journey of imagination with me, my client gave himself an undeniable edge that will, over time, pay off. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of his life.

That's what coaching can do for you. In coaching, we look for patterns of resistance, we look for our clients' personal saboteurs — those voices in their heads who love to remind them that they are doomed to fail — and we help them transform their fears and doubts into possibilities beyond what they can imagine.

And then we help our clients get to work making those dreams a reality, because dreams are useless until you can find a way to make them real.

How to Start Growing Your Life

If any of what I said above interests you, feel free to click the button below. Maybe you're not ready to make a big commitment, in which case I invite you to join my mailing list. It's free, and you have my promise that I will never sell your information. But I do intend to treat my subscribers with a veritable smorgasbord of ideas on how to make change happen in their lives.

Or, if you're ready to make a leap, you can use my Calendly link to book a free 60-minute consultation. That's your chance to get to know me, and to decide if you would like to be one of the small group of people I coach personally.

Whatever you choose, I wish you ridiculous success on your journey. May you grow into the person you always wished you could be!

Quick Coda

My client got the job. I stand by what I said about manifesting, but He. Got. The. Frickin'. Job.

Coaching really does work.

You can do so much more.
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