By: Kim Green
Asking powerful questions is a necessary skill that is crucial to our success as coaches so that our clients can have the life that they want. Although, I am familiar with the concept of powerful questions, I never expected a powerful question to do what it has done to me or my coaching. Last Tuesday’s class will not leave my mind. The class started with a whopper of a question, “What would it mean to say I am at full choice in my life?”
What would it mean?
Without even knowing it, this question sank so deeply into my brain that it totally changed the direction of my coaching.
Another of my clients is a single mother of a 14-year old son. She was born and raised in Atlanta. After she graduated from college, she decided to move to Asia. I use the world “decide” instead of choose, because there were truly no other options for her; Asia called and she listened. What’s most impressive is that she stayed there for 15 years! And while there, she created a marvelous career, became fluent in Mandarin, married, had a child, divorced, and still stayed even after the divorce. When she chose to move back to Atlanta, a few years ago, it was not without doubts.
Much of our coaching has been about getting her re-acclimated to America and the South. She wanted coaching on finding a job in Atlanta after freelancing for several years. So, we coached around finding a job, enhancing her resume, making her LinkedIn page more dynamic, etc., networking in her field…we even talked about interview attire. She has been an incredibly coachable client. But, in our last session, something shifted. We had talked about purpose already and that day I brought up being at full choice. Something happened. I had heard the exhaustion in her spirit, as she spoke about trying to find a job in Atlanta. But as soon as we dived deeper and “choice” came up, she said the most amazing thing that she has ever said. “I really don’t like Atlanta. It has never felt like my home.”
So, then I asked the question that Lynn always suggests, “What do you really want?”
“To move back to Asia.” It was as simple as that.
And she means it. I could hear it in every fiber of her body. And so I promptly created awareness around the fact that she has always sounds so excited about China, but she stops, short. “I don’t want to do that to my son.” When there was space and time for her to digest the awareness of how her “obligation” to her son, stopped her from being who she is, she went on… “Yeah! That’s what has been bugging me. Now, we’re getting somewhere.”
I was happy for this shift. As her coach, I was secretly excited that on that day, she understood that her wanderlust is her gift and it shouldn’t be stifled. If they were to go back to Asia, her son won’t be far from home, because his Mom is his home. He may not love the choice to go back, but what a difference it would make for his mom and therefore what a difference her new light would make for him.
As we delved deeper into this exciting prospect, there was a palpable excitement emerging from her that I had never heard before. She was talkative and exuberant, not slow with her words and tentative like she usually is. I could hear her happiness. “It’s funny people always say to me, I wish I had done something like that, after college.” She laughs as she says, “I always ask them, why didn’t you?”
And for a second, I, too, felt an envious pang, wishing for the wanderlust spirit.
As we ended the call, I was aware that I had caused an important shift, in both of us. As a coach, I learned to stay with my client. Hear what they love and take them to it.
So, as we say close out the call, I am hopeful for my client, who will spend this week, searching for employment in Asia, which will bring a smile to her face.
Where does your heart belong? Or rather, “What would it mean to say I am at full choice in my life?”
Kim Green is a writer and a student at The Institute for Life Coach Training. In this blog series, she has documented her experience as she goes through the Foundational training. To read about Kim's journey, click here.