Much bigger than denial…

In a similar way that others may collect vintage egg beaters, table cloths and sneakers, I collect questions. I am a shameless collector. If I hear a good question I calmly snatch it from the air and pop it into the mental file labeled’ for use in client sessions, as relevant’.

The questions do however need to have a certain quality. Ask a simple ‘Why’ question and people go shopping for an answer in their minds. You can witness this, ask your partner, your kids and colleagues ‘Why’ and they tend to ‘go to some place’ to find an answer usually in the past. Ask a ‘What’ and people feel it out, are somehow more deliberate about their choice and sometimes see something completely new. Coaches like ‘what’ questions, they help folks shift their regular patterns.

This week I read a great question. It asked ‘What are you pretending not to know?’ mind reeled and then I looked around me looking for clues… ‘What am I pretending not to know?…wow, um…probably quite a lot of things. I am pretending not to know that it is definitely my time to unload and reload the dish washer. I am pretending not to know that I need to go to the dentist. I am pretending not to know a whole slue of more edgy things around why I lost a good friend and that I am far more capable of a bunch of things than I give myself credit for, also that …..ooh do I have to say it out loud? No I don’t, but inside I am very aware what I am pretending not to know and the impact it has on me and possibly others.

There were a couple of situations in sessions this week where I was given the perfect opportunity to use this question. One of which was met with a kind of painful animal like grunt from my client, followed by an incredibly insightful response. This question is a powerful question indeed.

So powerful infact, that I really must attend to that dishwasher…

What are you pretending not to know this week? And what will you do about it?

© RBC – Working together to nourish lives
A Red Barn Coaching initiative

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August 2009
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