Oftentimes, it’s only after space is made for the truth to come out that we can find the clarity and support we need.
Recently, one of my favorite clients and humans felt unsupported and unheard in our coaching session. They were thinking about hiring a team to do some work for them and I had slowed the conversation down to figure out the real win conditions for working with the team.
Thing is, the client didn’t start with their real win conditions. Instead of saying what they were really looking for, they cloaked it in “strategy” language. It might bring in leads. It might build a platform they could launch products from or get their next book deal.
As I and their partner started asking more questions about those objectives, they got ever more frustrated with us. It finally built up enough that they backed away, arms crossed, from the screen and their partner. I knew then that we were about to hear the truth.
And out it came.
They were frustrated that they had spent forty-five minutes talking, but were feeling muddier by the questions we were asking. They were fed up with writing and thinking and writing and thinking, but not actually publishing. They were demoralized by people not reading and engaging with their writing and work, while everyone was responding to their partner’s work. They were tired of the same three people commenting on their work, but no more than those three.
Their partner and I didn’t disagree, criticize, or provide a different perspective. We kept our clarifications to a minimum. They needed to get this out.
They weren’t looking to advance strategic objectives; they were yearning for recognition, appreciation, and significance.
Once they got it out, they could see the situation for what it was. In their own words, they were trying to force qualitative needs into economic language. We could now all see exactly how that team could help them and were 100% behind them.
But the clarity was only found by making space for the truth to come out.
This post is part of a series of “atomic essays” published on Twitter. The previous post from this series is about push and pull factors.
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