I’ve been thinking about the difference that makes the difference… what’s the difference that makes the difference between surface level change and deep, systemic change?
What’s the difference between a good coach and a great coach, a masterful coach?
I often hear some of the “super coaches” talk about the difference that makes the difference between a good coach and a great coach is a great coach asks good questions.
But when the focus is on asking “good” or “deep” questions the emphasis, the focus is in the wrong place and misses the point.
It’s not about “deep” questions, it’s about what the questions you ask DO.
When I reflect on the coaches, trainers and mentors I’ve worked with as a client over the years, the ones that have made the most profound difference, real systemic change that has elevated my performance in relationships, life and my career and continues to develop me well beyond the end of my time with them, all have something in common. It’s not about the questions they asked, but what those questions revealed. What they all have in common is their ability to help me to sense into my BLINDSPOTS.
That’s what makes a question good.
And some blindspots have more bang for buck than others. Which is why learning the Enneagram has been particularly potent for me personally, professionally and for my community.
Learning the enneagram allowed me to go straight to THE BLINDSPOT, the difference that would make the difference for my clients. Go straight to the heart of what was limiting them, what was stopping them from being exceptional at what they do, what was causing drama, relationship friction, stress. The blindspot which once revealed, would lead to a relaxing and releasing of behaviour patterns that were getting in their way. The blindspot that would show them how they had been unconsciously limiting themselves and holding themselves back from being exceptional.
I remember reading about a tennis player in performance coach, Todd Herman’s book Alter Ego (freaking awesome book, very well done, read it) who he was utterly perplexed by. She was a brilliant tennis player. She would begin a game of tennis and be absolutely destroying her opponent. She was demonstrating she had all the skill she needed to win… easily. She should have been a star. But something quite puzzling would happen part way through the game when it was as if all her skills just disappeared and she would lose the game. Todd just couldn’t figure it out. Eventually he took her into a different context which is where he discovered more about the kind of person she was, or at least the kind of person she was showing up as and how that was effecting her game. Turns out, she was incredibly empathetic, she cared a lot about how other people felt and was self sacrificing in service to the needs of others, a helper. She believed she MUST be good and kind… always. So, out on the court she would be destroying her opponent and then at some point she would start thinking about how the other person was feeling on the other side of the net and how bad they would feel about how badly they were losing to her, and at that point she was unconsciously throwing the game.
And we might not all have “the helper” or the “good girl” pattern going on, but we all have some self concept that limits us. The strong one, the expert, the smart one, the reliable one, the perfectionist, etc Some idea of who we think we are, who we must be, who we must not be, a deeply unconscious self concept and idea about how the world works that limits us from being able to tap into whatever is required in the moment to achieve the greatest result.
I remember wondering if Todd was familiar with the enneagram because he probably would have made that discovery a hell of a lot faster if he had. With the enneagram these blindspots are all right there in front of us.
The difference that will make the difference. Right there.
Take a singer with vocal skill. She’s got the voice, it’s beautiful, angelic even. She has technique and skill. She has experience. She can move people in certain ways with her voice… but if she believes she must only ever be good and sweet and kind and loving and that anything that is not that, is unacceptable and could lead to her being unlovable, rejected by others, then her emotional range as a performer is limited and the degree to which she can connect with her audience and move people emotionally is seriously limited, and so is her success.
And it’s all right there. People’s enneagram blindspots. If you watch and listen, it’s all right there. Go straight to the heart of the difference that is going to make the difference for this person.
As a coach – that’s gold. It’s not about asking good questions, it’s about helping people to sense into the blindspot that is holding them back.
And of course as a coach, there are additional benefits, you also have your own enneagram blindspots right? Limiting your own performance as a coach. What kind of results you’re able to get, the kind of people you’re able to get results for.
And because our blindspots are so unconscious, we can take these perceptual filters for granted and assume that the way we’re seeing the world, is the world. This means we can impose our own self concept on others. Learning the enneagram can help us to facilitate more cleanly and ecological by helping us to get out of our own limited perceptions.
And once we truly see, often for the first time, suddenly a world of possibility opens up for us where we can see how we’ve been caught up doing dumb stuff that doesn’t serve us and what we need to do to be rocking our own unique potential.
At my Live Online Enneagram Course ; The Art of Being You, you will see yourself and others more fully than ever before and with this embodied knowledge, you will experience profound transformation that allows you to rock every aspect of yourself more consistently, to truly succeed in the art of being you.
It takes a little bit of guts to be willing to sense into our blindspots, but we do it with a whole lotta love and compassion and it’s worth it for the gift of wholeness and becoming the highest expression of yourself.
come with me…