Every now and then, I get a course-correction I didn’t even realize I needed. I’m going along, doing my work as a coach, and BAM. One of my clients will call me out. This happened last week with a client I’ve been coaching for about 18 months. She told me, “I need you to be more YOU”.
When I came into corporate work from community organizing, I realized I was different from other coaches and facilitators. Lots of people have a knack for seeing right through someone’s untrue narrative. Not everyone has the courage to call it out. I do.
This courage is not popular all the time. I could give hundreds of examples (if not thousands) from my lifetime of hearing things like,
“If you could just keep your mouth shut…”
“Why do you always have to be so direct?”
“Ouch. Why you gotta call me out like that?”
After a while, it wears me down. I start feeling like that courage is actually more of a curse. I try to make myself less offensive. I get smaller. I try to take up less space. I try to make less noise.
But it causes a problem for me. I get frustrated. I feel like I have to try and be something I’m absolutely not. I become resentful at feeling like I have to please others.
This client hired me because of that courage, as do many of my clients. She displayed some courage of her own and confronted me about why I seemed frustrated. She asked for my honesty and courage. When I explained that I’d become frustrated from holding back so as not to offend her, she smiled at me.
“But my dear Ellen, that’s exactly why I hired you.”
Oh. Oh, yeah. That’s right. I was myself in our first call. And for a good long while after that. But lately, I had been having that beaten down feeling. It has come in cycles through my life.
I’m getting better at recognizing when I’m changing my behavior in a way that is out of alignment with who I am. I’m remembering that I can craft a message in a way that the person receiving it can really hear me and still be true to my courage.
Who needs you to be more YOU?