“What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” August 20, 2013 – Posted in: Confidence, Uncategorized – Tags: coaching, failure, success
This is one of my favourite coaching questions because it frees you up to a world of endless possibilities and injects a drop of confidence into your soul. Here’s a small example of how I’ve used this killer question recently with one of my clients…
Bill* has designed, produced and made a prototype of a new product. It’s brilliant, he knows it’s brilliant but he hasn’t marketed it. In fact, his belief in his abilities to market this awesome product has been so low that it has sat unused on a shelf in his front room for years. Every year that passes without Bill marketing his invention has resulted in him feeling even worse about his abilities to be a success in this area. Then he came for coaching.
Having established that Bill’s major stumbling block was confidence in his ability to sell his product, we started to talk about how he could become more assured. This drew a blank, as all he could think was that he had no experience in this field. His creative marketing juices started flowing when I asked him what Sir Alan Sugar would do in his situation. Bill generated a few ideas in response to this question but was still stuck in the, “But-I’m-not-Alan-Sugar-I’m-Bill” frame of mind. The real breakthrough came when I asked him, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”. His answer was something like this,
“Oh, that’s easy! I’d get onto Twitter and Facebook, organise a few local events for people to try the product, send a prototype to some influential people and contact my local paper to run a competition or something…”
So what happened? How did one question access Bill’s innate abilities so quickly? Quite simply, Bill was stuck in the, “I-don’t-know-how-to” fog but at this point he didn’t need to know ‘how’, he needed to know ‘what’ he could do. “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”, asked at a critical time, enabled him to suspend his lack of confidence for long enough to see that he did actually know what to do. And once we realised he knew what to do, he could then go about learning how to do it.
So often we can get caught up in the layers of our problems and a good coach can help you to separate the different elements so you can see the solution more clearly.