A Quality of Thought:
What To Do When You Just Don’t Know!
Coaching is all about change. All about challenging and stretching ourselves beyond what we would normal think, feel and do to create a different result from the one we’ve been getting.
It’s no surprise, then, that the phrase “I don’t know” makes many an appearance, most-often as a first response when being asked to push past some previously-insurmountable obstacle. And of course, it’s the coach’s role to support her client to move beyond that first answer.
But what about those times when we’re perpetually stuck at “I Don’t Know”?
When we’re coaching ourselves and we just can’t think our way beyond “I don’t know”?
Here are 3 thinking strategies to get you moving again:
- Check for fear. Ask yourself: do I really not know? Or do I actually know … but I’m scared to say it. Because I’m scared to do it. So much of our “stuckness” is rooted in simple fear. And to ignore that reality is to stay stuck. So get real and honest and face-up to the fear first.
- Shift the story. And move the mindset on from “I don’t know … and I’ve no idea what I’m doing” to “I don’t know … but I will soon – and I’m massively excited to be working on filling in the gaps”. “I don’t know” doesn’t have to come with an unresourceful state of mind.
- Act! On what you do know. There are always bits and pieces that we do know. Ok, not the complete picture. But I don’t need that. I need just a few pieces of the puzzle – and that’s enough to get to work on. Answers will reveal themselves in the act of work.
And a final thought to add:
Watch for the stealthily-unhelpful phase “I know”.
As in: “I know I should … ” or “I know all that … ” or “I know what you’re going to say … ” or “I know it’s important to do … “. These “I knows” are not so helpful. Because they close-down any further enquiry or attention – and no action results.
“I know what to do … and I’m going to do … ” + immediate and massive action on that knowledge is excellent. Make that your only allowable “I know … ” strategy.