I am possessed by this obligation, she said. Possessed! Possessed she repeated…did you hear me? That’s why I lead. I am obligated to others to help them succeed.
Quite an emotional response to a seemingly obvious follow up question. The first question I had asked was far too open. But open by my design. Where would she go with a leading question of “why are you a leader?”
Typically responses cover a wide area of inviting conversation. Such as one CEO who peered over his glasses a bit arrogantly, and after a holistic sigh answered with a confident whisper of; “because everyone tells me I’m good at it…and I agree”. One rising star put it quite straight forward with, “because I’m the best damned salesman they ever had”. One of my long term Coaching clients was a bit more challenging when we first met, countering with ” in truth, I’m still trying to discover the answer to your question, as I continue to fool those who choose to follow…why do they follow me?”. Over the years, this has been one of my favorite open ended questions with new Coaching clients.
But now, my new client, sitting in front of me, still judging just why we are meeting, hardly moved her lips when she calmly answered with 3 words. “it’s quite simple”. I thought to myself it can’t be all that simple in light of the dysfunction between her and her Team.
And, that was it. I was defeated at my own game. I had hoped for something a bit more descriptive. Something that invited one of my famous deep probing follow ups. And as I considered which arrow to pull from my quiver of digging deeper questions, it struck me. I thought to my self…wait. My follow up question would be to wait for her. There’s obviously more, and we would both wait for her to take another breath.
Moments seemed like minutes which seemed like eternity. Then she rose a bit in her chair and leaned forward. By now her fair complexion was reddened. It seemed if she had something to throw, I was the easy target. With her eyes nearly crossed in rage over having lost the tug of war of waiting, she shouted it. Yes, she shouted it. “I am possessed by this obligation, she said. Possessed! Possessed she repeated…did you hear me? That’s why I lead. I am obligated to others, to help them succeed.”
Then who I asked her, who are you led by?
And now I ask you… Why are you a Leader?
If you want to learn more about the Rare Leader™ in you,
or if you are interested in retaining Steve as your Executive Coach,