Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Inspire: To breathe life into.

Pretty daunting, if you think about it.

One of my clients has as a primary goal to become more inspiring. He’s in a leadership development phase of his career. We all know that an essential skill of a successful leader is the ability to inspire others. Thus, it’s truly important in that context. Who would willingly follow a leader who is not inspiring?

The question for coaching is this: Does a coach need to be inspiring in order to coach? Think about it. What would that look or sound like? Is it our role to “breathe life into a client?”

When using the words ‘inspire’ ‘inspiring’ ‘inspiration’ are we coaches just tossing around words to sound knowledgeable? Or are we truly dealing in the business of having people take on becoming more inspiring? Or is it something in between that we have no role in?

Each of us can point to someone who is inspiring. There are the famous, global figures who inspired legions to follow them. There might be someone who individually inspires you. No doubt about it. We do know what this is. I’ve even been inspired by a race horse named Zenyatta (see my blog about her).

Another question might be: “Is working on becoming inspiring a logical goal that can be quantified and measured?” Perhaps it’s some other kind of goal or outcome.  If and when I am inspired, does that give me extra mojo to get things done? Is it even about "doing" something? Where does inspiration come into the picture, anyway?

I’m working on a keynote address. What exactly is my goal with it? Do I inspire the audience for that day only? Do I take the longer view? Can I even do any of that? Here's a question of myself: am I truly confident enough to give up on trying to be inspiring and just be authentic … letting the results fall as they may?

Perhaps inspiration is simply in the heart and soul of each person (just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder). If you and I are ready to have “life breathed into us by another” then perhaps we are open to be inspired. That may be all there is to that!

So where does that leave the coach? My take is “probably right in the role of coach where each of us belongs.”