Me (to female executive coaching client): Why did you choose me to coach you? Wouldn’t you be better off choosing a woman?
Jane: You’re like the big brother I always wanted.
Me: What the heck does that mean?
Jane: You’re irreverent, funny, smart, believe in me, have my back and will deliver direct, in “no uncertain terms,” practical and specific tactics I can use to make me more effective and I not only accept it, I appreciate it, because you deliver it with love.
Me: Aww, now you’ve gone and touched a soft spot in me, but I’m not letting up because you have even more potential to fulfill and a future to land in that you’re meant to live.
Jane: See… you just did it again.
I have coached more high potential women like Jane than high potential men. I think it’s because women are not afraid or hesitant to be helped, whereas we know, many men won’t ask for directions because they somehow think it makes them less of a man.
Although I must say, more and more men are finding their way to me and I think for them it is because of the big brother they always wanted thing.
Now of course some men will not like that image because of a negative relationship with a big brother.
I on the other hand am blessed to have two older brothers who I adore and look up to… and am dreading the time when they are gone (I can’t even say the “d” word).
What is going on with this “big brother” thing?
Something to keep in mind is that whoever you are with, you are almost always triggering flashbacks or reminding them of someone else they’d like to know and they’re not aware of this.
In psychology we call this “transference” where others transfer onto you feeling they feel toward someone else. The challenge and the opportunity is to trigger positive flashbacks and the “big brother I have always wanted” is such a flashback.
When I speak at women’s conferences such as this one:
I orient the audience to listen to me as if I am a big brother they always wanted. Furthermore, I will usually tell women to be the “big sister that people always wanted.” And big sisters have the same qualities that Jane described she felt about me in that they will be “irreverent, funny, smart, believe in you, have your back and will deliver direct, in ‘no uncertain terms’ practical and specific tactics you can use to make you more effective and that you will not only accept, you will appreciate, because they too deliver it with love.”
With that end in mind, I ususlly assign my high potential women coaching clients to watch the movie Meet John Doe and tell them to especially watch the character played by Barbara Stanwyck and then come back and tell me what they noticed. In that movie, Stanwyck had all the qualities of that big sister we all wanted.
So, remember, you’re always triggering flashbacks in other people. Which one do you want to trigger? What’s more important is which one will they want you to trigger?