I’d like to take a short break on the tools and techniques of Whole Person Coaching this week and share an exchange I recently had with a friend of mine. Oddly enough, it’s a conversation that seems to recur for many of us as professional coaches, initiated by family members, friends, clients and, in particular, prospective coaches.

I can’t recall how many times I’ve been asked if I worry about what other people think. It often sounds like this: “As a coach, aren’t you worried about being a good example for others? After all, you are helping other people be highly effective in their lives and businesses. That must put a lot of pressure on you as their coach – you know – to always have to be a good example for others.”

Of course I consider what other people think. Who doesn’t?

But I have a different motto: Being perfect is hard work – impossible, in fact – and I want to enjoy my life. I want my life and the work I choose to be challenging not self-undermining.

So I flipped the question around and asked my friend: “Would you want to be the client of someone who is perfect? I wouldn’t. In fact, I’d find it very difficult to be coached by someone who had it all totally figured out. I’d be wondering if they were analyzing me for all my flaws and foibles. As I shared my truths, I’d be more worried about what they were thinking about me as a person rather than feeling the freedom to be me. I much prefer honesty and imperfection in all of my relationships.”

This is why I love coaching so much – not to mention my coaches. Yes, I have a couple. They let me show up and shine when I’m at my best or worst, without judgment or criticism. It’s a dream-come-true partnership and, believe me, they’d be the first to admit that they’re still trying to figure it out too. That’s what I love about them and the freedom I’ve granted myself to be real versus perfect.

Be You

People are really good at the comparison game. But the thing about it is: no one ever wins. I’m human, just like everyone else. As a coach, I feel it’s important to be truthful and real. That’s because I’ve found that in my life and career, the most fulfilling moments and the greatest successes came when I got out of my own way and was honest about who I was and what I really wanted. It couldn’t matter less what others have – if I’m happy with where I’m at, that’s all that matters.

Our lives hold opportunities and obstacles, and sometimes not in equal measure. But one thing is certain: growth only occurs when we are open to learning along the way. So no matter where you are in life, have the courage to be real and imperfect – you’ll be amazed at what you’ll learn and where that knowledge will take you!

I’m curious: when do you question yourself? And what happens when you share your wisdom and support with others, even when you haven’t figured everything out for yourself yet? Please share in the comments box below and I’ll respond. Let growth be yours!