As a professor, consultant and coach I am expected to be an expert. It’s a mantle I wear far too easily on many days. What are they paying me for, after all?
The great tension in my work then – the tension that I work to resolve in each and every encounter – is to hold my expertise lightly so that I can be of greater service to other’s learning.
I can play “The Professor” – tirelessly spouting my lessons – or I can be a teacher, asking good questions, challenging assumptions and helping to reveal unexpected insights, the kind that will last.
I can play “The Consultant” – sharing hard-won ideas about what to do next – or I can facilitate discussions about what’s actually going on around here as a means to inspire ownership of new possibilities.
I can play “The Coach” – shouting instructions from the sidelines – or I can listen carefully and reflect back both the struggle and the wisdom that exists in every single one of my clients.
When I hold it tightly, it’s about me. When I hold it lightly, it’s about them.
“Lightly, child lightly. Learn to hold everything lightly.”
– Aldous Huxley –
DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world. Connect with him on Twitter at @berrydavid.