Leonard Cohen by Dominique Issermann

Leonard Cohen by Dominique Issermann

Onwards and Upwards? Really?

Leonard Cohen, the singer songwriter who died last year, has a great line in his song “Anthem”:

“There’s a crack in everything; that’s where the light gets in”

Truth to tell I was never one of Leonard’s fans. Bit maudlin for me. “Laughing Len” we used to call him. More a Van Morrison guy me.

Anyway I digress.

In the fourteen years that I’ve been doing executive coaching, one thing I have learned is to look for the crack. Because, that as Leonard Cohen knew, is where the light gets in.

The problem comes when ego gets in the way. There is always a crack. Sometimes several. But ego may not admit to it.

And let’s be honest, the ego problem may be mine as much as the client’s.

My style is to challenge, make suggestions, cross reference situations I’ve seen elsewhere, quote from my own experience.

But all of this might be completely irrelevant to this situation. My suggestions and interventions may not apply. I need to be ready to acknowledge that.

I need to suppress my ego.

But so does the client. If there’s no acceptance of a crack, of the possibility of making mistakes, of having things to learn, then we can give up right now. No light is going to get in.

I love the spirit behind the sentiment “onwards and upwards”.

But when it comes to personal growth, it’s much more likely to be “downwards and upwards”.

Going downwards – admitting I just may not know everything, can be mistaken, even really screw up sometimes; that’s where the growth possibilities come. Those are the cracks where the light gets in.

And that’s how I get to go upwards. And perhaps in my own small way make the world a better place.

Which for me is the goal of all coaching.