Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More

On Being Coachable:

Rails To My Train

Cowboy Cottage, East Napa, California, USA

November 21, 2011

I am indebted to all my coaches who inspired this conversation.

The day I gave up pretending I know it all  (and it really is a pretense of being human that we know it all ie that we can ever  know it all - it's a pretense which is a mainstay of ego)  was the day I realized I know nothing.


Interestingly enough as it turns out, knowing nothing allows  knowing it all ... in an entirely new way.

But that's a subject for another conversation on another occasion.


That was the day I discovered my point of view is not only really very limit‑ed, but it's also really very limiting. In other words, it's also really very restricting. I saw it doesn't matter how much I expand or develop  my point of view. Because it's my point of view (which means because it's only  a point of view), it's always  limiting and restricting. Any point of view, no matter how expanded, no matter how developed, when held as "the truth"  is always limiting and restricting.

It's tough  for ego to relinquish a point of view on the basis of all points of view are limiting and restricting, because ego is all about developing strongly held points of view. When I first confronted this, it was a difficult truth for me as ego  to admit. Yet the facts of the matter are there's only so much I can see from my own point of view ... AND  ... there's even more I can't  see from my own point of view.

Sometimes it's mundane: I can't see the back of my head, for example. Other times it's more profound: I can't see how I appear to others (at least, not always - and when I can, it doesn't come easy). There's nothing remarkable about this in and of itself. It applies equally to everyone. For every one of us, if the truth be told, there are areas of our lives which are readily visible, and there are areas of our lives which are completely invisible - call them our blind spots, if you will. It takes a certain bigness  for me, a certain stepping up  to regard my blind spots as indicators of opportunities for coaching  (which is to say opportunities to allow  myself to be coached - indeed, opportunities to request  coaching), rather than as traits to hide ie traits to be covert about.

I'm willing to be coached. No, I want  to be coached when it comes to what I can't see for myself. It's more than that actually. It's if I'm not  willing to be coached when it comes to what I can't see for myself, it's tantamount to sentencing myself to staying stuck. I'm blind pretending others can't see what I can't see. It's naïve and it's headstrong. It's more than that actually: it's just plain stoopid. Of course  others can see what I can't see - just as mundanely as they can see the back of my head even though I can't.

When I'm willing to listen to another telling me what I can't see, when I'm willing to listen to another unquestioningly, trustingly, wholeheartedly, when I take on what that person sees which I can't see, as if it's my own, I allow that person to be a coach for me. My coaches are the rails to my train. Literally. They keep me on track.

Beyond a certain point of transformation, being coached isn't merely a good idea: it's essential. And the starting point for being coach‑ed is being coachable. Said another way, beyond a certain point of transformation, I assert it's not possible  to proceed without being coachable.

Sometimes, ever the do‑it‑all‑by‑myself‑er (which is a component of my act, by the way), I wish it wasn't this way. Or, at least, ego wishes it wasn't this way. Guess what? This is the way it turns out to be. Embracing it is required. Once I give up resisting it and embrace it instead, doors open for me which otherwise would not only never have opened: they wouldn't have ever come into view in the first place.

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