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You may not have the red sparkly shoes but you do have the power

Updated: Jul 13, 2021

My family have always struggled to understand what I do for a living. Last Christmas I attempted to explain what a Tik Tok strategy was to my Mum as that was what I was working on at the time. This Christmas, following the launch of my business, I suspect I’ll be continuing my explanation, but this time around what an executive coach does.

The Wizard of Oz is a stalwart of the Christmas TV schedules and as one of my favourite films, I love the simplicity of this quote from Glinda, The Good Witch, because it cuts straight to the essence of coaching and gives me a lovely metaphor to build on.

‘You’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.”

We all know the story: Dorothy and her friends skip along the yellow brick road towards Oz to fulfil their dreams. But as in life, things don’t always go to plan and they have to take a detour off the yellow brick road through the dangerous forests and in the process face their darkest fears.

When they finally reach Oz, I was delighted to see the Wizard experimenting with a few coaching skills (although his ethics needed some work!) as one by one he helped increase the characters self-belief.

He helped the scarecrow see he was clever by giving him a certificate, the Tinman received his heart and the cowardly Lion felt courage when he received his medal for bravery. And with the words “There’s no place like home…” Dorothy believed in herself and her power to get herself home. A story of self-belief, self-discovery and learning for all the characters.

I often wondered as a child why Glinda never told Dorothy about the true power of the ruby slippers when she first put them on. Glinda held back the secrets of the slippers to allow Dorothy to learn how to harness her own power to solve her problems. It’s not always helpful to be told the answer, particularly if the solution to the problem is already in your possession.

The role of a coach is to guide clients towards their goals, sift through the fear and doubt that might be getting in the way and help them achieve what they often didn’t believe was possible. And to help increase confidence and find the skills and strengths needed to step off that yellow brick road and head off in a different direction.

This is coaching Mum!

Wishing you all a happy 2021

Jayne Reah is an executive coach and consultant working with corporate and private clients.

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