When was the last time you openly admitted to somebody else that you were terrible at something and meant it? It's often a thought confined to our private little thought bubble when we’re feeling a bit critical of ourselves. I think it's a very human thing to not want to show weakness.
Now, with reference to us as Asset Coaches; while I could talk at length about the importance of continuous professional development, I'm not going to. What I am going to talk about is showing the pe
ople we work with our very human areas for development – in frank terms, our vulnerabilities.
I think within professional roles there is an expectation to hide your personal self from the people you engage with professionally; I believe the best example we can set for people in this sector is that professionals are people too; with real-life vulnerabilities and goals of our own. As an Asset Coach, one aspect of the role is to have real-world conversations; in order to be true to this, certain aspects of our personal lives are brought into the forefront. Of course I am not implying here that we disclose personal information in a way which puts ourselves or others at risk, but some topics that we share may provide common ground.
I think that removing the Asset Coach label and replacing it with ‘human’ during some conversations can prove very beneficial.
A while ago I met with somebody at a local café and the table we sat at happened to have a Chess set. Now I have always avoided playing Chess; why you ask? Because I find the game highly intimidating. Her eyes lit up when she saw the Chess set and she invited me to play. I obliged, stating that I was 'absolutely rubbish' at the game. Now, as soon as I said this the air changed, she became a nurturing teacher. I enjoyed the release of being able to confess my fear of the game and she turned my weakness into a strength by showing me how to play. I actually enjoyed it so much I downloaded a chess app on my phone so that the next time we met, I could show her how I've improved.
I suppose in a way she was my Asset Coach in this session; she recognised my area for development and turned it into a positive by recognising an opportunity to do so and gave me the choice to do it.
I think it's quite common to view professionals as people who are bulletproof. You never wonder if your dentist is scared of spiders because it's not something they'd ever tell you. I am not implying that we tell the people we work with our fears and phobias as that isn't helpful and certainly isn't very person-centred. What I mean here is that showing some genuine human vulnerability as appropriate can work wonders for enriching the relationship.
If we knew that David Attenborough cried at Disney Films too, how much more human would that make us feel?
Showing our weaknesses gives people an opportunity to nurture those weaknesses, if desired, into something more manageable. For example, the Chess incident I mentioned earlier. However, I think it needs to be understood that IT IS OKAY to have weaknesses and areas for development – because we are fundamentally human. Although professional areas for development can usually be remedied through training courses and CPD, sometimes all that is needed to help us reflect on ourselves at a base level is a wholesome, honest conversation with somebody over a cup of tea.