‘Playing your cards close to your chest’ is a metaphor used to describe a situation in which someone is being cautious about what they reveal to others. On the contrary, ‘showing your hand’ is a figure of speech to describe someone who reveals their intentions. Do the people you lead and coach trust you enough to share their goals, challenges, and plans? The prerequisite for leading and coaching is a trusting relationship. Without trust, people are unlikely to open up and share for many reasons. A leader coach must embody the important qualities of compassion, encouragement, and candour. Without these pieces in place, a coachee will be cautious about sharing, which will impede the progression of coaching.
Often when people begin the practice of coaching, they miss the important first step of building trust. I have also discovered that being a coach is much easier than being a coachee; largely because, by nature, I am cautious about sharing my vulnerabilities and unrealized dreams with others. It’s not that I haven’t trusted many of the well intentioned coaches or leaders I have had. Rather, I have not felt comfortable that their intentions were genuinely in place to support me to achieve my goals. For those who I have ‘shown my cards’, they have invested time to build trust and were genuinely interested in my agenda, rather than their own.
Are those you are leading or coaching keeping their cards close to their chest, or are they comfortable showing you their hand?
Sandra McDowell, MA, PCC
Author Sandra McDowell is a Certified Executive Coach with a Masters in Leadership and a Certificate in NeuroLeadership, and Vice-President Communications & Culture for First Credit Union & Insurance.