Photo credit: lesly b. juarez,

“A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life.”

 Noted basketball head coach of the UCLA Bruins, John Wooden’s quote about the power of coaching reverberates powerfully in its simple and straightforward premise.

Great coaches exhibit many of the same fundamental skills of self-awareness, emotional intelligence, vision, perception, intuition, sincerity, openness, organization, consistency, continual learning, and most importantly, walking the talk and not just talking the talk.

It’s this last skill, walking the talk, that’s worthy of further exploration.  It’s a universal challenge for most of us, and certainly where I stumble as a coach when I’m dealing with the challenges associated with day-to-day living.

Let’s get curious for a moment.  Do you ever find yourself in a ping-pong match between your head and your heart?  If you’re anything like me, you find yourself in this familiar place of anxiousness and frustration frequently.  Whether in personal or professional relationships, this inner game has caused many a sleepless night and an unproductive day for me.

As a certified professional coach, I was taught to be mindful of the quality of my inner dialogue.  It’s easy to be a coach when “my” buttons aren’t being pushed.  The challenge is when this inner voice shows up as an inner critic judging my thoughts and actions rather than an inner champion touting and complimenting the highest and best version of myself.

It’s during these moments of indecision that I consciously rely on strategies my “inner coach” has previously integrated.  It’s reminding myself that the “little voice” in my head is not always my best advocate.  It’s that voice that too often is judging and assessing each and every moment as it unfolds.

Whether I’m with friends, family, colleagues or more often with those who think or believe differently from me, this habit of judging a thought, action, or a person as being either good or bad (and perhaps right or wrong) leads to my feeling stuck, disconnected, and isolated.

I consistently remind my clients that they have the answers they seek and can access their knowledge and wisdom at will in order to navigate any challenge or obstacle that’s keeping them from reaching or even exceeding any of their personal dreams or professional goals.  There are times I need to heed my own words and remember that I, too, can access that knowledge.

For me, the ‘access’ to solving the ping-pong match is derived from my favorite quote by coach and motivational guru, Tony Robbins,  “If you want a better answer, simply ask a better question.”

  • Where are you and where do you want to be?
  • What ping-pong match is limiting where you would like to be?
  • What choices are you making that are preventing you from living your passion, purpose, and the life of your dreams?

One way to access better answers is to intuitively ask open-ended questions.  This Socratic technique provides insights where we instinctively know that we’re both teacher and student with the knowledge and wisdom to eliminate the incessant back-and-forth between head and heart.

When searching for better answers in my life, I find that the following three questions provide a great barometer into better answers in my way of being.

  1. Am I being authentic?
  2. Am I in integrity?
  3. Am I being impeccable with my word?

When I can answer ‘yes’ to these simple questions, then I know that I’m able to control the back and forth that produces confusion, indecision, and inaction.

I invite you to reach out and share what triggers your ping-pong match?  As you give thought to what triggers you, one element to keep in mind is the Principle of Occam’s Razor, “Keep things simple!”

By keeping things simple, we create the space for reflection of what we desire our lives to look like.  By accessing our authentic selves, we eliminate the ping-pong match and create a pathway of action in order to walk our talk each and every day.