Telling your story with too few or too many 'I's
Have you ever been in a social situation when someone in the room talks about themselves all evening? How does it make you feel? We all know someone who does this without a care in the world and the group wouldn’t be the same without them. We know that the ‘Sunshine Yellow’ dominant personality type (One of the 8 Types uncovered with Discovery Insights) wants everything to be “All about Me” and rather than be frustrated by them I believe we all could learn a lot from the way they can confidently speak about themselves.
I am also a “Sunshine Yellow All about Me” type so I spot it easily. As a fellow extrovert I too am prone to want to tell stories and entertain the room. I want to take action, own it and move on and it’s easy to label my own behavior with an ‘I’. It’s only since my coaching training that I also notice how many ‘I’s are used by others but is this because secretly I want to move the conversation back to myself or to start stating how I feel about the topic?
In my work, I try hard to balance not saying ‘I’ when coaching and saying it enough when offering guidance. But what should we be encouraging people to do – confidently express themselves or be mindful of overkill?
Encouraging my clients to talk about themselves using the first person pronoun provides multiple insights to me as their coach and the varying nature of whether they choose to or not gives me a better understanding of their personality and the authenticity of the story.
As a coach the transformation process is reliant on getting your client to tell their stories and the ‘I’s matter. When a client tells a story in the present tense they explore their thoughts and feelings and start to articulate their role in the story which will in turn help them to own the meaning and insights. It is all about asking the right questions to get to the right story and then using natural curiosity about people to draw on the story’s themes and offer observations.
For my clients, I want them to tell me more with an ‘I’ please, as this is the way to create a long-lasting transformation change in them and so I will be encouraging more ‘I’ use in all my coaching. I count =16!