How I Was Coached by Gay Hendricks

Photo by Erik Brolin on Unsplash

The power of deep coaching

“Wherever we are, at whatever age, we are all faced with the same question: How committed am I to the full expression of my creativity? The question is an urgent one, because, whether you’re twenty-one or eighty-one years of age, we are all propelled by a deep urge to bring our unique gifts to the world.”
— Gay Hendricks, The Genius Zone

Gay Hendricks is a world-famous coach and author of the bestselling classic, The Big Leap, which has become essential reading for many writers, coaches, and entrepreneurs.

Hendricks focuses on your unique skill your superpower, something that only you can contribute to the world.

After moving careers from journalism to academia and then coaching, I’d become obsessed with finding out my unique skills.

When I got the chance to join group coaching with Gay Hendricks as part of Benjamin Hardy’s Platinum Accelerated Momentum Program (AMP), I was excited. I would finally find out which one thing I should be spending my time on. Have you ever had that craving to find out what you should truly be doing?

I prepared for the meeting meticulously: I had a list of things I do well (connect with others, write, coach), and a list of questions for him. I was determined to squeeze every tip out of him while I had the chance.

Here’s what happened instead. It was powerful.

He Saw Right Through Me

It was my turn to ask a question in the group coaching. So I went straight to the point: I was a former journalist, an academic who had left the ivy tower, a writer, and now a coach. I had several careers, and they seemed to work.

“How can I make sure I am using my unique abilities in the right way?,” I asked.

Hendricks took a deep breath and saw right through me.

He asked me: “Down underneath of all your activities — what is it that you could do all day and it would never make you tired?”

“Writing and connecting with people,” I said.

“Going even deeper into that. What is it about writing, that tickles you inside?” Hendricks continued.

“Healing. Because I’m still overcoming burnout from my old job, and I think a lot about feelings and relationships, and the silence in between,” I said. I didn’t even know that I had thought that before I said it.

Hendricks leaned back.

“That’s beautiful, so you’re what you’re really interested in and what you love is the act of using writing as a healing process — that’s one aspect of your genius,” he said.

I thought that was it. I’d found it. Check. Let’s talk about goals and milestones!

But then he surprised me.

My Body Gave Me Away

Instead of moving on to the next question, Hendricks opened his arms wide. He paused and said:

“Let’s take a moment and celebrate that.”

I didn’t fully understand.

“Most of us human beings spend a lot of our time focusing on our shortcomings,” he continued. “And I can just tell from your body language that you have specialized in focusing a lot on that.”


When I looked at my Zoom video, I sat there with hunched shoulders and tension in my chest.

What he said next blew my mind.

Slow Down, Celebrate, Then Move Forward

Hendricks explained that the celebration of who we are, and what our unique skill is, is important to make progress in our lives.

Not just because it makes us feel good.

“I found that until you really appreciate where you are now, it’s hard to build the next level,” Hendricks explained. “Love yourself for everything you are and everything you aren’t. Then, then from that place of loving appreciation, build the next level.”

I found that hard. Self-compassion and appreciation are difficult for me. Patience as well. Sound familiar?

He made me take another deep breath. And something clicked.

I had actually achieved a lot in my life. Two careers, and a third one just starting. I smiled and relaxed my shoulders.

I will never forget that moment when I breathed with Gay Hendricks and felt that I can, indeed, appreciate myself the way I am right here, right now.

None of my big life goals, my recent burnout, or my future plans, mattered at that moment. I still get goosebumps now.

That’s transformational coaching.

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