They seek out coaching due less to a sense of failure or incapacity, but more due to their recognition that asking for help will not diminish them in any way. I believe that the root to the capacity to reinvent oneself is this recognition.
Most of us who are highly ambitious and capable have been able to accomplish a lot in our lives using the bootstrapping method: we learn by doing and making “mistakes,” building on our strengths while beating down our weaknesses, sometimes taking lessons learned by others or riding a little on the successes of others that came before us, but much of the time working furiously on our own.
Bootstrapping is an excellent starting point to building experience, character, knowledge base, and self-confidence. However, to truly engage with and become a citizen of the environment in which we live, it becomes necessary to reach outward and open ourselves to the resources offered by others and allow them to influence our thinking and actions. This at the same time that we give of what we possess without strings attached–be it knowledge, experience, access to resources, or simple presence and support. This connectivity and exchange with others is what allows us to rise from the level of actors to that of leaders–leader first of ourselves, and then of others.
Easier Said Than Done
If this were an easy thing to do, we would most likely see a great many admirable leaders around us, but we know that this is not the case.
I can offer a carrot (or an apple) for becoming a more highly evolved version of oneself: In opening ourselves to being able to ask for assistance and becoming comfortable with no longer being the “know-it-all” or “controller,” we become freed from constrictive roles others may attempt to impose on us, and also from self-imposed roles. This freeing usually makes acknowledging our own weaknesses, knowledge gaps, or areas of self-interest more likely, while allowing our natural curiosity to flourish, so that learning from both external and internal sources comes more easily.
This combination of humbleness, honesty, and curiosity about others in a person who is capable and accomplished is not only admirable, but is also winning. Just think how more fun and interesting a dinner date would be with someone who is self-aware, asks questions, shares openly, and is open to learning from you!
Reinventing yourself not only carries you to a higher level of self-acceptance, but will likely get you better dinner and party invitations. Have a happy 2014!