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The Gremlin Effect

Coaching revolves around client issues. The client has the answers to the issues he/she faces, but are not aware that they have the potential for self discovery. Coaches help their clients discover answers through asking the right questions. This process of self discovery through dilectical questioning is illutrated by the following narrative of one of my clients I worked with several years ago. John (not his real name) was facing possible termination from his job of 10 years at age 50 when his company was being acquired by another corporation. However, he was told that being the senior-most employee, he could continue to work for the corporation if he became an outside salesman. John was petrified at the prospect of becoming an outside sales rep because he had been working as an inside support clerk. The way he described his concerns, I perceived that he feared personal rejection at the hands of the customers if they refused to take his offer. I led him to discover the answer to his dilemma through series of questions: ‘John, how do you feel about the company you have been working for the last ten years?

‘I feel that they have been good to me and I would like to continue to work for them if I could,’ he said.

‘What do you think of the product and services they offer? I further enquired.

He paused for a while and then he said, ‘I like them so much that I use them myself.’

To further understand his hesitation, I asked,’When you go out on a sales appointment, you go out as a representative of the company, and the customer doesn’t know you personally.’

‘That’s right.’ he said.

‘When you offer them the product and services which you know to be good from your own personal experience, and they don’t take your offer, where is the personal rejection?’ I asked.

His eyes lit up and he said, ‘You are right, I don’t have to take it personally. Actually it is their loss to miss out on a good offer!’ John went through the company sales training, and within six months he became the lead sales rep for his company. Once he discovered the ideas and emotions that were preventing him from moving ahead in his life, he was able to attain his potential for optimum success.
As a couch I have encountered many clients who were handicapped by ideas and emotions that prevented them from moving ahead in their lives. These sabotors form the core of a ‘Gremlin’ which takes hold of them. When John overcame his gremlin, he was able to succeed.
The concept of Gremlin was introduced by Richard Carson in his book ‘Taming Your Germlin.’ He describes it as an internal structure which embodies a group of thought processes and feelings that maintain a status quo in our lives. Often operating as a structure that seem to protect us, it in fact keeps us from moving forward and getting what we truly want in life. The Gremlin losses its power over us when we can identify it for what it is, notice our options in the situation and then consciously choose what it is we really want at that time.’

You can become aware of your Gremlin when your internal voice speaks to you in some such phrases: ‘That’s the way it is,’ ‘With my schedule, I just can’t find time to…,’ ‘Men my age can’t find senior management positions,’ ‘I don’t have the discipline to…,’ ‘They won’t like it if I do…,’ ‘I can’t succeed on my own…,’ ‘I don’t have the answers/talent/experience/whatever they are looking for…,’ ‘What was I thinking of…,’ ‘This is stupid/too risky/ and I might get hurt…’ And the list goes on and on.
Are you aware of your ‘Gemlin’ that may be preventing you from moving ahead in your life? In case you have been handicapped by your Gremlin, I invite you to explore coaching to unleash your maximum potential for optimum success.

Om Prakash, Ph.D. Mentor Coach