This hilarious meme based on a leading character in the Netflix hit show, Ozark, found its way into my social media feed this week.
Most of us not only relate to the phrase in the meme but probably wish a number of “experts” on Covid-19 would relate to the sentiment as well.
As I kept thinking about the phrase, “I don’t know sh*t about f**k,” it occurred to me that this concept is the “secret sauce” of Executive Coaching.
I know the face you are making now…”the person I engaged to help me with some of my biggest challenges doesn’t know sh*t about f**k?!”
When an Executive Coach engages with a client, the client is considered “the expert” and the coach provides specialized knowledge about coaching, business and leadership. So coaches do, in fact, know some things…
What we do not need to bring to a true coaching relationship is a deep understanding of the client’s industry nor should coaches get too much in the weeds of this. Otherwise, we slip into consulting mode. And that is NOT the role of a coach.
As a coach, when you recognize that you don’t know sh*t about f**k, you allow your client to be the expert on solving their challenges – which research will tell you is the most effective way to help someone overcome obstacles.
Great coaches understand that when a client uses their knowledge, skills, character strengths and values to solve their own problems, change happens more easily and is often more permanent.
When coaches embrace the idea that they don’t have to “know sh*t about f**k” with respect to the industry their client specializes in, the coach can step away from the minutia and help the client see the themes and the big picture.
Coaching with the big picture in mind helps the client learn about their role in the challenges as opposed to focusing on the challenge itself. Great coaches “coach the person not the problem.”
There are times when not knowing sh*t about f**k drives coaches to do what we often do best: research. Helping clients apply research-based tools to create behavior change is one of the things we do best. When we find ourselves wanting to know more, we hunt for tools our clients can experiment with.
In conclusion, the humility that is required to get comfortable with not knowing sh*t about f**k is a skill coaches hone over time. When starting out, most coaches are obsessed with learning everything they can about everything.
When you get to a place in your coaching career where your focus is on listening, remaining curious, applying compassion and offering high level thematic support, you know that you have arrived.
So go ahead and embrace the idea that you don’t know sh*t about f**k. It will make you a better coach.
I Don’t Know Sh*t about F**K, Part II
If you read Part I of this blog series, you know that I have fallen in love with this meme based on a character from the hit Netflix show, Ozark:
When I wrote Part I, I felt a little empty, having not fully written all of my thoughts about the phrase, “I Don’t Know Sh*t about F**K.”
In Part II, the focus on how this meme relates to how leaders become great.
I could spend hours talking about all of the ways people can build their leadership skills, and honestly, I do spend hours talking about it in The University of New Orleans PaCE Leadership and Teams Development Course I teach (yes, shameless pitch for the course…).
I digress…Great leaders learn, over time, how to balance displaying confidence with humility. They do not have to prove they are the smartest person in the room, and they know that actually, they do not need to BE the smartest person in the room. They know the power of “I don’t know sh*t about f**k.”
My Dad went to Harvard as a post-doctoral fellow. Not a lot of people know that. Why? Because my Dad was confident, giving, compassionate, humble and, well, smart; he didn’t feel the need to open a dialogue by showcasing his accomplishments. He connected with authenticity.
The first thing Dad generally shared with others had nothing to do with his educational pedigree. He shared something deeply personal to him – he told new connections that he was born in Moss Point, MS, “The Cross Roads of the World,” according to him.
There were a lot of factors that played into his luxury of not needing to brag about his educational prowess – let’s face it – even though he did not come from a highly privileged background – he was a white male born in the 1940’s! Those factors aside, he actively chose not to initiate relationships with the “Harvard fact” rolling off of his tongue.
Dad, or Jim as I often refer to him now, loved people. He loved talking to them (ok, sometimes AT them), forming life-long relationships and, most of all, doing anything in his power to help others succeed.
Sound familiar? Sound like a skill of a great leader? You are right. He was a master of letting other people shine, raising them up and coaching them to success. Could he drive you crazy? Sure. Did he have your back? Always. More enviable traits of great leadership!
Dad believed in using the idea of “I Don’t Know Sh*t about F**K” to encourage other people to talk, share ideas and to remain personally curious. He used it to help others gain confidence and promote themselves.
When I was young, he would tell me to pretend he didn’t know anything about the subject we were discussing, and he would have me “teach” it to him like I was the expert. Again, what stellar leadership he demonstrated to me.
If you couldn’t tell from the use of the past tense in referring to him, my Dad passed away. His death left a giant hole in my heart but inspired me to share with as many people as possible the ways in which he learned to be a great leader.
I challenge you to honor the phrase that my father employed the nuances of to create enormous impact on those lucky enough to be under his wing.
Embrace “I Don’t Know Sh*t about F**K” and see how you can help others shine and be the experts in the room. Build your Executive Presence and display confidence balanced with humility to lead others to success.
Reach out for a consultation with Kimberly at Kimberly@KimberlyPutmanCoaching.com to talk about your coaching needs.