By Atip Muangsuwan
What is Intuition and Why is it so important in coaching?
Intuition or the ‘gut feeling’ is the ability to gain immediate understanding without the agency of conscious reasoning. Intuitive understanding bypasses the logical arm of the mind-brain network. In all probability, the majority of us have had such an experience at some point in our lives. Intuition is also referred to as the sixth sense (Niranjan Seshadri, 2019)
Perhaps surprisingly, many of the world’s most influential businessmen admit to making decisions based on intuition rather than logical, deliberate thinking.
Out of a sample of 36 CEOs, 85% confirmed that intuition – in the form of rules of thumb (ROTs) – was central to their decision-making process (Maidique, 2014).
A co-founder of a private company contacted me for my coaching. She told me that she wanted to set up another company after her early retirement in a few more years. However, she didn’t know yet what type of business to pursue for this new company. So, I began my coaching session with her by checking in with her Ikigai.
Ikigai is the Japanese concept of finding purpose in life. After we finished exploring her Ikigai, she came up with a solid conclusion of what her Ikigai is.
However, while in the process of exploring her Ikigai, my intuition told me that… she didn’t seem to be satisfied with her Ikigai searching. So, there must be something else that kept bothering her and made her want to retire early from her co-founded company that she loves dearly.
I shared my intuition with her. Then, she said my intuition was so true. She said the real reason why she wanted to retire early from the company she loved is… she does not get along with her company co-founder which happens to be her life partner. He is a task and result-oriented person; whereas, she is a people-oriented person. And these differences in their personality traits have caused frequent conflicts between both of them. That’s why she wants to avoid the conflicts by leaving the company and starting her own new business.
Later, she said actually she still wanted to continue working in the company she co-founded. She wanted to help their employees get a better quality of life by getting higher salary, higher fringe benefits and more annual bonuses.
So, I asked her whether she could change his personality traits to match with hers. She said she couldn’t possibly do that.
Then, I asked…. “If so, what can you do to make yourself happy while still working with him?”
She replied… “I should accept him as he is and try to see things from his perspective and feel more empathy towards him.”
You can see from this case that… why intuition is so important in coaching. Because without intuition, I wouldn’t be able to dive deep down to the root cause of her issue. And she might not be fulfilled if she had to leave the company that she loved to pursue a new business which was just an excuse to avoid conflicts with her life partner.
So, what makes it unique for my coaching is… I’ve always utilized my intuition in coaching conversations with my clients and most of the time, they’re correct.