Today, I admit that I have a very strong intuition. For much of my life, I have held judgment on myself for noticing the vibration in my body that represents a deep, unexplainable inner knowing. Even when I took a Myers-Briggs exam years ago and discovered that I was an INTJ, I was surprised to see the N representing intuition in my archetype. It made sense and it didn’t, which explains my overarching relationship with my own intuition. It makes sense and it doesn’t. Intuition contains no rationality and I am rationally minded, driven to “figure things out.”

I was born into an environment that required intuition. It was a survival mechanism. My home as a child was frequently abuzz with non-English speakers and I spoke only English. My father attracted a community of Iranian immigrants that shared his experience and on the, and though my mother also speaks only English, the guests at our house spoke primarily Farsi. When entertaining, my mother floated in and out of the rooms of conversation, always with a bigger duty at hand (like preparing a meal), but my brother and I were consistently there in the presence of people where verbal communication held no weight. We’d occasionally hear our names mid-sentence and understand that some portion of the conversation was focused on the two of us, but more often than not our mechanism for participating in the dialog was to draw conclusions about the environment. To develop our own sense of knowing that allowed us to feel included and to be part of the community.

In adulthood, I continually received signals that intuition didn’t really count. If it cannot be seen by everyone and is not logical, does it exist? In corporate settings my approach to things was often backed by simply knowing and my intuition was the most frequent leader for my decision making. As I took on more senior roles, selling ideas upward and getting executives to support my decisions became increasingly challenging because my gut instinct was not supported by facts. It just was. I continually turned away from my intuition because it felt small and insignificant compared to brains and logic.

And I’ve also had experiences where my intuition has been too loud to ignore. Moments when I knew that “something was off,” often in relationships, but couldn’t quite name what was present. These times forced me into patience and a heightened awareness which brought light that made things clear, but the consequences often brought tremendous pain. The things that seemingly came out of left field and yet I knew they existed.

As a coach, intuition is a gift. It’s a skill that must be practiced and my gut instinct may not always be right, but when it lands, resonance is almost immediate. Think about it. Where do you have an example of witnessing someone’s intuition? A time when you walked away thinking “where did that come from?” Or “how did they know that?” My guess is that it wasn’t too hard to reflect back to a time where that feeling existed for you. And it’s vivid. When feeling that is tied to a client’s learning in a coaching session, the learning is permanent. A client can’t forget a moment that feels like magic. It feels to good to let it slip away.  

Further, being witness to this magic compels a client to tune into the awareness of their own intuition. To feel it, align with it, and let it lead when appropriate. It’s like watching a kid discover a new area of the playground. Once they have had a couple of memorable rides on the swingset, they know it’s worth revisiting from time to time.