Evan Weselake is a certified executive coach, facilitator and mental performance coach at getpurefocus.com. He works with CEOS, small business owners, authors, professors, and others from various backgrounds. In addition, he spent 18 years in organizational learning and development, designing performance management programs, delivering leadership training workshops, and launching strategic initiatives. Follow Evan on Twitter @EWeselake.

What inspired you to become a coach?

My mother. She was tenacious and accomplished amazing things for herself, but more importantly, she was a guide to a lot of people. She did not ever believe in “one way.”

“Get in your helicopter,” she would say, “and find a way!”

Now that is what I do for my clients. I get them outside the noise of the problem, so they can think and see; I help them to focus and to find their way.

What one piece of advice do you find yourself relying on most? Why?

When you think you know why someone is doing something — you’re wrong! Slow down. It was something I ran into quite abruptly while studying performance psychology. The professor said, “You can almost never truly know why someone does something.”

Yet, we are constantly attributing motives to other people, e.g., “He does that because…” or “She just wants to….” It creeps into our thinking. Ironically, understanding why people do things is one of the reasons I began studying psychology.

But, the moment you claim to know why anyone does anything is the very moment you are deciding for them.

To truly know someone else’s “why” requires three things:

  1. That person has a very high level of self-awareness.
  2. That person trusts you with the knowledge and is willing to be vulnerable with you.
  3. You ask them. Privately, openly, and without any judgment.

For me, this was the first real experience with slowing down and seeking to understand. I carry it everywhere, with family, 1-1 clients, and groups. I serve them better by holding at bay all of my assumptions about their motivation.

What is the biggest hurdle your clients face? What advice would you give others struggling with this issue?

Awareness and focus. Clearly defining reality.

When people have a clear picture of where they are, what they’re after, and what they are truly about, the rest is commitment and detail.

My advice: No matter how tempting the details and solutions are, anyone facing pressure to perform will get immense value from taking time to gain a clear picture of the situation and realign with core values. As Peter Drucker said, “The first job of every manager is to define reality.” The big question is, what is your reality?


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