Where is your miracle? 

This is the Fourth in a series of articles where Master Coach, Aileen Gibb, poses questions you may not be asking

I am watching a British television documentary called Hospital. Set in Liverpool, it portrays the real-life dramas that play out daily across five hospitals in the city. Every week I think: “I’m not going to watch this again as it’s too heart-rending.” Yet at the same time I’m mesmerised by the skills of surgeons who perform open-heart surgery on tiny babies and by the strength, resilience and vulnerability of the patients themselves as well as their family members.

These people do truly amazing work and go through incredible experiences every day. A testament to what it really means to see human potential in action.

The latest episode left me open-mouthed in wonder, and with questions that you may not ever have asked as a leader.

Here’s the scenario: a dedicated surgeon is pioneering a new procedure to release movement and reduce pain for cerebral palsy youngsters. She performs micro-surgery dangerously close to the spinal cord — and she intentionally severs a series of nerves. It would seem to go against all logic to purposefully cut through and destroy the nerves (I learn that these are sensory nerves – if she gets it wrong and cuts through a motor nerve she might paralyse her patient). She relies on a colleague monitoring the nerve impulses on a computer screen to confirm which is the appropriate nerve to cut.

This strikes me as amazing work, phenomenal leadership and impressive teamwork.

The surgeon herself has solid presence and focus. She literally holds a life in her hands. Her skill and dexterity with such a delicate procedure, performed through telescopic sights, is highly practised. Her focus extends to embrace her whole team of specialists. As the surgeon touches each nerve in turn, the specialist monitoring the computer screen calls out to confirm if the nerve is sensory and can be cut, or is motor and therefore must be avoided. It takes trust and teamwork. Everyone knows what they have to do moment by moment. It’s a whole team working in flow.

And yet to me it seems so counter-intuitive. In my ignorance I would have thought that cutting any nerve was a bad thing. This surgeon trusts differently. She is working towards the bigger goal of relieving pain and returning freedom of movement to her patients. She is giving them the chance to live more fully with increased potential and possibility.

The nine-year old who walks up the stairs at the end of the program and the sixteen year-old who sleeps without pain for the first time, are testament to this miracle.

By contrast I can’t help but think that many of the ‘dramas’ that play out in the office environments with which I am more familiar, are inconsequential trifles compared to this surgeon’s day-job.

In the world of leadership coaching, our aim is to enhance and inspire the full potential of our clients and team members. And yet, by comparison, we find ourselves playing safe and, dare I say it, small.

I’ve taken away some really big questions from this glimpse into another world. I wonder if you might find some growth, learning and expansion by asking these questions of yourself and your team members:

  • How dedicated am I to reaching the highest level of dexterity and skill in my work?
  • How strong is the bond of trust between me and my team members: are we able to rely unquestionably upon each other when it counts?
  • How prepared am I to go where no-one has gone before and take some risks?

and, this powerful one which may go against many of your instincts:

  • Where or when do I hesitate to do something that seems counterintuitive – to sever the nerves as it were – in trust of a greater purpose.

The patients of this surgeon and their families didn’t know what was possible beyond what they had come to expect of themselves. Many other experts focused on their limitations. This surgeon could see beyond to what might be possible.

What, I wonder, might you discover for yourself and your team when you look beyond the limitations.

Where is your miracle?

Aileen Gibb


Aileen Gibb works with interesting people  to re-shape life and leadership. She asks the questions you might not be asking yourself. Questions to shift everything and take your life from mediocre to great. She works with leaders internationally, whilst spending time in both her Scottish homeland and her adopted home in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada. She is constantly in awe of what her clients create in their lives and their businesses when they step into the bold questions they haven’t asked before. Her book Q-Asking Great Questions is described as an essential companion for every leader and is available on Amazon. Her forthcoming book The Conversation Edge combines questioning, listening and conversation as a daily practice of incremental awareness to enrich and enliven life and work through the principles of connection, caring, curiosity, clarity and complete conversations. Aileen can be contacted at AileenGibb.com  and on most social media sites. To explore working with Aileen email aileengibb@icloud.com


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One thought on “Where is your miracle? 

  1. Evelyn says:

    Really enjoyed this. Thank you Aileen!

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