why do men have nipples?

December 28, 2009

by anne lueneburger

I admit: it’s not an intuitive question for the holiday season, but it’s one that occurs to me as I am spending family time on the beach of the southern Mayan Riviera.

It turns out that the gender of a fetus is undetermined for the first six weeks of its development.  It is only then that the chromosomes that determine gender do their thing.  Since nipples (like other standard equipment such as arms and legs) develop before the fourth week, everybody has them – think of them as a common trait.  After week six, hormones provide instructions for their use (or lack thereof).

What struck me about this fact is its analogy to strength-based coaching (I know … but bear with me one more paragraph).  Coaching based on strengths means identifying your potentially distinguishing traits, developing them, and cultivating an environment in which they matter.  An effective coach, in other words, asks powerful questions leading to the chromosome that catalyzes a trait into your signature strength.

Enough about nipples.  Time to go for a swim!

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