Mypersonalcoach leadership cases look at
a specific type of leaderhip:
the kind that goes 360° round.
Blowing in the wind
I have always been told that change starts at the top and that if you want to sell something, you better enter at board level. This leaves the rest of us helplessly blowing in the wind of course, like the Bonnie Blue flag on a stormy night.
Many people I meet in coaching feel they have no influence (unless top down) and that they are mostly at the mercy of the guy above them on the ladder. If they have insights, they are often scared to share them or they get completely frustrated if ideas aren't picked up when they do share them. Sometimes they get squeezed because they want to take care of their teams but receive no support.
So, do we just wait for things to blow over and keep our heads down? Do we settle for the money and hope to survive until pension? Perhaps we should quit? We could also wait for our body to decide to burn out. The woman I am going to tell you about learned how not to choose any of these options. She chose something else.
Coaching for a different kind of leadership
I met T. about two years ago. She loved her job and her company but was struggling to enter the next layer of top management in her organization. Reaching this level involved developing business cases, reaching sales figures, delivering pitches, surviving crossfires and so on. Her organization was very competitive and according to T. quite though in some ways. T. had high moral standards and values but, being in a tough company, she was unable to make positive use of these drivers to reach her goal. Trying to incorporate her moral standards and values in her way of leadership worked contra-productive at that time. This made her emotional, frustrated and insecure. T. embarked on a coaching program of about a year and when I met her again last week, this is what she told me had happened since the end of the program.
When judgement is replaced by curious observation
We met in a restaurant on a nice summer evening and were sitting outside under the trees. We had our dinner served. T. was sitting in front of me, looking great, laughing, announcing several times she had lots to tell, but not telling a thing so far. She was building up the tension and in the end I was so curious I had to beg her to get on with it.
"In the final test I was confident during the panel discussion," T. explained, "and I was able to defend an appealing business case. But there is more! Looking back, what I valued most from the coaching is that I learned how to connect with people with different views on leadership, through unbiased listening, curious observation and being less judgemental. I also learned how to frame comments and remarks that used to undermine my ego and values.
Overall I learned how to deal and cooperate in a professional way with ‘difficult’ people without losing energy in emotional reactions. I earned in this way respect and gained impact in the company. As a person, I became more confident and more open minded to people with different ideas.
In the year after my coaching, I audaciously knocked on senior management's door to help me revise my career. Together we aligned my professional ambition and drivers with the company’s goals. A new role was defined in which my intrinsic qualities are now used in an optimal way. In my case it meant stepping out of my comfort zone by leading a new team with a different technical background than my own. I have currently the opportunity within this new role to have impact and, at the same time, be the leader I always wanted to be, taking care of people and supporting their development in a highly competitive environment.
Last but not least, the coaching journey gave me more insight in what makes me really happy and what my passion is. I recently engaged in new personal projects that bring a new sense of personal fulfillment and happiness in my life."
The person I saw sitting in front of me was calm, powerful, proud, mild, full of sparkling humour, patient and persistent, all at the same time. Way better even than at the end of the coaching period. The most curious thing of all seems to be: once the transformation is on track, it never stops.
The story explained: what is the gain of leadership coaching?
T. has completed a really big, twofold transformation. First of all she evolved from an emotional (pre-rational) to a non-judgemental (rational) way of thinking. Secondly, S. learned to live from the heart. As a result, she is well on her way to become a genuine 'trans-rational' leader.
But what is the practical gain in all this?
1. More energy, more time, more impact
Through insights, exercise and practice, T. has first dissolved old beliefs and limiting filters and is now capable of seeing what is relevant, now, in the present, in each particular new moment.
Not judging bosses, peers or herself has given her so much more energy to spend on other things. She has more work on her plate than ever, but still finds time for some thriving personal projects.
Observing carefully what is present, is also giving her abundant information to communicate more impactfully 360° and to get ahead.
2. Less fear, more freedom, more patience
As she started to live from the heart, she could realise her mission (to care), freely picking the best spot to contribute. She is no longer afraid to get hurt or rejected, using whatver influence and credit she has built up, for causes she values. She is now in charge of an endless source of personal power and relentlessly uses all of her talents to realise good things. She accepts that change is slow, but keeps going, setting a powerful example.
And what about you?
Of course you would you like be like T.
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Kristien De Wolf is personal business coach with 20 years of international experience, certified in NLP and Transpersonal Coaching and Counseling.
React or contact me now!
0032 476 40 74 15 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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