You’re good, bad and sometimes ugly
Ever noticed how easy it is to identify good, bad or ugly behaviour in someone else rather than yourself and how easy it is to name it and to very wisely explain it away. Yes, other people are watching you with all of their wisdom. They’re seeing right through your every reaction right now. However, the good news is, some are watching you for good and not evil.
As the year begins again in earnest, or any other country where you may live, the New Year commences with one opportunity of equal or greater importance than this time last year and that is, signing up a coach or a mentor. We all, without fail, have the potential to be more than we are right now, in this very moment. Well heck, they suggest that on average we only ever use about 10% of our brain power and potential. We could probably add another few % to that meagre tally if we could just unlock and remove all of our subconscious blockages, our unconscious biases and a few of our conscious biases as well.
It’s your party and yes, I guess you can cry if you want to – but do you want to?
One of the biggest challenges we have is separating our emotions from an event, any event really. Some things make us happy, some things make us sad, and yet others make us frustrated, angry, impatient etc. Very often our reaction is disproportionate to the real impact or outcome of an event, and sometimes so much so that our reaction surprises ourselves either at the time or later upon reflection. This is often because we project so much of the baggage of previous events we’ve experienced, or lessons we have learnt from trusted friends/family etc, on to any of these new events. A coach is the perfect person to guide you through these stormy seas, or to temper your over zealous enthusiasm.
What’s best for me is where I want to be
Hypothetically, if I took myself, right now, wherever I may be on Maslow’s Hierarchy (Simply Psychology) and added a great coach permanently at my side and together we acted as an individual, together, would we have the potential to make me an immediately self-actualised individual?
In a previous post Self Actualisation – Yeah man, bring it on , I spoke about what Self Actualisation is all about and why it’s a personal but very worthy cause to invest your time and energy in.
What is Self-Actualisation?
When a person is self-actualised, (I’ll be sure and let you know when/if I get there), they demonstrate a very high acceptance of themselves, others and situations. Self-Actualised people are comfortable with their creativity and imagination. They are constantly seeking opportunities to reach their full potential. They exhibit genuine emotional intelligence.
Now I’m not suggesting that the coaches are necessarily completely self-actualised themselves and can act as a permanent substitutes for the gap in our personal development. I am proposing that a coach can sit alongside you and act as the part of your personality that must detach itself from the fundamental you and view your behaviour quite independently in order to facilitate your transition to self-actualisation. In a professional context, a coach can act as the part of your personality that bridges the gap between your current position on the hierarchy and self-actualisation. They provide feedback, learnings and help you charter the way forward. For example:
- They enable your ability to reflect on your behaviour, your words, when you don’t even realise you need to reflect.
- They act as the curious questioner when you haven’t developed that personal characteristic.
- When you can’t get yourself on the balcony watching over the dance floor, the coach is the person who invites you to a seat next to them on the balcony to check out your dancing style.
“Ah, now I see what you mean –Yikes!” (quote from Peter McKelvie – all too often)
My suggestion is you start your year by taking some time to review your support network. There will be opportunities to bring new people into your network. There may even be relationships that add little value to you or the other party now and it’s time to let them drift away and that’s OK as well. Last years coaches may now be friends and mentors may be less relevant to current goals and challenges. Conversely, each may be equally as important now as you put the red Santa Clause hat you had on a few weeks ago in the cupboard to collect dust, as they were last year. Either way, you should be reviewing and investing energy in your support network in order to be the best you can be for yourself and for all of those with whom you’re connected.
As a reminder
“Coaching is unlocking people’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.” (Whitmore, J)
The coach believes that the answer to your challenge, the way through an obstacle that lays in your path is within you and they help you to uncover the answer. Very often the coach doesn’t have the answer at all, but they have the ability to help you find the answer. It is you that does the work.
Tell you all they know in order to help you travel a journey in the most efficient and painless way possible. You share your challenges and they share their experiences and together you forge a path to meet and conquer the challenges. Of course its not entirely that simple and mentors often challenge you and coach you and in fact, vice versa – coaches will mentor when appropriate.
We are all on some sort of journey in our careers and our personal life and a coach or a mentor is a very effective and efficient way to travel. So do yourself a favour, shout yourself an upgrade in 2015 and travel business class. I can personally vouch for the value.
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Many thanks to James Westmore for his wonderful artwork
Reference: Whitmore J, 2002, Coaching for Performance, Nicholas Brealey Publishing, London