Coaching Leaders Mindset.
If you want something different … change that question!
Everything starts with a thought and what better way to change your mindset than changing the language of the question.
So here we go …
How frustrating are you? No, it’s not a typo! It is not how frustrated are you! The latter is way too easy to answer and will have the potential to create a ‘woe is me’ conversation. Not because we don’t care about how you are feeling but it will not create the mindset to lead ourselves and our business. The first question is the ‘Ouch’ question. Why? Because it forces us to change the direction of our thinking. It’s like selecting the right gears in the car. When you change gear, it determines the amount of power available from the engine for the conditions you are tackling.
For example, a colleague during his supervision / coaching session spoke to me about the ‘tough times’ he was experiencing getting his team to function. They were bickering and low morale between them. They were missing their targets and he was at a loss. The key to leadership has to start with self-awareness and at this point the whole scenario was playing out ‘in front’ of my colleague, external to him which gave him a sense of not being in control. So I asked him the following question. “Tell me, what is it like to be led by you”? Stunned silence. This simple question however, delivered the most amazing chain reaction. The following month my colleague returned for his next leadership coaching session and reported, increased team performance, improved moral in staff and a happier leader? Now I know there is so much more detail I could give you as to what and how, but the important point is the question and the change of thinking direction.
Sometimes holding a mirror up to yourself can reveal those answers you have been seeking to your blocks … those thoughts that keep you awake at night and in the early hours of the morning. Who knew they existed within you and not externally?
Self-awareness is key to leadership.
Now let’s just explore your self-awareness levels, shall we?
Imagine, just for a moment and picture you are a visitor from another galaxy. Green, pink, or orange you take your pick! You have been sent here, to earth, with the sole purpose to study you, your behaviours, your leadership skills, and your business acumen.
Ask yourself these 3 questions.
- What would your visitor see? (be specific with your description)
- What would your visitor write in their report? (What language is used)
- What specifically would your visitor identify about you that they would want to model and master?
Use factual language rather than emotive, remember they need to role model you. So being busy, determined and working hard is NOT specific it’s subjective.
Many leaders I come across in coaching scenario’s, just haven’t put investment of time or effort into looking at the role of the ‘organ grinder’. But they are more than happy to curse the organ for hitting the wrong notes and dissect the short comings of the monkeys.
So to continue our probing and growth, I want to invite you to metaphorically hold the mirror to yourself and ask “what will it take for me to be incredible”
“All my life I wanted to be someone, now I realise I should have been more specific” was it …Lily Tomlin or Jane Wager?
This is absolutely on point. Who said it? Both names are synonymous with the quote? Don’t leave things to interpretation or you will never own your leadership.
Why are you in business or leadership?
I don’t believe any of us in business, or leadership or in positions of responsibility, are looking for mediocrity for ourselves or for what we deliver. What would be the point? And I am happy to be proved wrong?
I have seen many leaders, business owners’, and entrepreneurs who have fallen at the first hurdle. The first sign of dispute, failure, or challenge. Because perhaps they thought it looked easy it would be easy or were promised a quick buck? You know the ones I mean, 6 figures in 6 days type of call to action.
So, let’s start our exploration by asking another question?
How is it that most people won’t achieve what they are truly capable of? This is not suggesting they don’t achieve their goals in life which they set. If you have low expectations or goals which do not stretch, you then you are very likely to succeed. No this is different. This is true self leadership. Given equal playing ground, with the same resources (knowledge, finance, skill) what is it the difference that will make the difference. What is it that means ‘some’ will be significantly more successful than others?
My suggestion to you is that it does not lay with what you know … it’s about HOW you think about it.
I love a quote to support my theory! Thomas Eddison said, “If we all did the things, we are truly capable of we would astound ourselves!” now isn’t that the truth. What is possible for one is possible for all. Now Roger Bannister, when he broke the record for running the mile in under 4-minutes (thought to be impossible) it stood for less than a year before it was broken again. Since then, the record has been repeatedly broken it now stands at 3.43.13 minutes. Why because once, someone has proved it can be done, it clears the way for others. Roger Bannister is recorded to have said his success was down to visualising his achievement to create ‘certainty’ both physically and mentally that it was achievable. So, confirming we hold our success in our mind. Roger had already won his race before it started.
What makes leading ourselves difficult?
Now, some months back I had a conversation with a fellow Coach. In fact, he is my coach. He was interested in my opinion as to, what stops people from moving forward, when they, frustratingly, have the necessary skills, they can see their goal, and yet they still have a reluctance to act?
Now, I always try and find an analogy to bring clarity to my answers, so picture this. The analogy hiding behind trees when you were a child? The tree was ‘base’, ‘safety’, ‘home’ in the game of tag or it. Standing with contact at the tree, knowing you can see the person who is IT, your nemesis. You could see your friends being chased, but nothing could touch you whilst you touched base. You had time, you could wait and plot ready for that perfect opportunity before you made your final dash to freedom and winning.
It’s innate in all humans to avoid pain, threat, and failure. We are encouraged by this very survival instinct to stay in our zone of genius ‘Big fish – little pond’. Although as I said in Episode #1 Is your ego Big enough for Business, we as business owners and leaders are not your average Jo’s but the battle is still there for us. That familiar need or desire for clarity and some certainty, to weigh up risk, balance the fors and against. And yet we have these big dreams. We talk endlessly about our WHY’s. We get excited when we feel that entrepreneurial flush of adrenalin and then … nothing … tumble weed … silence?
You see in my experience the more time these ideas remain in your head the more your mind believes it has been achieved. Our minds do not know the difference between reality or fantasy. If it did, Stephen Spielberg, Stephen King, would have had a lot of trouble selling their films? And 50 shades of grey would have sold one copy!
When your plans and fantasies remain in your mind, you run the risk of satisfying your creative appetite and the motivation for action subsides, just like the tide going out? Everything is created twice, once in your mind and then once when it’s actioned.
So, when it comes to having a mind tuned for business, we must get those plans, fantasies, and dreams out smartish and this can be done by understanding our decision-making criteria, so we act in the moment. At the peek of its energy so we make the most of the momentum.
Understanding our criteria.
We all make automatic decision, spur of the moment. Those decisions where you say, ‘it was a no-brainer’, ‘didn’t even need to think about it’. For instance, putting the alarm on snooze, saying yes to coffee or tea, grabbing the chocolate at the till in the petrol station (oops that’s not just me is it!). Then there are the logical and methodical decision makers. Needing plans, detailed figures, outline of the goals. Now, let’s be clear there is room for both in our worlds, but what we can’t afford is for the two processes to become confused and allow procrastination to settle in. It was Henry Ford who said, “you can’t build a reputation on the things you are going to do”.
We can probably all relate to a time when despite massive effort, planning, and consultation the project falls like a wet squib. Why? Because procrastination to me, is the killer to motivation and excitement (and yes, I have been absolutely in this field). it’s like planning the perfect dive off the highest rock into the ocean below, only to find, just as you are ready … the tide went out.
So how can we start to tune this mind for business and decision making.
Criteria! It’s what something must have, in order, in this case to make a good decision and take appropriate action. Think of it like a recipe, each element adds that something to the result. How we do one thing in life is often how we do most things. So, keeping it simple for today, let’s think about the decision criteria for buying toothpaste!
Think about your choice and brand of toothpaste.
Imagine standing in your local Supermarket or Pharmacy with all the brands in front of you.
What did you consider when you bought your brand?
I will you an example, of what I mean. Bear in mind your list will probably be different to this and that’s perfect, also when you look at your list you may want to re-organise them into priority order.
We will just do the top 5 for now. But when you do it take as much time as you like, you want to end up with the non-negotiables.
My list for toothpaste would look like this.
1st – Taste
2nd – Ingredients
3rd – Price
4th – Reviews
5th – Smell
Now let’s step this up and make it a bigger decision … a car.
1st – Gut feeling (the gut is identified as taste)
2nd – What does the package contain – winter pack – paint protection?
3rd – Price.
4th – Social media reviews – economical – noise
5th – If it doesn’t smell like leather it ain’t leather!
Now go bigger …House buying
1st – Style of house (we all have a taste in style bungalow / flat)
2nd – What do I get in the deal – Carpets – curtains – integrated appliances.
3rd – Price
4th – Reviews – School catchment – House builder reviews, Neighbourhood crime stats
5th – Smell. If its damp, walk!! Are they smokers, dog, and pet owners?
I know some of this was light-hearted, but the underlying message isn’t. The aim is to know what your non negotiables are so you are prepared to lead yourself to make decision which will move you forward.
Thinking drives your results. Your actions will be changing your results in incremental growth.
When you manage your mind, you own your results so consider what crazy results do you want to achieve. What frequency do you need to be tuning your mind to?