Learning “It’s not all about you,” tends to start early in life.
“Don’t hog the spotlight.”
“Pass the ball to your teammates.”
“Help your brother/sister.”
The message is clear.
Putting one’s needs behind those of others and highlighting others’ accomplishments are common attributes of a strong leader.
There comes a time, however, when the opportunity for a leader to focus squarely on their own individual needs is invaluable. Stepping into a safe, confidential space with an objective, trusted partner can be extremely beneficial. That’s where Executive Coaching comes in.
Working with a coach allows leaders worth following to open up about personal insecurities as well as triumphs, to address their unique struggles along with specific accomplishments. A skilled coach can tune into a leader’s underlying needs and help them get those needs met in creative ways that bolster confidence, capacity, and effectiveness – along with personal wellbeing.
I recently witnessed a great example of effective coaching while out running on a local trail.
A mother and daughter were biking together, and the daughter was clearly struggling to keep going. As I passed by, the mother said to the daughter, “We’re almost there.”
The question in my head was, “Almost where?” There were no discernable ending points nearby from my perspective.
My first thought was not a positive one. I recalled times during races I have run when spectators along the course yell to the runners, “You’re almost there!” Frequently we are nowhere near the finish line! In my mind I am always tempted to yell back, “No! We’re not almost there! Stop yelling that!” Their attempts at encouragement have the opposite effect on me. I would benefit more from something like, “Keep going! You’ve got this!”
As I continued on with my trail run that day, no longer thinking about the cyclists, they suddenly came from behind me and whizzed by. The daughter seemed full of energy and enthusiasm. “Wow,” I thought, “Look at her go!”
I still don’t know where the “almost there” was that the mom was originally referring to, but that little bit of coaching seemed to have been right on target for the needs of that particular girl. Maybe they were near their turnaround point. I will never know, and it honestly doesn’t matter. The reminder for me is that coaching designed to bring out someone’s best is a one-size-fits-one activity. It’s specifically tailored to an individual’s needs.
If you’re looking for an opportunity to engage in a unique, “all about you” Executive Coaching experience, let’s talk.
Written by: Sandy Tush, Partner – Milestone Leadership