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Coaching Story: Amy

Amy came to me through a referral. Her primary coaching need was to know more about her leadership and to develop her leadership style. She was a wonderful, wise woman.

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At the end of each chapter of How To Get Out Of Your Own Way, there is a “Coaching Story.”. These are stories from my coaching sessions; personal stories that have touched me. All names have been changed for confidentiality purposes.I asked her who her leadership role models were. She spoke about her previous boss, who deeply cared about his people. He built trust with his team and his people from day one, and in particular, he created trust and safety.

“How did he achieve this level of trust and safety?” I asked.

“He was an amazing leader, and I think he knew who he was and where he was going, so it was easy for him to lead.”

During the sessions, Amy revealed she didn’t know what to do and had somehow lost a sense of who she was as a person and as a leader. She felt that this affected many aspects of her life: her physical health, her career, and her relationships. She desired to explore what was getting in her way and to take purposeful action. I articulated to Amy that the motivation to change had to be greater than the motivation to remain in the same situation. I really wanted Amy to explore her personal passion and her true purpose, the one that energised her.

“Would you like to use this time to gain some perspective?” I asked.

“Yes. I need to take a step back from the day-to-day. I feel that everyone and everything is clouding my judgement. I want to reconnect with my purpose, reconnect in a meaningful way. I put so much pressure on myself. I have invested so much time at work, and my job is key to who I am. That doesn’t feel right.”

We worked together and reflected on what excited her, what made her connect with people, and where she wanted to go. After several sessions, Amy revealed, “Transformation is an exhausting and very intense experience! Before I ever started the work, I was so far from having a purpose. So much of our life is spent sleeping, and I was awake. I had felt a self-imposed pressure to succeed. I had just gone from one challenge to another. My energy has certainly changed. I was wiped out before, and I definitely feel now that I have a choice. I have the choice to respond differently to situations. My job is great, but it does not define who I am. It is part of me, not every part of me.”

Subsequently, we worked together to truly identify what was critically important to Amy and then understand how she could apply her purpose to her workplace and her life.

Amy saw that to become an effective leader; one has to be aware of oneself and lead through example. In organisations, leaders need to connect with the people in their team to help them grow as humans, not just as employees. And if you are disconnected from yourself, it shows up in many different ways. Our coaching process allowed Amy to take a step back to indulge in some self-care. It was an oxymoron in that she felt self-centred for spending time on herself but also felt altruistic in that she was spending the time to be a better leader. The greatest gift for Amy was that she created the space to discuss confidential viewpoints in a safe and trusting environment. I always endeavour to walk the talk, and through compassion and kindness, I create trust and safety so my clients can talk about those hard topics and so that my challenging them does not feel menacing but rather seems like a realisation or confirmation of their blind spots.

You see, we never know what is going on with people. We don’t know what they are struggling with or what they are dealing with. Most people are not comfortable sharing real fears, especially at work, where they may feel judged and fear their image could be negatively affected. I hope that my coaching has a ripple effect and that once our coaching process comes to an end, it creates deep trust and safety for the people involved.

How to Get Out of Your Own Way: Ego—The Magic of Modelling NLP

When you intentionally study yourself and the people around you, you are showing a willingness to analyse and learn from your own experiences and also from the collective wisdom of those around you. If someone is producing good results around you, it should make you curious. Try to do what takes you closer to success and enhance the behaviour that guarantees success.

People in this state are always asking a question of themselves, “What can I learn from people and situations around me?”

When you are sensing a challenging reaction, the best thing to do is get still and stop. One process I use to invite my clients to achieve deep inner calm and silence is called STILL:

  • Still—Get yourself into a quiet and silent space internally, physically, and emotionally.
  • Timeout—Impose a timeout on yourself, a momentary interruption of your activity.
  • Impact—What power is this person or context having on you?
  • Let go—Break the thinking of what someone did, or didn’t do, and release.
  • Listen—Listen to your body, your thoughts, your triggers, and your emotions.

Post Reflective Question

What’s one particular cue that comforts you, quieting your mind in stressful situations? 

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