self aware
August 13, 2016

Could you become more self-aware as a leader from coaching?

By Paul Laughlin

It’s been a busy week of client work (which is great!), but that has meant less time for this blog. So, to make up the second blog post this week, here are some resources on coaching or mentoring that I’ve found interesting. To help you stay more self aware.

These caught my eye because they focus on topics which I find coaching clients often raise.

Despite the range of technical issues to discuss when focussing on Customer Insight leadership. It is striking how often our conversations come back to the same challenges faced by all leaders. Here are a few of them.

Self-aware about your Work/Life Balance

In this helpful piece from Michael Hyatt, he shares some lessons on work/life balance inspired by taking his mentoring group on a rope walking course:

What No One Ever Told You About Work-Life Balance

When it comes to work and life, most of us know what it feels like to be out of balance. But do we know what it feels like to be in balance? It’s not a trick question-even if it seems so at first. A few years ago, I took my mentoring group on a ropes course.

Hope you found at least one of those ideas useful. It’s surprising how many of us go on hoping our lives will come into more balance, without being intentional about changing our priorities & plans.

Your body matters as much as your mind

Too many leaders spend too much of their working lives sitting at desks. Sedentary lifestyles combined with the temptations of business travelling & networking (eating & drinking too much), can leave any customer insight leader sluggish & limited.

I’ve seen this severely limit the impact of very bright people. So, I was glad to see this more academic piece by Prof. Guy Claxton, on why we need to get over body/mind dualism & see intelligence more holistically:

Intelligence in the flesh

“When we look meticulously, with fresh eyes, at the working worlds of the glassblower, the mechanic or even the humble restaurant server, we can often observe exquisite combinations of physical, emotional, social and intellectual acumen, orchestrated in real time and often under considerable pressure.” Mind/body dualism is bad for you.

I hope you can see some implications for your leadership. Not just in terms of physical exercise & diet, but also being more mindful of what you physically do. Is there more value in walking around your team or physically experiencing what your customers go through?

Self-aware to listen to your Inner Leader

Much of the benefit I’ve seen clients experience, during coaching or mentoring sessions, is increasing self awareness.

When this gets emotional, people are normally reconnecting with their inner value or voice. Something they may have spent much of their working life ignoring.

In this reflective piece from Felicity Hodkinson & Kanchan Prinsloo, they explore what it means to both reconnect with your values and act on what that tells you. Putting insights or convictions into action is key to learning (for customer insight too):

Their point on the need for continued reflective practice is very relevant too. Many leaders have told me that the chief benefits they’ve experienced from coaching are time to reflect & being held accountable.

What will you do to increase your self awareness?

So, now you’ve read this far, what are you going to do? The above resources should have been sufficient to challenge you or inspire you with how you might lead better.

Rather than just moving on, take a few moments now to answer this question:

Given what you’ve learnt in this post – what could you do differently within the next 2 weeks?