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December 2017

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Coaching, Lifestyle

What do you want to be remembered for?

What?

Last week I coached a Manager on a 3-year international assignment. To kick off the coaching process we used The International Profiler questionnaire – a psychometric tool that shows the focus given by the individual to 22 competencies needed to transfer your technical and managerial skills into an unknown international context.

The results showed a very low focus on Inner Purpose – the ability to provide consistency and balance when dealing with unfamiliar circumstances by holding strong personal values and beliefs.

On the contrary, the focus given by the candidate to Acceptance was incredibly high.

To keep it simple: she instinctively accepts behavior that is different from her own and does not struggle to work with practices that conflict her own sense of best practice… but what is her own sense of best practice? What underlying values guide her actions? What are her roots? What approach really feels right to her?

So what?

In exploring the pros and cons of the high focus on Acceptance and the low focus on Inner Purpose she paused and said:

‘I love jumping into new projects, I get energy out of creating alternative solutions to challenges BUT as soon as I find resistance from others I give up and don’t try twice’.

I replied:

‘What is this telling you about yourself?’

And he candidly answered:

‘I don’t really know what I believe in, what my non-negotiables are… I don’t think I know what I really ­want to fight for’.

We then started a journey of exploration of her values by reflecting on these 3 questions:

  • ‘Tell me about a peak moment in your life…’
  • ‘What makes you angry­­?’

And…that uncomfortable question that we keep at the back of our heads:  

  • ‘What do you want to be remembered for?’

Now what?

I have the privilege to follow an incredible variety of professionals in my coachings. From junior talents to senior managers from all over the world. The VUCA world in which we are operating demands speed, adaptability and anti-fragility. We need to be in a constant state of ‘re-becoming’. But no state of flux can be sustained if it is not rooted in a conscious value system. Values help to determine the ‘rightness’ of choice. They also illuminate unfortunate choices. They fuel the flow and enable congruency with our actions.

What can you do?

  • Voice that uncomfortable question:

What do I want to be remembered for?

  • Accept the shaky feeling that comes from exploring it.
  • Experience the energy that comes from the feeling of ‘rightness’.
VUCA

How VUCA gives energy to our Saboteurs… and how to gain it back!

What?

The other day I coached a Senior Manager who during the past year has had to get used to:

  • A new boss
  • A new team
  • A more operational (vs more creative before) role
  • Learning a new language to communicate remotely with his peers

The Manager also felt disengaged from the job and complained that:

‘There is much less of me in the final product now than in the past… hence I feel that what I am now doing is much less ‘personal’.

So what?

I asked the Manager these 3 simple question:

  • What 3 things have you done this year that you are proud of?
  • What 3 things have you learnt about yourself this year that you didn’t know before?
  • Who have you connected to in this past year that you would have never have imagined to connect to?

As the candidate talked through the achievements and the new insights gained throughout the year she literally breathed deeply, straightened her back and started to move her eyes sideways. Quite different from the ‘leaning forwards and looking down’ professional I had seen up to that moment.

She started exploring her synergetic self and re-accessing her inner resources.

She shifted perspectives and started to replace ‘imposition’ with ‘milestones and success moments’.

She started realizing that she was still making an impact but in a different way from before.

She started claiming a new voice for herself.

Now what?

Let’s face it: we hear a lot about the need to change in today’s VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) …but how easy is it to really maintain a positively curious attitude when everything and everyone around you is changing?

Homeostasis – or the tendency to maintain the system – is a strong and human force. All of us have self-sabotaging inner voices that hold us back. Preserving the status quo is part of these Saboteur’s job. It’s no wonder that when everything around us is changing we voice the Saboteurs even more.

But claiming that energy back through deeply growing in self-awareness and leading oneself first is the key to succeed in today’s VUCA world. Having an interest in aligning your behavior with your values is the necessary first step to take in order to consciously think, act and create value every day.

What can you do?

As the end of the year approaches, take stock of 2017 and answer the same questions I asked my Senior Manager:

  • What you are proud of
  • What have you learnt about yourself
  • Who have you connected to

…and note down all the new and unexpected perspectives you get!

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