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?
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’.
‘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?’
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’.