One of my clients came to a coaching session with a major concern. We had finished reviewing his leadership 360 assessment report and identified areas of improvement to support his goals. The client said: “If I make the changes that need to be made, will I still feel like me, in my own skin?” Of course, was my answer!
Fear of change is often what has us stuck and keeps us from engaging in what could be very transformative coaching.
However, the goal of executive coaching is not to turn you into another person; it is to clear the way for you to step into the best version of yourself, the one that’s already there and just needs to be brought to the surface. That’s the kind of change worth embracing!
Becoming the Best Version of Yourself
We each have a view of ourselves, our lives, and how we navigate our daily challenges. Whether we are aware of it or not, that view can often limit our possibilities and by extension, our results. Coaching is a place to explore all those perspectives and consider what stays and what goes.
Put both of your hands in front of you, with your thumbs and index fingers together to form a circle. This circle represents your current comfort zone, the view of yourself. Most of us are very careful not to step over the lines. Now slowly, pull your hands apart, increasing the size of the circle between your hands. That’s what executive coaching does: it helps you explore what’s beyond the circle and gradually open up to it by increasing your comfort zone and what you are willing to do as you lead and interact with others. The coach’s role is to identify what will help you keep moving the line in a way that does not overwhelm you or cause you to resist action.
A Gradual Approach
Each small action you take beyond your current zone, expands your zone, your view of what’s possible, and your leadership impact. On the opposite, if you don’t take action, issues will persist, and more significant possibilities will continue to be out of your reach.
For example, you might not give direct feedback to those who work for you when it might hurt their feelings. Therefore, you keep avoiding needed conversations. Yet, what is the cost in terms of your ability to deliver results to help your team – and business – grow? By taking little steps to increase your comfort zone, instead of stepping away from tough conversations, you’d learn to step into them, knowing that you can manage whatever comes.
This increase happens over time because significant behavioral change takes time. Often clients report that they don’t even notice the changes, as they are so incremental. Yet they get it when they start seeing results.
Going back to the client who asked the question, his 360-report revealed that he doesn’t trust his staff and needs to be less controlling. Not trusting his team is his comfort zone and the thought of stepping beyond that zone is overwhelming, yet he sees that learning to trust is crucial for meeting his business goals. So, we have made a plan for him to start taking simple steps to find ways to interact with his team with increased levels of trust and collaboration, yielding open dialog for problem-solving.
On To You
Does change make you uncomfortable? Do you know what’s holding you back? Are you ready to explore what’s possible for you that you might not be seeing and find the way to get there?