Self-Coaching tips for leaders

Madrid, June 21, 2022.- The professional life of a CEO registers all kinds of situations, results, frustrations and joys. The CEO is responsible for the figures of a great company with the talent of all its employees. And to achieve these goals, you need training, work experience, a proven track record, intelligent management of all the professionals around you and, above all, common sense. Unforeseen or unfair situations test the integrity of the CEO who must rely on all his skills, tools, tactics and teachings. One of these tools that he discusses today is self-coaching.

If there’s one skill set you should adopt in 2022 it is how to coach yourself. While this term might sound like a concept that should be reserved for psychologists and coaches, there’s something truly empowering about improving your own self-awareness and creating the clarity you need to inspire positive action. 

Careers today don’t always follow a linear path and the world of work is often fraught with uncertainties. This increases the need for everyone – regardless of age and experience – to take a step back and ask themselves some powerful questions to make progress on their career paths. For those looking to develop a growth mindset, navigate obstacles or move in a new direction, self-coaching can serve as an additional self-help resource, provided that you start from a place of seeing yourself as a work-in-progress. 

According to Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis, Co-Founders of Amazing If, everyone has the capacity to coach themselves and become more self-sufficient in the process. However, an important part of this involves mastering the skill set to be able to do this effectively. They define self-coaching as an approach rather than a person-dependent activity. 

Below I highlight the self-coaching tips that I have read in specialized magazines during the last months:

Self-reflection

Viewing your life from a distance and reflecting on your experiences should be an ongoing process that involves engaging yourself in conversation. It enables you to examine your patterns, strengths, weaknesses, ambitions, values and current skill set. Importantly, taking the time to review yourself can improve your work or leadership performance by helping you to integrate lessons learned.

Self-awareness

Often there is a mismatch between our intentions and how we actually show up in the world. These self-awareness gaps can be identified with a simple exercise that involves using one word to describe the impact you would like to make in a few different situations throughout the week. This could be a meeting or a team problem-solving session. For each scenario, invite a person who was present to give their feedback on the impression they thought you were making at the time.

Listen to yourself

Reflection involves becoming aware of your thoughts and beliefs, as they guide your actions. If you give in to distractions that prevent you from accessing this you won’t be able to make positive changes or engage in deeper reflection. Consider removing technology devices and other disruptors, including people, in your environment. 

Self-awareness is also about becoming mindful of the types of voices that inhabit your mind. For instance, statements such as, “I can’t do this,” or, “Maths was never my strength, therefore I won’t attempt this,” are most likely from your inner critic. When you notice this voice, it can be helpful to visualise a supportive friend talking to you with more encouraging feedback on your situation.

Quality questioning

Consider replacing closed questions such as, “Did I enjoy that meeting?” with open-ended ones like, “What did I enjoy the most in that meeting?” In this way you’ll elicit more insightful responses.

Taking responsibility for your actions can happen more easily when you frame questions with the word ‘I,’ which places you in the driver’s seat. It’s also important to recognise when you make other people responsible for your circumstances. For instance, “Why didn’t this happen sooner?” could be replaced with, “How can I make this happen sooner next time?”

Remember to ask one question at a time rather than raising two ideas in one sentence. “Why am I always late and feel stressed out most of the time?” could become, “Why am I always late?” and “Why do I feel stressed out most of the time?” Structuring your coaching session in this way can elicit more feedback and create greater mental clarity.

To finish, I quote a reflection recently read in the Harvard Business Review: “Strategy in Greek (strategia) means the “art of the general,” and, since ancient times, implied the ability to achieve a complex battle goal. In the modern business world, common “battles” may include executing a digital transformation strategy, winning the war for talent, or disrupting yourself before others do so. Whichever it might be, the only valid strategy is one that can be executed. As Thomas Edison famously noted, “vision without implementation is just hallucination”.

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