At a certain level in leadership, everyone is smart, experienced and highly capable; those traits are no longer differentiators. Unfortunately, at this level, there are less supports for leaders who are struggling with an issue. Doubt shatters progress. More hours are not the answer.
At some point in a leader’s career, there may be an opportunity to hire an executive coach. Your organization may hire the coach but lately more individuals are hiring a coach themselves.
An executive coach is a qualified professional that works with individuals (usually executives, but also high performers) to help them gain self-awareness, clarify goals, advance to new roles, change industries, create better relationships, let go of something that holds them back, manage a difficult behavior, unlock their potential, achieve other developmental objectives, and act as a sounding board. They ask questions to help a leader clarify and resolve their own problems, some of which the leader may...
Below is the letter I wrote him.
I share it with you in an effort that it may bring comfort, direction and hope to you or a friend who may experience or have experienced the same thing.
If you are looking for resources to improve your leadership skills, this free Guidebook will be a great resource.
I am so sorry to hear what happened. That must feel so degrading and devastating after all you have accomplished in your life both professionally and personally. I would encourage you not to turn away from that pain but to “see” it, spend some time processing it and then stand up and say goodbye to it. You might even write down what you are feeling after you have witnessed it.
If you ask the average person what they are most afraid of they will likely tell you something regarding failure – “I’ll make a mistake and embarrass myself.” “I won’t get picked.” “I will not pass the test.” “I will mess up and get fired.” “They won’t like me.”
As humans we are wired to protect ourselves from danger with a negativity bias. This is how we have survived as a species. We are always scouting for threat. Except today it is not likely that a Mammoth will trample us so this fight-or-flight bias often does not serve us well. And sometimes the threat we fear isn’t even failure. Sometimes it can actually be the unknown consequences of success.
ARGHHH you say.
You can’t wait for the Holy Grail of career success, romance, a thin waste, a beach house, or if you live in Pittsburgh – two sunny days in a row to arrive. Stay with me...
As a coach, mother, wife, friend, leader I am struck by how often we interpret events in our lives a certain way then play to those stories until they become a self-fulfilling prophecy. This can be good if the story is empowering and positive. All too often it is not. It’s as if we get sucked helplessly into someone else’s story that flips quickly to the last page where the ending reads the same for us every time – disappointment.
Several years back I was a stay-at-home mom with four children under seven-years-old living the country club life on the surface but was in an unpalatable marriage. I filed for divorce as a leap of faith and six months later the children and I were on welfare, food stamps and medical assistance, homeless, and without an automobile. I did the big, “Why me?” I kept waiting for justice that doesn’t likely come when you represent yourself in court. I was certain my children would never go to college and I would be considered...