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Who's your coach?

By Dan Mack - 02/19/2020

We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are. 

After 30 years of leading teams, training and consulting, I remain confident of one thing: We all have underappreciated how our own blind spots affect us, as well as how it affects others. Our preconceptions alter the way we see the world and hinder us from seeing ourselves accurately.

It is time to ask yourself one very important question: Are you open and courageous enough to collaborate with a performance advisor?  

Today’s leaders are confronting more cynicism, volatility, unpredictability and skepticism than ever before. Most employees are experiencing stress levels that are off the charts, and there is a lack of direction that often can lead to chaos in the workplace. The result is that it seems that a majority of workers are looking for new places of employment. But unless you look deep within yourself, the same issues will reoccur elsewhere.  

The most effective leaders embrace holistic thinking. They are able to cultivate strong relationships and are open to others’ critique. This healthy mindset becomes refined when one commits to collaborating with others who challenge one’s thinking, while offering candid, honest counsel. No one person has all the answers, and we all need mentors, advisors and personal coaches to help navigate a shifting marketplace.    

An individual’s communication patterns are the most important predictor of success, and the key to performance lies not in the content of discussions, but in one’s communication style. Communication styles are as significant as intelligence, personality, skill and the quality of discussions — combined.

The world run by “command-and-control” leaders is obsolete. Thriving teams now are run by situational leaders, who adapt to the needs of their associates. They are flexible and speak to those surrounding them — not at them. They are excellent at understanding that there is a time for directing and a time for asking questions. Even in my own consulting practice, I find that today’s highest-performing leaders are thoughtful and flexible. They are not and should not be demanding dictators.

In a fast-paced digital world, it seems we have forgotten that trusting coaching relationships will create healthy, transparent, high-performing teams. Today’s best leaders are “facilitators,” who advise others to answer their own questions and who are not afraid of difficult decisions. They model poise under pressure and are not afraid of addressing such tough questions as:  

●    What’s hindering your coaching philosophy and what’s at risk if not resolved?
●    What strengths do you overplay and how does this affect the team?
●    What are your fears as a leader and how do they negatively affect your effectiveness?

We all must expand our self-awareness, embrace change and learn to rebound faster from setbacks. The next-generation leader will possess a deep understanding of the changing industry, exhibit strong personal influence with the customer, and will be skilled at achieving internal organizational alignment and industry impact.  

It takes vulnerability to work with a partner to advance your game. It’s not easy to pull off and, in fact, can be quite overwhelming for many people. But let us be totally clear: Working with a coach is not for the weak, it’s for the committed. 

Healthy leadership begins with one’s ability to take responsibility for his or her behavior. The healthiest leaders I know work with a coach to elevate their game and are fully committed to this relationship. As the industry keeps shifting, our leadership skills must continue to evolve. 


 

Dan Mack is the founder of Mack Elevation

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