Is it time to give yourself a good talking to?
As managers and leaders we often feel stuck with problem-focused thinking - is it time for a change?
Are you feeling trapped, cannot see how to navigate the course and confused about how to begin to progress towards your goals as a leader?
Perhaps you are exhausted and unproductive? You are so busy managing people and situations but have little time to focus. This happens to us all but wait a minute, does it have to be that way?
What if we could begin to challenge ourselves to become more resilient leaders?
How can we do this?
I was trying to juggle working full time as an English tutor online, developing myself as a Coach (with reading, studying and supporting my coaching clients) and the usual everyday things of family on top. We are all working double time to make a living and hold our private lives together! I was feeling totally trapped and frustrated that I was going round and round in circles and telling myself I was too busy to make any progress. So I stopped for some reflection and researched some effective tools and started to apply them to my own life. I was amazed at how empowered and energetic I became, I was seeing great progress, it felt fantastic that only small changes were making a big difference. I would love to share some of these ideas with you so you can feel released. Just a few changes, can make the world of difference. Today, I want to address the way that we think, how can we give ourselves a good talking to? Instead of being stuck, we can use some tools to break free and enjoy leading (it worked for me):
Step #1 — Identify the problem — Problems are like a platform, they are somewhere you can start but you don’t need to stay there. “When the reality is clear, the goals can be brought into sharper focus”. Coaching for Performance, Sir John Whitmore. So use your problem as a launch-pad into a new experience — that is a more exciting prospect than giving up. We never have to be stuck where we are right now, as leaders, we can find new ways of managing our time. The issue is that we do not need to become experts in the problem, that is not helpful — we have given them a lot of our attention already and leaders often feel it is their fault and they must fix things immediately. “Strangely, the more you talk about problems, the bigger and more difficult they seem to become”. The Solutions Focus, Paul Z Jackson and Mark McKergow. Problems are purely a starting point. We need to become experts at solutions! ACTION: Write your problem down but decide to move on…..
Step # 2 — What would the solution look like? You know where you are but could you begin to describe what the future would look like without the problem? How about this: “If you lead a team meeting with your staff team after lunch and everything was as you wanted it to be, what would you see? What would other people be doing? What would they notice, imagine it in detail. What would you be doing next?” How can this help? It is not reality. Imagining your ideal situation and describing all of the details, increases your motivation but it also gives you a clear picture of exactly what you are looking for, then you can start to spot some early signs of reaching your goals in the here and now. ACTION: What is your ideal situation…
Step #3 — Where are you now? Perhaps you are not in the ideal situation right now but on a scale of 0 to 10, where are you now (zero is the worst it could be and 10 is total success)? To be able to come up with a specific measure of where you are today shows you that you are not at zero, so there are some things you are already doing that are moving you in the right direction. Ask yourself, what are you doing that took you to where you are now? ACTION: What skills and strengths are you using already?
Step #4 — what would take you one more step forward? Describe what it would look like one step along the scale, what would you see and be doing differently? What would guarantee to you that you were just one step further along the line towards your goal? This is so useful, you are moving from being stuck to a new position, it is so empowering to make progress. ACTION: Spell out what you need to do to move just a little…
I used these steps myself so I know how powerful they are. I was feeling pretty stuck. I was working full time, starting some training and developing a new business and I was getting nowhere fast!
The main problem was, I was not managing my time effectively — this was my platform. I had no idea where to start so I took some time out and thought about how important it was to develop my coaching business, how would I feel to be successful and proud of building on my experience from the past and shaping something exciting? I imagined what it would be like to have reached my goal — that increased my motivation!
Then I wrote down some of these things — start reflecting — I would need to do to move towards my goal and identified the most important tasks — one of these was to write a Business Plan. I felt this would give me clarity about what I was delivering, so I wrote all the individual parts of the Plan down as a list and then transferred it into my diary. The other thing was to launch a website which I have now completed, how cool is that? I was totally surprised how little time it took me to succeed in doing things I had been putting off for ages, I imagined they would take many hours and I was too busy to get started. What have you been putting off? Imagine what it would be like to get it done (perhaps it would not even take as long as you though)! Take a look at my website, what do you think?
Looking back over the last few months, I am amazed at how much I have achieved by using some simple self leadership tools. Having a solution focused approach has stopped me procrastinating and looking back, I have made huge progress by changing the way I think. Rather than letting life dictate to me what I cannot do, I am putting in place tools to make myself resilient
How about you? Would you like to become a solution-focused leader so that you can stop going round in circles? The first thing to do is to get started and I want to help you with the gift of a coaching conversation! As a solution-focused leadership coach, I specialise in working with managers and leaders, so if you feel I would understand your situation and be able help you to give yourself a good talking to, get in touch — seek me out on LinkedIn and message me and let’s begin to see you move away from the problem and towards the solution. Visit my website to find out more, small changes make a big difference!