Tim Gallwey in his book ‘The Inner Game of work’ develops the equation Performance = Potential – Interference. We all have both potential within us, and at times, interferences. Interferences – those things that stop us from achieving our potential and delivering performance. As a manager or organisational leader, one of the following interference examples may not mean you need to undertake coaching. But a combination may mean you would benefit from spending time with a coach, exploring what is happening around you. Enabling you to then make clearer, healthier personal and work choices.
Everything is becoming urgent
Sometimes through poor planning, often through sheer workload, even the most predictable and routine of tasks it feels like you are struggling to get on top of it. People seem to be continually asking or approaching you to do things. This firefighting or as in Eisenhower’s matrix, it has become ‘highly important and highly urgent’ and is a critical situation. Critical for delivery, your performance, you as a people leader and your wellbeing.
Feeling overwhelmed can come from urgent work. It also arises from lack of confidence, poor relationships, existing anxiousness, how you are being led and your level of skills and knowledge. It can affect your emotions, physiology, and personal resilience. This results in reduced role effectiveness and efficiency, negative thoughts and self-perception amongst many impacts.
Some weeks as a leader it can feel like you are ‘pushing water uphill’. No matter what you do it feels like you make no headway. No amount of planning, activities or focus helps. Even workplace conversations seem to be circular or not giving you what you need. This may be due to lack of clarity, understanding or even personal confidence and self perception. Either way those around you will sense your frustration. These feelings don’t dissipate, they accumulate. You may even experience confirmation bias and start looking for other areas you thing you aren’t being effective.
No clear path
It is common for roles, projects and pieces of work to be a little nebulous and lacking clarity. This can be due to how they are presented, planned or researched. It also manifests when change is occurring and when there are shifting priorities in the team or business. This causes frustration, uncertainty and can lead to ineffective or wrong decisions being made. Again performance will suffer, both yours and your employees. If you don’t have a clear path, how can you expect those reporting to you to have clarity?
Lacking confidence in stepping forward
Sometimes no matter how skilled or knowledgeable a leader you might be, confidence in roles, situations or with people is lacking. A senior leader or manager of a team is no difference. Starting a new project, engaging with stakeholders, developing the team, making decisions or developing a strategy. It may be pre-existing of confidence or based on recent experiences. It may be a ‘real’ lack of confidence or a perception. Either way they are unhealthy and damaging both short and long term.
Want to develop new understanding
You may be delivering and achieving in your role as leader, however there are times you might want to stretch yourself and develop further. This isn’t about going on more training. More about knowing, exploring and stretching yourself and who you are. The more experience you gain the more curious you become. Knowing more about your leadership and management, understanding how and why people respond to you in certain ways. Understanding why and how you think, feel and behave in certain ways. Then being able to apply more of this learning to your leadership.
As people progress and learn about themselves they often become more reflective. They analyse situations, relationships and experiences and again want to learn from them. Continually evolving in who they are and what they do.
Generally in a leadership or personal rut
Time served, lack of variety and development, poor motivation and lack of focus all can lead to feeling as though you are stuck in a rut. Others, seem engaged and are progressing but you just stay on the treadmill, day after day. Then realising this you then don’t know what’s causing it or how to get off the treadmill and run your own race. Sometimes the rut can seem so deep and insurmountable.
Wanting to stop making excuses
For some in their work and life they get to the point of realising they either procrastinate too often, or justify actions and decisions away. They see the impact this brings to their situation and upon others. How disabling and hindering it can be. They recognise there is a want to be different, gain traction and reengage with work, life and relationships. But where to start? How to bring focus and momentum?
Willing to invest time, resources and energy
Whilst there can be a financial cost, you may realise that putting time, energy and resources into personal development and change is a critical and valuable investment into self. Organisations often invest in more tactical training and development. But, personal life enhancing growth requires often different input and stimulus to achieve meaningful change. This investment, combined with a desire to change are powerful personal motivators and just need encouragement and non directional support.
A place for coaching…
When many of these situations arise people often don’t know where to turn, set about bringing change or who can best help them. These are often mindset, behavioural and personal change needs. One person’s advice or guidance may not suit their particular needs and wants. Coaching works by helping identify causes, ways forward, options, opportunities and steps forward. It give space and time to explore and examine. A coach will not tell or advise you. That’s not their job. Instead they will simply use their questioning, listening, exploration and people skills to get you to bring about your own change and momentum.
Ideally, line managers and leaders should be able to begin to fill this role for you, especially when the ‘issue’ is work based. Organisations however large are often lonely places. Sometimes, talking to an external coach provides a different experience and insight. They can provide more opportunities to develop open conversations, trust and relationships. This leads to more productive and transformational outcomes and successes.
So, if some of these examples resonate with you, then get in touch and let’s have a chat. No obligation. It might be the start of a new direct and dawn for you…
Nick Howell is a specialist in people development. With national experience across, finance, IT, public sector, charity, utilities and education, his focus is simply how to make people even better than they are already. For themselves, their teams and their organisations. He uses training and coaching to help people change and develop, attaining the goals and ambitions they seek. Get in touch today.