Working with the director of a mid-sized business, I recognize the impact of Austin’s* thinking on the overall office operation. Certainly, the tangible lack of productivity occurred within the offices, yet her thoughts perpetuate it.
Here is how it happens: The three top performers also wreak the most havoc on the business. They each tend to act independently and lack a teamwork mentality. This means they rarely share information that others needed without much effort on the part of those requesting the information. In first meeting Austin, she says, “that is simply the way they are.” She hesitates to have a conversation with them believing it would not make a difference.
Notice her basic thought, “that’s just the way it is and it will not change.” She finds comfort and security in not discussing these issues with her top employees, and quickly sets aside the discomfort and frustration of her other employees impacted by these three.
When coaching clients like Austin, I suggest considering five questions:
- What is my thought?
- This thought generates what feelings and actions?
- What result am I seeking?
- What thought creates that result?
- Believing the transformed thought, how will I show up?
In this situation, transformational coaching shows up as:
What is my thought? “That’s just the way they are and it will not change.”
This thought generates what feelings and actions? Thinking that thought creates both frustration, security, and comfort. While frustrated with top employees, thinking they will not change gives her some sense of security and comfort. It means she does not have to engage in what may be an uncomfortable conversation. It leads to zero action on her part.
What result is she seeking? A cohesive team with open communication and an easy and comfortable exchange of information between all colleagues and supervisors.
What thought creates the result she seeks? “These employees want to be top performers and perform work at the highest level, which includes being both great independent workers and team players.”
Believing the transformed thought, what will she do? Believing the transformed thought, she will engage in a conversation with the three employees. Austin understands employees act to meet their own needs. She expresses both curiosity and compassion for those needs. As a leader with transformational thinking, Austin clearly communicates her wishes as well as those of the organization. She confidently engages in a conversation about the underlying interests (perhaps for efficient exchange of information), reflects an openness to hearing ideas about how to meet that need, and clearly requests a specific action. She outlines clear consequences for complying with the request.
It is easy to forget the impact of our thoughts on any situation. By raising the awareness of our thinking, transforming thoughts, and acting from the transformed thoughts, coaching helps get desired results.