The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership. – Harvey S. Firestone
Recently, Heidi told me her Story; a single mother, commuting to a new job that is filled with opportunity, but is also a stretch assignment.
When the realities of single parenting are combined with a new assignment in a new market and a new company/culture, a lot of pressure is added. Such pressure often discloses developmental opportunities if we are paying attention.
As a leadership development coach and people developer, I’m excited to begin Heidi’s executive coaching engagement. She has both a successful track record and is self-aware enough to recognize her success in this new assignment will require personal growth.
Heidi is perfect candidate for executive coaching. Unfortunately, the majority of high potential leaders promoted due to personal success are ill-prepared for the demands of leading others. Core leadership skills must be developed in order to lead oneself and others at the next level.
How will Heidi succeed?
Heidi’s future success is not the question here. She will continue to experience personal success, as demonstrated by her journey so far. She will continue to stretch and be stretched. She is a “high-potential” young professional in her mid-thirties with the drive to make a difference in life. The question is not will she get there, it is how and when and at what cost? Leadership development coaching will accelerate her journey and minimize the hard knocks along the way.
Last week, I wrote about “the conspiracy of time” and the push back exerted against our development as people, as leaders. Simply speaking, the conspiracy of time is an enticement to live over-committed lives.
Why does this matter? Because when it comes to personal success, there is one thing missing in most people’s lives today, space.
Why must you create space to grow as a leader?
Here is the Next Level Coaching philosophy. This is the “secret” to accelerated personal growth and development … how to enjoy maturity as a person. It is the “formula for future success”.
The Best Predictor of Future Success is the
ability and willingness to learn and change
achieved through consistent reflection on
truth found in the Story.
What does it mean to create space?
Consistent reflection requires space in our lives. “Created Space” is the disciplined use of time, place, and resources in pursuit of truth “hidden” in the Story.
Discipline allows us to get where we want to go. It can be a systematic method to obtain a desired outcome. In this case, the disciplined use of time, place, and resources will accelerate your development as a leader. Sound good?
Time. This is an intentional block of time for thinking and consideration regarding on how you are showing up in your relationships. It could be a few minutes following a meeting or a one-hour coaching session. If it is to happen it will be a scheduled appointment.
Place. I have an appointment scheduled every morning. I sit down first thing at an antique oak library table. The picture in this blog is my “place”. Believe me, I am grateful to have such a great space. It fits me and works for me: windows, the natural, antique red oak library table. With or without these frills, though all my adult life, I have created a space for my “personal quiet time”.
Resources. This has a broad application and can mean a book that speaks your language, paper and three pens (I use black, green, red), my journal, pictures, stories, other people, even a leadership development coach. All these things support the growth process.
Listen. Remember, creating space is a disciplined use of time, place, and resources to help you listen to the Story for truth. Truth comes as feedback, experience, success, and failure.
We would do well to remember this: any story that involves people includes your story, my story, and our story. The power to change comes when we are able to see the truth and respond in a proactive way.
While I’ve illustrated one example from my personal discipline of a daily morning appointment, there are others. Here are two other scenarios as examples of other times when creating space will help.
- After a meeting – invest a few minutes to explore the Story. What just happened? How did it go? How did you show up? Were you confident or intimidated? Why? (Use open-ended questions to explore and listen for truth.)
- After an intense conversation – same basic questions…you might add: Why did I feel threatened and want to fight? Why did I feel threatened and want to run? How could I have stayed and engaged the person? How did I do well and how can I do even better next time? How will I follow up?
Creating space for consistent reflection is the key to accelerated personal growth and development. It is how you will grow your influence as a leader: first of yourself, then of others. When you hit the ground running and fall into bed, your power is diminished. With a commitment to consistent reflection, you will release your leadership and contribution to the world.
Now you know the “secret” to any leadership development plan: you must create space to reflect, to think, to ponder and connect the dots.
Heidi is taking the first step in her personal development plan, she is creating space and we’ll call it executive coaching.
How much space do you have in your daily life for reflection?
THE PEOPLE PROJECT:
Your Guide to Changing Behavior and Growing Your Influence as a Leader