Lead, follow, or get out of the way…
We live in a time of enormous change, great uncertainty, unpleasant surprise and even enormous hardship for some, and its not getting better. Most people’s lives have been impacted in some way by the financial crisis after 2008, and even more by the cycle of crises since then. Grexit, Brexit, refugees, terrorism, election shocks, world-wide we are jolted from one crisis to the next, all seeming to converge into one endless spiral of looming disaster.
What was simply unthinkable a couple of years ago, has become reality with astounding ease and speed. Think about the world wide contagion from the financial crisis. Nokia and Blackberry effectively disappearing ‘overnight’, Europe and Greece moving from one crisis, to the next even bigger crisis. European peace, that we took for granted, suddenly shaken by the Ukranian crisis. Great Britain deciding to up and leave. Voters across the world up in arms, and sometimes even literally. From Europe to South Africa to the UK to Turkey to the US to Syria, the status quo has been rocked, and things will never be the same again. Across the world people – as citizens, voters and workers – are driven by uncertainty, expressing doubt, anger, dissatisfaction and distrust in their elected leaders.
The one thing that has influenced and had a direct impact on each and every one of these crisis’ is leadership – and often even, the lack of it! From the big banks, to the tech companies, to Greece, the UK, Russia, the US and to Europe, leadership is in crisis. Leaders themselves, are responding and showing up in disappointing and even shocking ways. At a time where we had hoped that leaders had learnt from the mistakes of the past, many still seem to be making choices that lead to even bigger mistakes and catastrophe. Just think of three names: Putin, Johnson and Trump. Each time we think that it cannot get any worse, it actually does.
Wherever we look in the world, politics or business, we seem to find some form of leadership crisis..
Everybody seems to be a coach these days. And despite the wide proliferation of life-, business-, executive-, marriage-, start-up-, anti-aging-, career- or whatever type of coaches people define them as, for some there still seems to be a hesitancy to engage with a coach.
So again, in its simplest form, what could coach do for you? People are sometimes disappointed because they had a different expectation and sometimes even a wrong expectation of what could be possible.
To put it bluntly, and without being unkind, if you want or need to be told exactly what to do, go search for a consultant. If you need to find out why you landed up in the situation you did are and why you are not satisfied or even unhappy about that, therapy could really be a better option for you.
If your focus is to become the best person you could possibly be, and from that perspective you want to set yourself some really challenging goals, a professional coach could really help you develop that kind of future. This may be personal or in work, or even both at the same time. A coach guides you to develop yourself and to consciously make the right choices yourself.
Group coaching works more or less in the same way as being coached personally, and can be just as effective. The major difference is that there is a group perspective to be developed and group goals to define and achieve.
A great coach is someone who helps you get clarity about who you can be and getting there, and holds you to that, regardless of personal or business
Being coached is really a journey of discovery…
Leadership is a strange concept. So many people talk about it, have strong opinions about it and discuss or argue about it, without really knowing or understanding exactly what is means. When I ask people in courses what it means for them, I get a wide variety of answers, and very often way off the mark.People sometimes fervently believe that leadership is ‘not for them’ or that they don’t have what it takes. This could maybe be the result of leadership being intellectualised to the point that it becomes difficult to grasp what it actually means. For example, a manager gets told in a review by his manager – ‘You have to improve your leadership or else…’.
Right, now he knows exactly what to do and exactly how to go about it…?
From my perspective, leadership is the same thing: wether you are a mother trying to do her best with the challenges of children and a family, a middle manager trying to make a contribution with his team to his organisation, Steve Jobs revolutionising the world as we know it, or Ghandi changing the fate of a nation and becoming a beacon of light for generations to come.
Simply put, it is about making choices about the impact you yourself can and want to have, on others. To elaborate on this, to be conscious of the impact you have on people and the way they behave as result of that impact. Then making conscious choices about that awareness and consequently being able to influence and shift the impact you can have. Regardless of who you are and what your role is, the principle is the same. However, depending on the specific environment you choose to have an impact on – for example, a family, a team or a nation – the difficulty will increase.
If you need to be driven over a difficult mountain pass in the middle of the night, and you have a choice between three drivers and the same car – none of whom have driven the pass – who would you choose? The cocky and arrogant driver, the driver who gives you the feeling that he would rather let you drive, or the driver who is calm and quietly self-assured and who puts you at ease?
Which of these drivers would you be? Why should passengers trust you to get them where they want to be, safely?
So ask yourself, what kind of leader are you now? And what kind of leader would you like to be?