Turning Your Problems Into Opportunities

I’ve had the pleasure of watching wonderful leadership in action recently. 

Kicking off a new coaching assignment with a client, we had a three-way meeting with her sponsor in the company. 

Getting the sponsor’s input at the start helps the coachee get more clarity on what success from the coaching assignment looks and feels like for all parties. It helps to highlight any blindspots the coachee may have. 

In this instance, the sponsor happened to be the CEO of a large and complex organisation. 

He explained to the coachee how much he valued her strengths and her experience. He gave examples of how he benefits from them in his role, and how he sees others leveraging her great work to good effect too. 

He said the only thing holding her back was her lack of belief (which she had also highlighted to me beforehand). 

That lack of belief was limiting her number of effective contributions and therefore her potential impact. Again, he highlighted what he meant with examples. 

He then gave permission for her to bridge the gap by building one step at a time. Instead of telling her what that first step would be, he asked her (relating back to the examples). 

She clarified the first step. She then explained how she might approach subsequent steps. 

What was so wonderful about the leadership? 

Firstly, credit to the coachee. The sponsor’s feedback was invited. So when it was received, it landed well and was  clearly understood. 

What was wonderful about the leadership was the impact the conversation had on the coachee. Not from a cheer-leading or confidence perspective, but from an empowerment and ownership one. 

When I next met the coachee, she emphasised how trusted she felt by her sponsor. With trust came accountability. 

She referenced how clear she was on her objectives for our coaching assignment. That made it much easier for her to clarify her process that she could embed to achieve them. She had already started. 

She knew what was within her control, and what support was available to her when she needed it too. 

She reframed her ‘problem’ into an opportunity. If she could overcome this debilitating, self-imposed limitation, she felt she could achieve anything she set her mind to. 

I believe that too. Her capability is not the issue. 

It’s her capacity to access her knowledge and potential in the right way at the right time that matters more. 

He helped her focus on her capacity, that was his genius. He gave her control  and ownership of the development process. 

How do leaders build and enable ‘capacity’ in their key people? 

They coach more and direct less. 

To see how leaders in thriving organisations are evolving their style and approach, click on this link to download a copy of Lifting the Lid on Leadership.