Tammy shares tools that empower you to design your own fresh perspective, an action plan for today that will change your tomorrow.  "It's all in how you look at it."

Tough Questions...Clear Answers

Monday, September 22, 2008

4 steps to Resolution

Recently I had a fruitful exchange with an International Management Consultant on the topic of what to do when leaders are immobilized by fear. The bottom line question was,
"what is a proven approach by a leader to support positive action (even if fear is present) toward resolution?"

Today I will share the first part of two for the answer and possible solution to the question.

As a coach of leaders, I have found the most interesting and compelling part of
coaching executives is their disbelief that fear exists (for them.) They will call it a lot of other things, they will reference something that may 'infringe on their reputation,' 'compromise their integrity,' 'derail their momentum' but rarely do they identify those as fear. What is very present is the sense of being stuck - because to move might be to acknowledge that which they most want to avoid. So what supports action? I will start with the two of the four elements here today.

1) Get to the core belief/value around the 'what if' the worse thing happens. When leaders can identify the elephant in the corner of the room that is sitting on their solution, and it hurts, while they pursue getting to the truth for them, they will find comfort in the midst of that scary place.

I call it being in Breakdown on the way to Breakthrough. It's not uncommon to have fears of looking bad, failing, being exposed as 'fraud' and losing trust within our team. In fact, the leaders that do have those reality checks are (I have found to be) very strong leaders and are highly regarded in their field. They have a keen sense of self and humility that is a necessary element in a top-notch leader.

2) When the elephant in the room has been named – coaching enters into the mix toward building a plan to move. That plan is often multi-dimensional or as simplistic as a single action step – what is necessary is the documentation. With every plan for action there is necessary documentation, to support the plan or step and to use it as a learning/teaching point in the future. When leaders have that road map to follow or to tell them where they have been, it often removes the element of fear around ‘what if I make a mistake’ in the future because they have the data to support their move.

Our next posting will have the final two elements of taking positive action toward your resolution - even if you are a little fearful. For the time being, begin a plan to identify and name that elephant in the corner (mine often has pink polka dots.) It is the action of naming itself that you will begin to gain power and it's size begins to become less of a threat. Truth telling is key.

Here are some coaching questions for your consideration based on this article:

Coaching Exercises

  1. How would you describe your current relationship to resolution (even if fear is present?)

  2. What works well to promote and encourage resolution in your workplace? Look for the strengths, good behaviors, supportive cultural strategies, etc which may exist.

  3. What is not working so well and therefore is an opportunity for improvement? Again, look for behaviors, strategies (or lack of strategy), challenges, choices, etc.

  4. What action step can you identify now to remove any fear? Consider what you have identified above that works well. What resources will it take?

  5. As a result of identifying and naming your obstacle, what are you committing to for the future?

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