These few thoughts are consciously in the context of Coaching for personal and professional development. I include: Executive Coaching, Organizational Human Resources programmes, individual Professionals, Business Owners, career path and vocation seekers. In other words, human beings seeking to discover and tap their very own natural gifts and potential. I also include manager, supervisor and team leaders in support of their own roles and self-understanding. And when people need to work together on a common mission, this thinking also informs our High Performing Teams programs.
An important declaration: I myself have been a corporate executive, and have successfully run small businesses. This experience together with my passion for ‘working with the individual’ is key. It is my firm belief and experience that every individual has infinite value to add – when they choose to do so. Who one works with and how one is led, guided or inspired are as significant other factors. Many writers in the field of development also acknowledge the merits of: “seek first to understand then to be understood”; “respect the individual”; “tap into the individual’s potential”; when you first understand yourself, you are in a better position to understand another. The ancient wisdom tradition captures this essence well with the words: “Man Know Thyself and you shall know the Universe and God – Pythagoras, Greek philosopher, mathematician, mystic, scientist – 500BC”. Shakespeare wrote: “physician, heal thyself; the patient already holds many of the remedies”.
As I often say: I contend that there is no such thing as ‘Business’ or ‘Organization’ or ‘Company’ or ‘Corporation’! There are only PEOPLE having meaningful CONVERSATIONS with other people. Whether it is manager to employee, professional to client, business to business, peer to peer – nothing eventuates without a conversation. Good conversations become better when relationships are respected and nurtured. There is understanding and respect. Therefore tapping the individual’s potential first, paves the way for valuing enhanced contributions between human beings. If seeking to identify potential is daunting, research, scientific discipline and the will to explore today present us with many tools to start that journey.
The International Coach Federation defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential, which is particularly important in today’s uncertain and complex environment. Coaches honour the client as the expert in his or her life and work and believe every client is creative, resourceful and whole. Standing on this foundation, the coach’s responsibility is to:
- Discover, clarify, and align with what the client wants to achieve
- Encourage client self-discovery
- Elicit client-generated solutions and strategies
- Hold the client responsible and accountable
This process helps clients dramatically improve their outlook on work and life, while improving their leadership skills and unlocking their potential”.
After many years of coaching, mentoring and consulting, I commence a coaching journey with what I have called QuestUniquE’s Five KEY ANCHORS. These provide some objective reference points:
- Individual’s VALUES
- Individual’s STRENGTHS
- Personality Preference profiling
- Emotional Intelligence – Self and or 360 feedback.
- Individual’s holistic context using The ROQUE Model for a conversation starter.
one more step needs to precede the Five KEY ANCHORS. What is the essence of who you are striving to be? Just like the acorn has no choice but to become an oak tree! No matter where it is planted or what different circumstances it has to strive through, it will become an oak tree one day. How can one really intellectually, rationally or intuitively know that in the context of a conversation? The answer in my experience is – not easily! So we look for clues or symptoms that may point us in the right direction.
Passions is for me that one more step. Not the everyday use of passions rather, according to Heraclitus: “..to know the thought by which all things are steered through all things..” A simple exercise to identify those things or experiences one instinctively embraces, feels at home with, comes alive with, feels a sense of fulfillment from – these offer clues. In what is captured, one can see emerging patterns and over time, begin to uncover one’s essential urge to become or experience. Adding Passions to the Five KEY ANCHORS then gives you a compass to navigate by – that’s why we call it your TRUE NORTH.
Your unique TRUE NORTH is the template which is available for reference at every coaching session to reflect how proposed actions or decisions align with the coachee and the desired outcome. Of course there is a wealth of other coaching tools available from multiple sources. I identify the Five KEY ANCHORS as fundamental and invoke other inventory and testing instruments as specific need requires. Note, none of the genre I speak about refers to skills or intelligence quotient ratings.