Pragmatic advice for coaches, managers & leaders

The Snowboarding Hermit

Extreme

In 2006 I ran the last of the three marathons that I have completed: London, New York, Dublin. It was a truly fabulous feeling to have set myself a goal of completing the run in a certain time, training hard to achieve that and crossing the finishing line knowing I had done so. I can inform you that dark Irish stout is a great recovery sports drink!

When I completed my first marathon it was still undertaken by relatively few people. I was considered somewhat unusual and the training required seemed outside of most people’s comprehension. Now the world and his wife, and her grandmother, have all finished a marathon. Indeed, if you haven’t taken that ability to run a marathon and added a 2.4 mile open water swim and a 112 mile bike ride to it, that make up an Iron Man(TM) Triathlon, to be truthful, you’re considered a bit of a lightweight. The extraordinary has become quite ordinary.

Peace

I have a “love: less-than-love” relationship with meditation. I go through the apparently normal wrestling match of a beginner regularly: I try to still my thoughts which seem only to get more random and appear more rapidly, the harder I try to focus on my breathing. I am at the beginning of yet another attempt to include some stillness into my daily routine. This personal journey has coincided with an explosion of interest in the West in yoga, Eastern psychology and particularly Buddhism.

These two events fascinate me: the emergence of extreme sports and radical challenges, coupled with an increase in the demand for peace, serenity and a deep quiet. They provide a dichotomy that gives an insight into a key challenge of the human condition: stability vs change. A challenge faced in the workplace on a daily basis.

Stop making assumptions

Often managers and leaders will casually drop into our coaching conversations a well-hackneyed phrase when describing why their team isn’t embracing a new project, team structure, or performance management process: “Oh well, that’s because people don’t like change, do they?” Well, actually, many of them do. In fact, not only don’t they dislike it, a lot of people live for it. The status quo is dull; change is exciting. It may true for some people who like stability. Just don’t assume that everyone operates from this particular worldview. This reference to resistance is often, of course, more a reflection of the distaste, or fatigue, around further change, that the manager is feeling, rather than the troops. Whatever the cause, there is ample opportunity for a great coaching conversation.

Coaching Tips:

1. Be aware of managers reflecting their own feelings/positions and transferring these onto their team.

2. Challenge & explore any “global” statements about what everybody does/doesn’t like.

3. Explore ways of keeping change manageable for those who are less comfortable with it whilst engaging those fully who live for the thrill.

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When you are ready to bring about a change in the way your managers and leaders operate to a way of helping them facilitate outstanding performance in their teams, do contact me here or glenn(at)theexecutivecoachingblog.com. The Contacts page has more details. No obligation of course, I would be very happy to discuss your challenges with you.