📚 Back to basics
No shame in starting over.
Hey there 👋🏼
This month I focused on growth and improvement. I’ve been feeling like I’ve been slowing down my rate of growth and of learning new topics.
This is something that goes against my nature, contrary to what I believe that I, as a professional, as a coach and as a parent setting an example should be doing. With that in mind, I’ve decided to go back to basics.
As a manager, I trace back the roots of my craft to one simple thing: connections.
Creating connections, maintaining connections and creating the conditions for new connections to be made.
From the first impression you make when you meet your team, to the lasting memories you leave when you leave, these connections are crucial for your daily feeling of accomplishment or frustration.
With that in mind, I went back and worked on my one-to-one meetings, from the way I make questions to the way I document them.
It’s been an interesting experience, humbling at times, that reminded me that it doesn’t matter how many one-to-ones I’ve had or even how many different profiles of people I’ve managed, we’re always at a place of our lives ready to learn something new.
The book I’m sharing this month is “The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever” by Michael Bungay Stanier.
It was one of those books that I’ve started without really knowing what to expect. I wasn’t at all expecting to reach the other end with so much knowledge to disseminate and so many practical examples to put into place.
The book focuses on the 7 Essential Questions you should make during a coaching session, with the end goal of stopping giving automatic advice and start making more questions so we get better at having people find their own answers.
These are the 7 Essential Questions the book focuses on:
“What’s on your mind?” - break the barriers by allowing the person to share their thoughts and feelings
“And what else?” - get even deeper into the issue
“What’s the real challenge here for you?” - focus on how the issue really is affecting their lives
“What do you want?” - differentiate want vs need
“How can I help?” - avoid giving generic advice but focus on how you can really be assertive to the matter at hand
“If you’re saying yes to this, what are you saying no to?” - foster responsibility and strategic thinking
“What was most useful for you?” - to create a learning moment
Throughout the book, there were interesting studies shared, but to me, the one that stick with me the most was when Michael Stanier shifts the focus into Neuroscience.
He shares the idea that our brain, unconsciously, asks itself every five seconds “Is it safe here? Or is it dangerous?”.
It’s our brain’s deep-rooted nature that needs to be ready to get into a fight or flight mode, an automatic physiological reaction to an event that is perceived as stressful or frightening, activating the nervous system and triggering an acute stress response that prepares our body to fight or run for its life.
Especially in the process of maintaining your connections, you can use the TERA framework to try to understand how your brain unconsciously acts with that relationship.
TERA stands for Tribe, Expectation, Rank and Autonomy. The idea behind it is that your brain reacts differently to different people.
Tribe (T) - The brain asks: Are you with me or against me?
Expectation (E) - The brain asks: Do I know what’s about to happen? Do I feel safe about it?
Rank (R) - The brain asks: Are you more or less important than me? Do I feel secure about my status?
Autonomy (A) - The brain asks: Are you making all the choices, or do I have some say? Do I feel like I have some control over my destiny?
Think about two scenarios. A relationship at work that is good, prosperous and that you’re both building on. And another relationship that you feel stressed, insecure even.
For both answer the questions above and try to comprehend how and where to improve the relationship, where to improve your TERA quotient.
I’ve been doing these exercises with some of my connections and finding some truly incredible explanations as to why some are great and others not so much. Remember to do them putting yourself also in the other person’s shoes and that will help you understand even more the reasoning behind some reactions.
I now challenge you to revise where you are in terms of your learning path, your personal and professional growth.
When was the last time you learned something new? The last time you questioned methods and ways of thinking that are fundamental to you?
Let’s move this conversation to Twitter if you want 🙂 (just click the link to tweet at me directly)
Until next month!
📚 What I’ve been reading
I believe that this book is powerful for anyone managing or coaching people at any level.
Without wanting to unleash my “Advice Monster”, all I recommend is that you dive in with a pen, a paper and with your growth mindset turned on!
My experience with the book is that you’ll read it fairly quickly, you’ll create a list of several other books to follow up on the topic of coaching, of fighting the low retention of knowledge and - weirdly enough - of neuroscience! 🧠
Have you read any other books on coaching that you believe are worth mentioning? Drop me a message on Twitter!
📣 Top Quote of the Month
Many leaders told us they don’t have the time in this high pressure economy for the slow and tedious work of teaching people and helping them grow.
This might seem like something that only happens to others but I invite you to review your relationship with your reports, with your manager even, and reassess how valuable those connections have been. Reassess how you have contributed positively to it.
I say this time and time again, there is no shame in failing, there is no problem in trying and not succeeding. To me there is a problem in identifying a problematic situation and doing nothing about it.
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Have an incredible month! 💪🏼
A Leader's Mindset