Day 17: What is the Advantage of Reflection in Coaching and Leadership?

As we journey towards emerging as entrepreneurial or organizational leaders during COVID-19, have you thought of the numerous advantages of having a partnership with a professional coach? My guess is that you will eventually be coached, but just as importantly you will learn to use coaching as a leadership competency! Leaders can find themselves in overwhelming situations at the best of times. As a result, they are likely to be especially focused on their actual work—the tasks that they see as critical to their success—and less focused on the feelings of people around them, while not making self-reflection a priority.

Despite this, could your leadership advantage be self-reflection?

Self-reflection builds awareness of ourselves and others. It can also help us all become better at noticing and appreciating others points of view and our own unconscious biases.

The International Coaching Federation (ICF), defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.  Integral to both roles of the coach and coachee is the ability to self-assess and be self-aware.

The International Coaching Federation defines the competency of Creating Awareness as the ability to integrate and accurately evaluate multiple sources of information and to make interpretations that help the client to gain awareness of the situation and thereby achieve agreed-upon results.

What makes this important to you as a leader?

My Social Emotional Intelligence Certification and years of coaching combined with many life and leadership lessons deepened my belief that there is a huge importance in being aware of our own feelings and those of the people around us. It is important for people to have the ability to use this to inform our thoughts and behaviors when making decisions. Doing this requires valuable reflection and then putting it into action! I live for those “aha” moments that deepen me as coaching leader and being present for my clients insights! In my coaching sessions, it is often like experiencing a virtuous cycle, where I am showing up with my presence of compassion along with challenging them to take radical action.  Serving my clients in an authentic way creates many insights, often for us both. The result is that we both emerge stronger as a coach and leader to serve others! Could this shared conversational reflective time be amplified with a confidential coach that allows you to be seen, heard, and understood? All of this is combined with a confidential and safe space to allow the client to recognize their autopilot and instead listen more mindfully.

In today’s constantly changing environment, adaptability and flexibility are vital to being able to ‘keep up with the times’. They are also necessary for us to be able to lead and inspire others in a safe psychological way when people may need some extra empathy and care!  Your new superpower could be your ability to develop the competency of a coaching leader for yourself and others. Your leadership, coaching presence, and how you show up comes from reflection and self–awareness. Reflection is your leadership advantage! Don’t mistake mindfully listening and acknowledging feelings with agreeing with the other person. It’s possible to recognize and/or respond to someone’s feelings but still disagree with the substance of what he/she is saying.

Examples include:

  • “Sounds as if you’re feeling pretty frustrated (upset, angry, sad, etc.).”
    • “I can see you feel _____________about that.”
    • “I can appreciate why you might feel that way.”
    • “What I’m hearing is_____________”

Ask open-ended questions to open up the door for more dialogue:

“Help me understand better…”

“Tell me about…”

“What are your thoughts on…”

What’s most important to you?

“I’m interested in knowing about…”

 So, what’s most important about self-awareness and self-reflection to you?  How could you bring more of this into your life and leadership journey?

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