Investing in our capacity for inspired leadership should be critical, right? Yet, even leaders who want to be senior leaders and are prepared to invest in this journey through coaching, often struggle when asked what is it that differentiates their leadership and how do they know?
Add to this, that workforces and individuals are demanding more for their own communal and personal needs, and it becomes even more of an imperative to do the work on ourselves to discover who we really are and why others should want to follow us.
Judging by the responses I often hear during coaching sessions with my clients, not that many of us have fully explored what it means to be inspirational or to truly understand what it is about us that engages and gains the commitment of people in our teams. We sometimes are lucky enough to see great leadership or experience it first-hand in the work place. When we do our purpose and roles somehow become simpler, emotionally we experience a pull of excitement towards a vision that we can share, shape and identify with, we begin to engage at a very different level. Curiously, we often wonder what it was about that particular leader, in that moment and those circumstances, that triggered such feelings? What was the X factor that we could not quite put our finger on and how can we in turn use such skill? Because these are skills to be learnt along with our innate personalities that help us achieve our potential for great leadership.
Certainly, to begin to address the challenge of being inspirational requires a more authentic, relational and honest style of leadership. However, to build these human characteristics requires a deepening self-awareness in order to recognise how our mindsets, worldviews and our inner world can limit our connectivity with others and capability to inspire them. Coaching provides a framework for dialogue with the client’s inner dimension of purpose, values, sense of self and to relate these to the outer realm of behaviour. In doing so, the capacity to be present and more relational, to create and make choices in the moment and to strengthen resolve is developed in a way that is more authentic and aligned with the ‘self’. In this frame of ‘being’, others can see our true values, feel listened to and involved in the outcomes of their working world. And as a useful by-product of this approach, the energy required to lead is conserved, bringing a more resilient and sustainable way of attaining our goals.
To be more inspirational then requires us to have the courage to shift our ‘way of being’ from a pre-conceived and rigid view of the world towards a more understanding ‘way of being’ that is agile and, listens to what is trying to emerge, releasing and engaging the full potential of the collective. By creating a deepening personal awareness through coaching, letting go of limiting belief patterns, accessing new insights and acting in the moment, it is possible to inspire with a more enlightened and responsible leadership and to create that X factor that we all crave to see in our senior leaders.
Simon Dolan is a Leadership Coach supporting and challenging leaders to be authentic, resilient and develop the human qualities necessary for leadership in the 21st Century.
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