Please join us for a special podinar:
Unlearning Coaching: Challenging ‘the Rules’ to Do More of What We Love,
presented by Alison Whitmire, PCC and President of Learning in Action.
WED. JUNE 20, 2018. Two options to choose from!
Option 1: 7:00-8:00 am PT / 10:00-11:00 am ET
Option 2: 3:00-4:00 pm PT / 6:00-7:00 pm ET
Session will be recorded
How could challenging some of the dogma of coaching actually help you get more coaching clients? How could reframing some of the principles we’ve all been taught as coaches actually allow you to help your clients more? How could asking more of your clients help you create a coaching practice that fully fits your life?
Join us for this engaging podinar (combination podcast/webinar) in which we’ll explore how to create a coaching practice we want, and love the coaching practice we create.
In this Podinar, We’ll Explore:
You will leave with ideas of what you want to rethink or unlearn to grow your practice by tapping more deeply into your own innate uniqueness.
*** Ask your questions when you register or during the live event. We’ll get to as many as we can! ***
YAY! THIS PODINAR WILL BE RECORDED. ONLY REGISTRANTS RECEIVE RECORDING.
Psst…What’s a podinar? A podinar combines the best parts of a podcast and a webinar. You’ll listen in on a fascinating interview with a seasoned coach, be able to engage and interact by asking questions of our presenter and audience.
*** Ask your questions when you register or during the live event. We’ll get to as many as we can. ***
We hope you’ll join us!
Alison Whitmire, PCC
President, Learning in Action
ABOUT OUR PRESENTER: Alison Whitmire
Alison Whitmire is president of Learning in Action. Alison is a PCC, certified and credentialed Executive Coach to CEOs. She is a professional speaker, TEDx organizer, and weekly blogger.
ABOUT OUR PODINARS:
Learning in Action’s podinars are moderated by Alison Whitmire, president of Learning in Action.
The intention of our podinars is to support anyone who works in a coaching role supporting others:
ABOUT LEARNING IN ACTION:
We offer individuals, teams, and organizations effective tools and methods for enhancing Emotional Intelligence in relationship, in conflict, in real-time. Serving leadership development professionals and executive coaches worldwide.
YAY! THIS PODINAR WILL BE RECORDED. ONLY REGISTRANTS RECEIVE RECORDING. So REGISTER NOW, whether or not you can attend live. The day following the event, watch for an email with a link to the recorded podinar.
A number of years ago, I began to see a pattern in myself that I could no longer overlook. Whenever I coached an older female client, I experienced an internal dialogue that was critical of them. YIKES! That’s a big f-ing deal!
The foundation of my work as a coach is in seeing the hero in every client. My internal disparagements were infecting me and my client relationships and souring our results. Oh, I could always justify or explain away my criticism. “She’s being a victim.” “She’s just wanting attention.” But when I looked at my default patterns and the results they created, it was clear. I was the problem.
We all have patterns. Patterns of thinking, feeling, and wanting that reflect experiences from our past and how we’ve been shaped by them. Not metaphorically or figuratively shaped, but literally, neurobiologically shaped. Our brains, our minds and our bodies have been shaped by the events of our lives and the meaning we’ve made from them. And if we are not aware of it, we bring that pattern of being into our present moment experiences with our clients.
The perniciousness of these patterns is that they tend to be invisible to us. They are our “default settings.” They lie outside our conscious awareness. And because our patterns are largely hidden, we will tend to cling to, explain and defend them, even when they don’t serve us or our clients.
We will experience a given moment and believe that our internal reactions are reasonable and responsive to the unique situation at hand. And yet with help from reflection and self-examination, we can see that we’ve had many moments just like this one, with different people, in different circumstances, that yielded similar results. And we are the common denominator.
One way we can detect these hidden default patterns is through self-reflection. In reflection, we can become aware of how our unconscious self can take over, applying a lens colored by the past, to the present moment. Reflection helps us see trends in relationships, behaviors, performance and outcomes that we wouldn’t see otherwise.
For years when running CEO roundtables, I regularly asked members to present their lifeline, a chronological explanation of the pivotal moments in their lives. Routinely, as roundtable members narrated their lifeline, some obvious patterns would emerge that had been hidden previously. (e.g. Changing companies every seven years like an itch, engaging in partnerships that failed for similar reasons each time, cycling through employees whom they adored in the beginning and despised by the end.)
After much reflection and self-inquiry, I realized that the pattern in my coaching relationships with older women was based upon my relationship with my mom, which has been a roller coaster for most of my life. (We are now in a stable, positive place, I’m thrilled to report. Aging has helped us both. :))
Since I’ve become aware of this default pattern and its origin, I can now spot it more quickly, before it becomes behavioral in my coaching. I can actively challenge my reflexive thinking and feeling, and instead, design my thinking, feeling and behavior to support my client and my coaching. If I sense that pattern kicking in, I say to myself, “That’s my pattern.” And then I design a thought and a way of being that honors both me and my client. (Says easy, does hard.)
As coaches, we are always on the lookout for our own patterns. Because our nonconscious patterns show up in our coaching. Whether we want them to or not. And whether we know it or not. Just like mine did.
We have a responsibility to our clients, ourselves and our coaching to learn as much as possible about our default patterns so that our coaching is responsive to our client’s present moment and not a reflex from our past that we can’t see.
If you’ve been following this blog, you know where I’m going with this. IMO, there is no better way of shining a light on our default patterns (and how they are likely to show up in our coaching) than experiencing the EQ Profile.
The EQ Profile reveals our default patterns of thinking, feeling and wanting that get in the way of being present in our coaching. From my own EQ Profile, I became aware of my desire to self-soothe by acting quickly in the face of a challenge. Before I became aware of this pattern, I would non-consciously coach my clients toward taking action when they were challenged, maybe even before they were ready. I was unconsciously projecting my own self-soothing strategy onto my client. Not good! And the only way I became aware of that pattern is from my EQ Profile.
We can coach by design or by default. We can avoid taking what can be a confronting look at ourselves, and continue to coach from patterns we are oblivious to. Or we can proactively and deeply reflect on our lives from different perspectives using a variety of tools and techniques, become aware of our patterns, and design more intentional choices in our coaching that get our clients better results.
The choice we are making by doing the work of introspection is the same choice we are asking our clients to make. To examine the hard-to-see aspects of ourselves so that we can create ourselves. We can express our true self in all of our uniqueness instead of following the imprint made upon us by others from our past. We can coach from the space of design versus default. We can be the example for our clients of living a life by design and not by default.
Do you know your default patterns? Do you know how they show up in your coaching?
Join the conversation.
P.S. Our 2018 training calendar is now set. Check out the entire course catalog or click on the link below for our two new Team Training courses launching soon.
This week, while Alison Whitmire takes a week off from her blog, we welcome a guest blogger: our own Corrie Weikle*, Learning in Action’s Director of Training.
There were five minutes left on the clock. My ice hockey team was down 2-1 to move on to the national championship. It was the classic “Not enough time left, and my team is down by one point to get to the big game” story. You’ve heard it before.
The bench where my team sat was a depressing place to be.
Having little emotional literacy at that point in my life, I’d say we were a bunch of doubt-filled, negative Nancy, glass half-empty miserable people. The stakes were high, stress was soaring, and we were consumed by our own risk-driven internal experiences.
If you’ve happened to take the EQ Profile and you recall the dimensions, you’d say my teammates and I were primarily negatively-oriented, and likely over-accessing many of our distressing feelings.
The Breakdown in My Blind Spot
Everything we had worked so hard for was on the line, and our ability to perform at our best was traded for sloppy mistakes and anxiety-induced inconsistent teamwork.
As a team captain, I was leading from a place of fear, risk, and disconnection. I couldn’t see beyond my own lens that I was applying to the situation.
I was focusing on a minuscule amount of all available information and accepting it as a truth. I didn’t have knowledge or skills in reading my teammates, and so I had zero awareness of the internal experience that they brought to this conflict with me. Above all, I didn’t think I had a choice in how to react to the situation or to my team members.
I share this story because it is not unlike many of the workplace teams we work with and coach today.
A workplace team with tremendous talent, trying to accomplish big things in the world, and full of blind spots, can be derailed by the inability to successfully move through conflict and stress. A championship might not be on the line, but stakes are high for any business. The common denominator of sports teams and workplace teams? Micro, and sometimes macro, conflicts are the norm when it comes to working with other people, including the most talented of people.
A Question of Cultivation
As coaches, we know there is no question that emotional intelligence is essential for overall team effectiveness. That story has been researched and told many times.
Instead of focusing on the team as a whole, I ask this question: How can emotional literacy and deep awareness of our own internal experience allow us to become a better teammate, coach, or leader?
And what is underneath that awareness? How does self-awareness of our default patterns cultivate connection and allow us to work in team environments more effectively?
These are a few possibilities I’ve learned from applying the lens of the EQ Profile to team conflict and stressors:
I’ve heard countless stories from you, our coaches, about how the team you are working with repeatedly experiences shades of the same conflicts. When each team member gains the language to discuss the lens they see the world through, the results can be a game-changer.
With awareness, the team cultivates a new vocabulary to communicate their internal experience. Instead of focusing on the conflict itself, the conversation focuses on which teammates see risk vs. possibility in the situation. The team focuses on how anxiety or fear might be showing up for some, while others are feeling triggered with frustration.
Through communicating the lens we are applying, we move effectively through conflict and stay in relationship with our teammates.
But what if our internal experience blind spots become behavioral? That can keep us from receiving the authentic feedback we need to be successful. Or what if our own focus on the contributions of others to the problem is keeping us from seeing our own role in it? This might propel us to provide feedback to our team that appears shameless or unaware, as if our own stuff doesn’t stink.
Learning a deep understanding of our default patterns and where we are likely to focus under stress, helps us understand where we might be getting in our own way when it comes to giving and taking feedback.The bedrock of team effectiveness is trust. Awareness of our lens and focus cultivates opportunities to build trust, instead of unconsciously breaking that trust.
Self-awareness for me has been a challenging and rewarding exercise in empathy compassion, both for myself and for those I work with closely.
It took me many years to fully understand and internalize the relationship between self-awareness and empathy. The questions that drive this awareness for me now are “Why is it difficult for me to empathize in this situation? And what does that say about the lens I’m applying to the situation?”
The deeper our understanding of the nuances and drivers of our own internal experience, the more we can get curious and be intentional in empathizing and connecting with others in their internal experience.
Imagine a team leader who can shift the energy and conflict dynamic because they are able to feel their own distressing feelings, and then be with their teammates who are experiencing their own unique distressing feelings, too.
To finish the hockey game story, we lost the game. As I think back (with a lens of self-awareness, of course), it was a heart-wrenching loss. Not because we didn’t make it to the national championship, but because our own blind spots and lack of awareness kept us from working effectively together. We missed the opportunity to move through the challenges presented by the game. We got in our own way. Our talent wasn’t enough.
This story is a sliver of my overall athletic experiences in which I got in my own way because of my lack of self-awareness. If I had these awarenesses, I would have been on a completely different playing field. I would have been able to engage with my team in a connected, leader-driven way, instead of the disconnection, negative-orientation, and lack of compassion I brought instead.
This experience was the catalyst that drove me to question how my lens determines and contributes to the outcomes of the teams I work with and for.
Has your lens and focus impacted your ability to work on a team effectively? Do you see this with the teams you coach? Has the lens of the EQ Profile helped you to engage differently with the teams you coach?
Join the conversation.
*Corrie Weikle is Director of Training at Learning in Action, where she manages the training programs and courses, develops educational resources, as well as assists in business development.
P.S. Our 2018 training calendar is now set. Check out the entire course catalog or click on the link below for our two new Team Training courses launching soon.
I didn’t see myself as angry early in my career … and I was.
I accessed higher than ideal levels of anger, but didn’t recognize that within myself. Looking back, I can now understand both why I didn’t see the anger within me, and how my unrecognized anger hurt my working relationships.
This blog post is written with the hopes of opening the eyes of others who have high access to anger, but can’t see it.
In my early working life, I was acting out a pattern of behavior that had been modeled in my home throughout my childhood. To be clear, I, and only I, am responsible for my behavior. Now and then. And what is true is that I was shaped by my earliest relationships. And anger played a role in the shaping.
I didn’t see my anger because it was my default experience. It’s what was modeled for me and how I was wired to conduct day to day interactions. I didn’t experience myself as angry or not angry. I just was.
We are all shaped by our primary relationships. And not simply metaphorically, but also, neurobiologically. Meaning, the neural wiring of our brains, our mental models, our implicit understanding of what is is and isn’t acceptable are all shaped by our earliest relationships. And it can blind us to certain aspects of ourselves.
While I didn’t experience myself as angry, the signs were there if I had looked. My co-workers tended to give me a wide berth. Silence often followed after I spoke. I didn’t have the kinds of close personal connections at work that others had. Eventually, I was told that I was seen as having an agenda (which I thought was ludicrous.)
I just wanted to get s%$t done. I wanted to be successful. I didn’t think much about how I did that. I just did it. And because I was unaware of my inner experience and how that experience was playing out, I didn’t make the kinds of connections with my co-workers that would have enabled me to be more successful.
I’m not the only person who accesses anger without feeling it, knowing it, or seeing it. I believe there are armies of people, just like the younger me, in workplaces across America.
While there are a number of studies on Anger in the Workplace, they are mainly about physically aggressive or verbally abusive behavior. The more common, more subtle, more pernicious presence of anger is in the non-conscious internal experience of anger that people access and don’t see. Meaning, many people access anger and don’t recognize it in themselves.
When anger is a dominant part of our internal experience and is not overtly manifest in our behavior, it’s easy for us to dismiss the notion that we might be accessing anger. In fact, I’ve worked with a number of clients who reported (in their EQ Profile) experiencing anger more than any other distressing emotion, and still didn’t recognize the anger in themselves.
Access to anger is one of the many dimensions of internal experience that the EQ Profile measures.And when an EQ Profile reveals greater access to anger than is ideal, people often push back, saying “This isn’t right. I’m not angry. I hardly ever get angry.” One might say that they are accessing anger (or resistance) at the idea that they access anger. 🙂
Anger has a recognizable fingerprint (if you know what to look for …and want to see it). Anger, like other emotions, has a direction. Anger points outward. “I’m angry at you.” The focus of anger is on the Other. (The Other person, the Other thing, Other Situation). People who have high access to anger tend to focus outside of themselves when challenged. That might look like blaming or judging or competing with or dominating the Other. Or like feeling victimized by the Other.
The essence of anger is rejection, resistance or non-acceptance of something or someone. There is no curiosity in anger, no openness, no uncertainty. Anger is right! Maybe even righteous! Some people enjoy the feeling of anger because it provides them with clarity, with a feeling of being right. If we are feeling right, there is a good chance we are also accessing anger!
The language of anger points outward, as well, and implies resistance. Many people who don’t see themselves as angry, tend to see anger as binary (versus as a spectrum) and as extreme (versus nuanced). However, anger, like all emotions, is experienced on a spectrum from “peeved to seething.” Anger has many nuanced shades that include annoyed, frustrated, irritated, perturbed, ticked, rankled, riled, livid, vexed, impatient, appalled. As people describe their challenging experiences, they’ll use these words that fall on the anger spectrum, often without noticing it
The underlying meaning of anger is essentially, “I’ve been wronged.” That’s why anger makes us feel so right!
Exactly what that wrong is, is unique to the person experiencing the anger and the meaning they’ve made of the situation. People who are angry can be convinced of the absolute correctness of their response. However, for any given situation that provokes anger in one person, the exact same situation can occur for someone else and they will not access anger. Our anger is all about the meaning we’ve made of the situation, and is unique to us.
The internal language that someone accessing higher levels of anger might use to explain to someone why they are angry would sound like, “You are wrong!” “You wronged me.” “You are at fault.” “You are to blame.” Most people would not externalize this language, particularly in the workplace, however it would be the voice of their internal experience. Again, the focus is on the Other.
When the person accessing anger turns the spotlight back on themselves (if they do), and owns their experience, the internal language might sound more like, “My needs are not being met.” “My values are being violated.” “This is not what I wanted / expected.” “My voice is not being heard.”
It’s common for clients who have easy access to anger not to see it. And though it may show up in their 360 feedback, that often merely reinforces their focus on the Other. The key is to connect them with their inner experience using what you both witness together in your coaching sessions.
If you have clients who don’t see their anger, consider the following approaches to help them see and process their anger:
These approaches can help your client connect more fully with their internal experience, giving them more access to themselves. Anger can be disconnecting because the focus shifts so strongly to the Other. And turning your client’s attention back on themselves can connect them more with themselves and ultimately with others.
Do you have clients who don’t see their anger? What have you tried to help them see it? How have you helped your clients see their anger and connect more fully to themselves?
Join the conversation.