A few days ago I finished reading the book Immunity to change. It was a great reading and here are some thoughts about it I would like to share with you in this post.
The authors describe three different levels of mental complexity.
The current market is asking leaders to shift from self-authoring to self-transforming minds. The complexity we currently deal with requires technical skills as well as adaptive approaches and flexibility to change, experiment, fail fast and learn. In order to face these challenges, leaders have to change their mind-set: this implies a higher level of mental complexity that is needed to achieve better performance.
I consider leadership coaching crucial to make this mind-set shift happen and open the door to a new world of discovery. It is a discovery of self and others, discovery of links and influences. A discovery that completely changes the approach to the world and the receptiveness of what’s going on around you.
Let’s try and make things clear with an example!
A manager is looking at ways to improve performance and investigates possible root causes. He creates a comprehensive picture of key elements contributing to what is happening. Then talks to his direct reports and goes through the list of all the inefficiencies that, in his view, have to be looked at. Everyone seems to agree to the list.
You might have guessed the level of mental complexity we are looking at and what a self-transforming mind would do differently.
He would present the problem statement to the team, ask them to brainstorm and come up with the key factors influencing the problem. He would not come with an agenda, maybe he would not even be in the room to make sure that his people feel safe to speak up. He would ask a coach to work with them to gather ideas in a creative and inclusive way to come up with a more comprehensive view of what could make the difference. He would trust them to come with the best solution!
Chances are that in the first scenario they would only reach out to a coach if things are not improving.
How would I coach my client in this scenario to step up and think outside the box?
Here are some of the steps that would guide my strategy to support this client:
As a coach I am in a position to work with this leader and influence change within himself so that he can get what he wants.
However, there are a few must-have ingredients that will allow me – and him – to succeed: