Coaching is a lot about shifting your perspective.
As a matter of fact, the best added value, the best “a-ha” effects I’ve seen in my coaching relationships come from asking the right questions that make the client look at the problem from a different angle.
Here are some of the most powerful perspective shifts I’ve experienced, or facilitated:
1. Are you trying to get more things done or focusing on making the right things happen?
Getting things done, apart from being the most popular productivity topic since 7 Habits, is a dangerous perspective. We all want to get things done. Even David Allen, at the beginning of his book, says that if we would list all the things we want & have to get done, we would never get to the end of that list. So we have to make choices.
That’s where “right things to do” comes in. And “making them happen” is all about “not doing them yourself”. Is there any way you could ensure X and Y happen, without you worrying about them?
2. Are you persuading others or building trust?
Mostly when you need to get someone to do something, you’re persuading them. Without relationships nothing works properly. Instead of focusing on one-time negotiations, “carrot-and-stick” approaches, build trust.
Yes, it’s a longer route. But what are you focusing on? The block in the road, or the horizon you’re aiming for?
3. Are you looking for a new job or opening yourself to opportunities?
I had a recent discussion with a coaching client who was looking for a new job. After looking for opportunities in the current company, on the outside market, applications, CV and network connections, I asked “But what would you really want to do if you knew there were no boundaries?” and she came up with 2 possibilities which had nothing to do with work or career. Both were things she really wanted to complete, and now was the perfect time for them.
I see this also in many people who were let go from their jobs as result of the crisis – many saw this as opportunities to do what they had always wanted, but never created the space.
4. Are you recruiting, or building a talent pipeline?
In my previous job I was responsible for recruiting. This can be looked at from the perspective “I have a job, I’d better look for good candidates”. Or, as we chose to do it, “what type of people would fit the profile?” and “where is this company headed to? what abilities do we need?” and build a pipeline of people to keep close for future opportunities.
The same approach can be used inside the organization. Rather than “succession planning”, look at it from the “talent planning” perspective. You’ll always have high flyers – what jobs can you create for them, in which better to use their abilities? Incidentally, you may find that the perfect job is just coming up.
5. Are you working in a day job or building a lifetime contribution?
There are 2 moments when time seems to stand still for me. One is when I connect with people, either while doing trainings, coaching or simply talking. The moment when we “understand” – I mean, really understand – each other.
The second one is when I visualise an image in my mind, and then proceed to drawing it and see it forming on paper or canvas. (for a glimpse of how the end result looks like, visit my virtual gallery here)
Both are extraordinary moments in which I feel lucky to be alive, and blessed to have this ability. I may not live through my contribution yet, but what I am sure of is that these “connected” moments define my happiness. And I look for them, maximize them any way I can.
What are your “defining moments”? How can you enjoy them even more?
** I am not advocating for the “Quit your day job, do what you love” movement. Just shifting your perspective more towards awareness of your happiness moments.
6. Are you forwarding interesting ideas or asking yourself “What’s my take on it”?
Finding new ideas on the Internet is easy. I replicate some tens of websites, interesting posts, tweets, pictures every day. But just passing them forward is not enough.
Do you pass them through your personal filter? Why do you like them? What value do they bring? What change do they trigger?
Shifting perspective is not about making everything “grand” and moving to the larger, bigger picture.
Shifting perspective is about looking at it from a different angle.
Most times we’re so used with our own paradigm, that it becomes difficult to change our usual perspective. That’s why an external view can help – that’s why coaching helps.
What perspective can you change right now in your work? In your life?
How can I help you to turn this perspective into action?